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29 May 2019

5 Ways to Reduce Risk at Your Next Event

Abelene Hu

Safety at events is one of the most critical things that event managers have to deal with, it is a constant in the event management flow. There are many things that can go wrong, luckily catastrophic safety breaches are rare, that is why it is important to reduce risk where ever you can. Here are 5 ways you can reduce the risk at your next event.

1. Start with a Risk Assessment

Every event is going to have different risks that come along with it and because of that, risk assessment is not one size fits all.

However, there are five key steps to follow determining what your risks might be.

  • Identify hazards

You’ll want to make sure you’ve conducted a thorough inspection of the risks and determined which areas may be dangerous.

  • Decide who is at risk

In hand with identifying hazards, you’ll want to decide who is at risk.

This may also help to determine the setup for your event so that you can ensure the least amount risk around identified hazards.

  • Evaluate the risk and its control measures

After identifying hazards and who they might affect, you’ll need to come up with a plan to either remove those hazards or find a way to control the area they exist in so that injury can be prevented.

  • Record your findings

Your assessments, plans, and actions should be well documented for legal purposes.

In the event of an accident, you’ll want to be able to show which precautions were taken prior to your event is open to the public.

  • Review and assess your plan

While the date of your event approaches, you should be checking in on your risk assessment and plan every step of the way.

Keep your records up to date with any changes that have been made and make sure that everything is in order the day before your event.

2. Assess Venue Suitability

Before your event, it’s important that you visit the venue to assess its suitability. First, the venue capacity and audience circulation capacity should be considered.

Is the venue going to be large enough for your event and is the crowd size going to be able to effectively move around the venue with minimal risk?

You should also make note of where the emergency exits are and their level of visibility from the audience level.

You’ll want to check for existing structures and features (for example, support columns) and have a plan in place for how your staff and audience should move safely around them.

Lastly, it’s important that you assess transportation routes. You want to make sure that there is ample parking for the size of the crowd you’re expecting. Staff to help assist attendees in the parking areas, and clear paths for pedestrians so that no one gets hurt.

3. Prioritize Health & Safety

While this might seem like a no brainer, the health and safety of all those attending your event should be a part of your plan to reduce risk.

This not only protects your audience and staff but equally protects your reputation as a production company or event planner.

4. Be Insured

Despite your best efforts to reduce the risk at your event, accidents do happen.

Making sure you are fully covered for the number of attendees at your event will protect you, your company, your staff, your patrons, and the venue should someone get hurt.

Insurance should cover all elements of the event, these include cancellations, adverse weather conditions, fire or theft of company equipment, non-appearance of key speakers, or acts and injury or illness.

In most circumstances, insurance is required by law, so it’s a good idea to speak to the venue about their existing insurance for coordination purposes.

5. Develop an Emergency Plan

Now that you’ve done all of the above to ensure the safety of your guests and staff alike.

It’s time for you to come up with emergency procedures for your staff to follow in the event of a significant incident.

You and your staff should have pre-assigned roles. For example, the members of your staff should know which of them will be responsible for helping people get away from immediate danger.

Who is responsible for contacting emergency services, and who is responsible for onsite emergency response (i.e. using fire extinguishers).

It’s important that you share this emergency plan with the venue, the local police, fire and rescue services, and ambulance services.

The more emergency personnel kept in the loop, the more success you will have in ensuring the safety of your audience and staff in the event of an emergency.

Conclusion

Reducing risk at any point of the event flow will increase the chances of a safe event, using any of the above points will help reduce risk and constant checking of safety procedures will improve the chance that anything bad will happen, something that all good event managers do.

Author: Robin Thomas