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Home » SustFest – an annual celebration, reimagined for 2024! » Health, Safety and Safeguarding for Events

Health, Safety and Safeguarding for Events

Event Safety is critical for the comfort and enjoyment of all participants. Sustainable St Albans works hard to make sure that everyone we work with is able to enjoy our events and those run by our partners. If you’re organising an event in St Albans City or District, you may find the advice and links below useful for planning for all eventualities!

Risk Assessments and Safeguarding

Emergency Procedures

Public Liability Insurance

1. Risk Assessments for your Event

It is your responsibility as an event organiser to make sure that you do not put anyone at risk of injury or accident and that everyone who attends your event is kept safe. Sustainable St Albans takes this responsibility very seriously for our own events and we encourage and expect others holding events during our festival to keep our district safe.

As an event organiser, you have a duty of care – to both your attendees and your staff. The larger your event, the more important the considerations will be regarding the health and safety of all participants, attendees and those impacted by the event. Even for small events it should still be a consideration. This means taking reasonable steps to prevent harm coming to anyone involved in your event and forward planning in case of any emergency situations that could arise. Considering the risks that something might happen, and then showing that you’ve thought about how to minimise that risk, is central to holding a successful event.

Conducting a risk assessment might seem like a daunting prospect, but it doesn’t have to be a big, bureaucratic process – it’s ultimately about being conscientious and applying common sense.

Please consider how to make your event safe from every angle and document your thinking. You can create a very simple risk assessment, to help you manage any risks: we have created a simple template here but there are plenty of alternatives online too (Eventbrite, Health & Safety Executive and others). At the very least, this should include:

  • Information such as site hazards, speed limits and parking, first aid, toilets, and wash facilities, and emergency arrangements.
  • Information on any technical risks such as electricity, wires, sound, equipment setup or working at height.
  • Information on safeguarding for vulnerable members of your audience and the wider community (other users of the space who may also be present)
  • Information on food, drink, alcohol, hygiene and allergies, if relevant.
  • How you will monitor risks throughout your event (creating a checklist and having a nominated individual/s responsible for checking at regular intervals?)
  • You may wish to include a note to show that you have considered infection control. The Health Safety Executive (HSE) have shared information on how to assess and manage risks relating to COVID here.
  • How and when you will provide your team with relevant information (during the site induction or pre-event setup period?)

Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults

The NSPCC have issued a guide for Safer Activities and Events which is useful to read and all event organisers should have read Sustainable St Alban’s Safeguarding Policy too.

It is likely you have your own safeguarding policy: make sure that you have a lead person on the day, and that all volunteers are aware of risks for children and vulnerable adults, and report any concerns to the lead person.

2. What happens in an emergency?

Your event safety plan needs to also think about your emergency procedures – aspects to consider include:

  • Raising the alarm – how will you communicate the emergency with staff and volunteers?
  • Informing the public – do you have an adequate public address system? What is the procedure for stopping (and restarting) the event or show without causing undue panic or alaram?
  • Onsite emergency response – are there fire extinguishers? Do you need security staff?
  • Summoning and liaising with the emergency services – who will be your point of contact and how will you notify and then assist the emergency services?
  • Crowd management, including evacuation – how will you move people away from immediate danger to a place of safety, safely? Don’t forget to take people with limited mobility and children into consideration.
  • Traffic management – how will emergency vehicles gain access to the site? How will vehicles leave the site in the event of an emergency?
  • Providing first aid – are there sufficient medical provisions? Do you have any first aiders? Should you provide additional first aid services?
  • Handling casualties – how will patients be taken to a hospital? Will there be ambulances onsite?

3. Public Liability Insurance

Just in case your event safety does not quite go to plan, consider the below advice from the Government guide for voluntary organisations running an event:

This insurance covers the organisers of an event providing them with financial protection if they are held to blame for injury to a person or for loss or damage to property and sued.

You can buy different levels of cover, from £1 million upwards. This seems a lot but costs are relatively low, sometimes as little as £50 or £60. How much you need varies according to:

  • the type of event and activities you are planning
  • how many people will attend

If you are unsure, talk to your own insurer or an insurance broker who will be able to advise you.

You do need to be sure that the policy you buy covers all the activities you want included, so be open and clear with the insurer or broker you talk to. And make sure that you check the terms of the policy and in particular any exclusions. You can find a specialist insurance broker on the internet or on the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) website.