We recently contributed to a presentation regarding some of the key aspects that you simply can’t afford to get wrong when it comes to event safety.The list below is not exhaustive and does not presume to be the most important however in our combined opinion these five objectives, when they are all met, will put you head and shoulders above your competition…
Invariably many hire spaces don’t know their actual safe capacity limit and this can be a really significant factor if there are mixed messages.Misleading advice on the safe maximum capacity figure can lead to events being oversubscribed and when detected can cause havoc when the invites have already gone out and you are left explaining to your client that the actual capacity figure is less then first thought. Been there??In a worse case scenario that same example might mean not everyone makes it out safely in a fire and if the legal capacity has been overlooked then there would be direct consequences for the responsible party in the overall event management structure.
What to do: Find out how many separate fire exits there are that lead to fresh air and obtain their widths, from this alone you will be able to determine the safe capacity. But there are various other factors that go in to this such as the available floor space, the event activities, the event management and so on.
Supplier competence and management
The suppliers you appoint need to be able to demonstrate their competence for the tasks they have been asked to undertake. RAMS & PLI will attest to this but often for fire hazards, structural work, significant work at height, use of cherry pickers (plant etc) and food safety amongst others there is more from them that you need to request and review.If a supplier’s competence has gone unchecked and they somehow contribute to a failure on-site (accident, property damage, fire etc) this failure can be shared with the company who appointed them to resolve in terms of insurance claims and even legal actions.
What to do: Understand what each supplier is being asked to do and request the necessary evidence of their competence, review it and make sure it stacks up
“ Invariably many hire spaces don’t know their actual safe capacity limit and this can be a really significant factor...”
Fire safety – materials
It’s pretty easy to fill up an event space with flammable materials and not even realise the overall impact that may have. Usually it’s just a case of requesting that the suppliers or hire companies can demonstrate that the materials such as drapes or furniture, timber etc to be used have flame retardancy to a certain level via a fire certificate.
What to do: When there is no such thing available then the materials can be treated with various flame proofing measures as long as this is done properly and recorded. A fire test can be initiated to provide further evidence of this.
Event safety during the build/de-rig
For complex or time pressured builds and de-rigs it pays huge dividends to have an individual on-site tasked with safety and nothing else. If the PM has this as a dual role and is already stretched then you’ve got to appreciate that safety may be taking a back seat and therefore unnecessary risks are being taken.This isn’t necessary for all events after all there are budgets to consider – but the ones that would benefit from this invariably really do.
What to do: Getting the right person who can be helpful, solve problems as they are discovered, focus on the safety of the event staff and attendees and keep your reputation and that of your clients protected is priceless.