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The Importance of Risk Assessment in Event Planning

Event organisers should keep these risks in mind while planning events.

Although it can seem counterproductive to consider all possible scenarios at your event, thinking ahead about potential problems is crucial in the planning stage.

Accidents happen, no matter our best intentions. Knowing the risks, developing plans and being ready to deal with an incident on the spot are critical components of survival.

Your event requires proper coverage, but as it is an inherently complex field, getting advice from an experienced risk consultant or broker could save money and time. Even with adequate coverage, risks must still be managed and reduced during development and execution.

Event planners must consider all risks related to each event they plan, which vary depending on its location, type and size. There are some areas that every event planner should prioritise as a starting point.

Focusing on your next event requires time and thought when planning safety. Spend 15 minutes readig over what needs to be considered and meeting with your team for safety planning sessions. Once underway, they’ll likely identify new risks to manage once work commences. Incorporating tips on successful events can be valuable during this phase. Once you have identified as many potential risks as possible, analyse their impact and likelihood. This will enable you to prioritise resources and time allocation better and give your team a starting point for managing risk for your event. An event management checklist can also ensure that all potential risks are handled systematically.

Top 10 event safety risk management tips

1)Event and production equipment

Any equipment brought onto an event site must be carefully assessed for potential risks associated with its use.

Safety considerations range from electrical installation safety to the ease of packing up and taking down temporary structures. Once everything is installed, you must consider trip hazards and how the weather might influence these temporary structures.

Use your suppliers to help reduce risks. This handy glossary of production terminology is a resource for making an event safe.

2)Are you utilising an appropriate crowd management process?

No one wants to miss the energy crowds bring to an event, yet crowds can also pose risks. You must consider how you will manage crowds on site as they arrive and depart – planning can still create buzz without having to manage crowds on the event day itself!

Here are a few key factors to bear in mind:

  • How accessible is your event, and what are the potential dangers on public roads?
  • Are there clear signs in place to manage the flow?
  • What is your emergency exit/entry strategy?
  • Are you capable of providing safe access for people with disabilities?
  • Are any areas susceptible to crowd-pushing? Do you have enough stewards available to intervene and stop it?

3)Is your event child-friendly

Though you might think this topic is a niche, we must address its significance if children attend your event. You need to assess and plan accordingly.

Risk assessments on any play areas or activities designed for children at your event site should also be completed, considering local laws regarding children and photography. You should also consider whether background checks on staff are necessary if children will attend your event.

4)Transportation and traffic management

Your event must have adequate marshalling and appropriate signage, parking, and pedestrian access. Map out your site and identify areas at risk before creating appropriate plans—this will give you peace of mind knowing you have taken all possible measures to create an incident-free and safe environment for participants and staff alike.

5)Are you prepared for staff and volunteer safety?

Your participants and attendees deserve nothing less than the best, which means it is vitally important to keep an eye on them all the time. Your team members also play a critical role.

Consider each person and their respective roles, such as operating heavy equipment, directing traffic or managing crowds.

Imagine scenarios with your team, then prepare them with the appropriate training and instructions to meet those situations. What will be the result?

6)Access to appropriate medical care

Accidents and injuries at events are unfortunately all too common, particularly when combined with crowds of people packed into small areas, alcohol use, or extreme sports such as motorcycle racing – making the odds exponentially greater!

Although you cannot avoid all risks, you can prepare for them and have a plan to deal with them if necessary. Make sure that medical supplies and first-aid staff are on hand and that you know where hospitals are located locally. Include this information in briefs sent out to your crew so that everyone knows exactly how they can react when an incident arises—being more prepared can simplify handling accidents and injuries!

7)Analyse the impact of unpredictable weather

As you likely already know, weather cannot be controlled. Yet you should still assess the risks to your event under various weather conditions and be ready for sudden downpours that might force everyone indoors at once.

8)Are you aware of fire hazards?

No one wants to consider the possibility of fire breaking out at their event or having seen what can happen when an uncontrolled blaze does start burning out of control. Ensure the situation remains controlled and do everything possible to ensure this doesn’t occur!

First, a comprehensive risk analysis must be conducted to identify potential fire hazards and do everything possible to remove them. Second, ensure fire extinguishers are always within reach during your event—extinguishers could stop small kitchen fires from spreading and potentially taking down an entire venue! Third, notify the local fire department that you will be hosting an event and provide information on where their vehicles can be accessed if anything occurs.

9)Have you hired caterers to serve food?

Even though you may not be directly in charge of choosing and preparing the food served at your event, it’s still essential that you understand its preparation, storage, and cooking processes. Ensure your vendors are licensed and have adequate facilities to guarantee safe food preparation practices.

Bring proof of training and food safety checks for all workers and get their names. That way, you can ensure everyone understands your safety procedures through the site check-in/out.

10)Managing antisocial or aggressive behaviour

Unfortunately, antisocial behaviour is typical for event professionals every day, and we must prepare ourselves and our staff accordingly. Antisocial behaviour could take many forms: angry competitors at a sporting event, someone who has consumed too much at a music festival, or even people intentionally harming themselves.

Make sure that you’re well prepared for emergencies by doing these three things:

  • Experts can assist in the identification and assessment of risk areas as well as guide safety measures.
  • Your event requires a significant number of well-trained, certified security personnel present, who should all be included in your safety plans and processes.
  • Supply your staff with appropriate training so they know how to act in specific scenarios (this goes beyond simply sending out PDF documents; ensure they’re well-equipped).
  • Ensure that everyone (including the crew) knows your event is safe. Any antisocial behaviour—physical, verbal, or digital—will result in immediate expulsion from the event and a lifetime ban.
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