- Behind the Scenes
Ensuring Health & Safety at your festival
By Ryan Moss
- 21 Mar 2023
- 8 min read
Ensuring Health & Safety at your festival is paramount. Your staff need a safe environment to carry out their work, and your attendees need to know they won’t get hurt at your event.
It’s a matter of law, too. If you don’t have the correct training processes in place, or you aren’t complying with regulations, your event might not even get off the ground.
But we understand: the term ‘Health & Safety’ is broad. So, we’ve looked at a few ways you can create a safe culture at your event. Want to find out? Scroll down to read about crowd control, get pointers on ground conditions and what to look for when searching for contractors.
Assess the ground conditions
You’ve found a site that looks perfect. When you visit to make sure it’s suitable, find out about the ground conditions. You’ll be laying down lots of heavy structures.
The site you choose needs to be suitable for the temporary demountable structures that will populate the event. Think stages, marquees, barriers, seating areas and video screens. If the ground can’t handle it? The site won’t be the right one.
How does the weather affect the site? Vehicles will be driving on the site when setting up. If there’s heavy rain which affects safe driving, it’ll be something you need to consider. The same goes for wind. Can you build your structures in a way that minimises wind load?
If there are animals on site, how will you manage this? Animal waste can expose attendees to harmful bacteria, so you’ll need a plan.
You’ll likely have multiple meetings. Questions will arise at different points in the process; ensure you make a note of them and explore all potential problems. Your festival will be better in the long run.
Use barriers to keep the crowd safe
Festivals are a place to let loose. However, it’s your job to ensure people’s health & safety is prioritised.
So, how can you do it? By using barriers. You’ll need a pit barrier at the front of the crowd area. Whether hiring or buying them, ensure that the material is aluminium or steel. Ideally, they’ll be fully welded.
And why do they help? Pit barriers protect the front of the stage, giving your pit and first-aid staff a good view of the crowd. If there is an emergency, some of your team can deal with it while others provide water and manage behaviour in the audience.
Elsewhere, barriers can help mark out routes across the site. When moving around your festival, you want people to walk in straight lines as much as they can. The area might be large, but huge groups of people taking up all the space isn’t helpful.
Hire contractors and staff where you need them
We mentioned crowd control barriers in the last section. To install them, you’ll need contractors. The same goes for medical staff, first-aiders and staff to install your stages.
You can have first-aid staff dotted around the festival grounds, with a medical tent in a central location. Communication needs to be clear; any complications could jeopardise the safety of your attendees, putting their health & safety at risk.
Ensure that your medical staff have a plan for when an emergency escalates. Does the local hospital know the event is running? You’ll need to contact them if anything severe occurs.
Think about how your medical staff will transport people. Most attendees will come to the tent themselves, but it’s crucial to have a plan if staff venture out to the site.
For contractors, you’ll have to consider a few things. Have they got the relevant documentation? They have to be qualified to do the job and show that their team is too. Try to look for contractors who have worked on a project like yours in the past. This will make the process of installing stages a lot smoother.
Keep your staff safe
You’ll need to keep your staff safe, too. For example, sound exposure will affect the people who work for you. Ensure that you’ve got a team that can handle the size of your event and create rotas so you can swap staff out.
Earplugs can help here, too. Give them to each staff member on shifts where they’ll be exposed to loud sounds. Carry out training around the subject, ensuring everyone knows the specific protocols.
Will staff be lifting heavy objects? Manual handling training is your friend. Elsewhere, you’ll need adequate welfare facilities for your workforce. This includes high-quality break rooms, places to get changed and facilities that are easy to clean. Tiled walls and floors can help here.
Ensure you have employer’s liability; this will cover costs if anyone is injured while working for you. It’ll depend on the size of your business and how many staff you have. So, shop around and look for something that fits best for you. Knowing who will be working and where they’ll be working will make it easier to determine.
Have a dedicated event control room
An event control room will act as the heartbeat of your festival. Here, your staff will relay information, respond to incidents and keep everything running smoothly.
Communication will be crucial. You want to ensure everyone working at the festival has a line to the control room. So, set up your method of contact, brief your staff and pick your control room team wisely.
You see, you’ll need calm heads in this room. As with every event, you’ll face challenges. What matters is how you deal with them. So, having a control team who can work well together and handle pressure well is paramount. It’ll mean your event is fully equipped to deal with the happenings of the event.
Make it clear who is in charge. This way, you can iron out any issues beforehand and make sure everyone’s on the same page. If team members can’t work well together, it’s going to damage the harmony and potentially affect your event.
Got a question you need an answer to? Give us a call on 03333010301 or ask us a question over on the Skiddle Promoter Twitter account by clicking or tapping on the button below. Alternatively, you can also find a list of our most frequently asked questions over at https://help.promotioncentre.co.uk/