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Crowd & Spectator safety for event organisers

June 11, 2014

Crowd and spectator management can be stressful and time-consuming. A seemingly docile crowd can quickly veer into chaos, sparked by a single incident. You need to make sure your organisation and facilities are prepared to handle it. Because crowds can be so volatile, they require careful management.

As an event organiser, this management falls on your shoulders. Whatever event you have planned—whether it is a sporting event, music concert or fair—you have a legal obligation to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, the safety of visiting crowds. Depending on the size of your event, you can delegate some aspects of crowd safety to employees or contractors, but, as the organiser, overall responsibility for ensuring public safety rests with you.

Planning for an Event

Managing crowd and spectator safety should start long before the actual event. The earlier you plan, the more hazards you can identify and minimise. Do not complete general event planning and only afterwards consider crowd and spectator safety management—plan them in tandem.

Treat crowd and spectator safety with the same amount of importance as your other top-priority business aims, since an unsafe event could be financially disastrous.

Even before choosing a venue for your event, you should be thinking about crowd safety. In your preliminary event planning stages, consider the following factors to help you choose the safest, most appropriate venue:

 

Assessing Your Event’s Risk

Once you choose a venue, carefully examine what your event aims to accomplish and identify any possible associated hazards that could harm your employees, volunteers, spectators or members of the public.

You are required by UK law to undertake a risk assessment that evaluates what precautions you need to implement to prevent harm. The Health and Safety Executive provides detailed information on how to conduct a risk assessment, which you can find at www.hse.gov.uk.

Organising the hazards you find in your risk assessment into the following categories may help you keep track of them and uncover new ones:

 

Crowd Hazards

The crowd hazards event organisers face are too numerous to list here in full. Instead, consider this small sample of crowd-specific hazards to start assessing potential hazards at your event:

 

Venue Hazards

 

Early Planning Is Successful Planning

Start planning crowd and spectator safety as soon as possible to ensure your event is successful.

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