As an employer, your duty of care is to your employees in the course of their work, rather than just to your employees on your premises – although you should of course, have the appropriate Emergency planning and response protocol in place there. Obviously, there is a limit as to how much you can control the world at large and the law recognises this, however, it also expects you to take action when you reasonably can, such as when you are organising an offsite event.
In fact, even if you are organising an onsite event, you may still wish to look at the same range of health-and-safety precautions since an ad hoc event may create a very different set of circumstances from your normal working environment. With this in mind, Nottingham health and safety consultants Watson and Watson share some tips on health-and-safety planning for your next event.
Make sure your venue really is suitable for your event
Some venues may look beautiful and provide great backdrops for photographs, but they may have limited access for those with reduced mobility (this is particularly true of older buildings) and some venues may not be suitable for children.
Whether or not this is a problem will depend on who is due to attend your event.
When considering a venue, remember to look at how people will exit in the event of an emergency and if you are planning on altering a venue in any way, then you will need to check for hazards which could impact your plans.
For example, if you are planning to put up a marquee, then you’ll want to make sure there are no service lines buried where you need to put your fixings.
Think about everyone (and everything) who/which could be impacted by your event
You’ll have a guest list, or at least some admission criteria, do your (potential) attendees include anyone other than fully-mobile adults? Older people, people with reduced mobility, pregnant women and children may all require special arrangements (and with children there may be legal implications).
What about the access to the venue? You can’t control public transport (although it’s a good idea to think about how people without vehicles will get to the venue) but if there are private roads and/or if there is on-site parking then you will need to think about potential hazards.
What about the crew and the equipment they are using? Last but my no means least, remember to think about any environmental hazards and any issues you may cause to the local environment, for instance in some places fireworks may be banned for all or part of the year due to the disturbance they cause to wildlife.
Have a plan in place to deal with regular hazards and emergencies
In the real world, you are probably going to identify some potential hazards and decide to proceed anyway with appropriate safeguards in place. This is perfectly reasonable as long as you can demonstrate that you have taken appropriate steps to ensure that people are protected from the hazard.
Something as simple as putting up a sign may do the trick or marking a particular area as off-limits. You will, however, also need to have a plan in place as to what you will do if there is a genuine emergency and, in particular, how you will evacuate the venue in good order.
Watson & Watson Health and Safety Consultants are experienced health and safety consultants, providing health and safety consultancy and a health and safety competent adviser service throughout the UK.