It looks like it is getting warmer just in time for Glastonbury and the rest of the festival season.
If you have ever put on an outdoor party, festival or another outdoor jamboree, you will know that crowd safety is paramount.
Outdoor events can attract big crowds, especially if it’s hot. But thousands of revellers and a bunch of temporary structures dramatically increases the risk of injury.
These kinds of parties rarely go off without at least one or two minor accidents. Some of these will be largely unavoidable, but organisers still have a responsibility to keep people safe and reduce the risk of injury.
This responsibility is called a ‘duty of care’ and it applies to attendees and staff. The bigger the event, the more important these health and safety considerations need to be.
If someone gets injured because of a breach of this duty of care, or by the actions of others, then the person who gets injured may be able to claim for personal injury compensation.
This can mean living with a long and costly court case, higher public liability insurance costs for future events and the knowledge someone got hurt.
Fortunately, with a few simple exercises and low-priced products, you can vastly decrease the risk of accident and injury.
Proper planning and preparation will put your mind at ease and make sure that everyone stays safe so that you and everyone else can focus on having a good time.
In the rest of this blog post, we discuss some of the health and safety risks associated with running a festival and how you can reduce them. We will also take an in-depth look at the risks associated with cables at these festivals.
Making sure your venue is suitable
One of the most important things you can do when trying to accident-proof your outdoor event is to make sure the venue is suitable.
You should have an idea of how many people you expect to attend. This could be through ticket sales or a rough estimate based on previous events or attendance at similar events.
When you know what your attendance is likely to be, you need to make sure your chosen venue is big enough to hold everyone.
You also need to make sure that there is suitable access for event vehicles, people with disabilities, wheelchairs and pushchairs to get around comfortably.
If there are any significant hazards such as large bodies of open water, overhead power lines and dangerous structures at a venue, then you need to think carefully about whether it is suitable and how you can reduce the risk of accident.
A risk assessment is your opportunity to formally evaluate any safety risks. There are all sorts of risks that you need to be aware of and rank from negligible to those with very severe risk.
This may sound complicated, but much of it is based on being thorough and using a good deal of common sense. Some of the biggest risks that you need to evaluate include:
Slips, trips and fall hazards
Slips, trips and falls are among the most common cause of festival injury. They can also be difficult to guard against in what is by its very nature a temporary structure.
Festival organisers need to be aware of several trip and slip hazards, including:
- Loose cables
- Uneven surfaces
- Temporary structures
- Slippery surfaces
Crowd management hazards
One hazard that can cause serious injury at outdoor events is crowd management. Crushing and overcrowding can be serious problems if an event is over capacity while aggressive and drunken attendees present their own problems.
We all know what effect weather can have on a festival. Heavy rain can create mud baths and make surfaces slippery. Overly sunny or hot weather can create other problems such as agitated attendees, especially if the event is overcrowded.
Outdoor festivals pose several fire hazards that need to be managed. You need to think about the potential for a fire caused by lit cigarettes, barbecues and caterers.
Child protection hazards
Family festivals are very popular, but you need to make sure you have good child protection policies in place to make sure they stay safe. Organisers should, for example, have a system in place to reunite lost children with their parents.
The festival cable risk
Cables pose a significant safety risk at festivals and other outdoor events, particularly where you have lots of audio-visual equipment and caterers.
These temporary installations require all sorts of power cords and other cables that can be draped around the venue, posing a serious trip risk.
Cable management is key in these settings. Organisers need to make sure that cables are kept out of the way.
This can be done with a wide variety of cable management products, but at festivals, it is most commonly achieved using cable ties. Cable ties are perfect for bundling different cables together and fastening them to different structures out of the way.
Because they are cheap, easy to apply and easy to remove, cable ties are perfect for festival cable management. They can also serve a number of other important uses at festivals, for example securing crowd management fences which are also crucial to health and safety.
Printed cable ties and other cable identification products can also be used to label different wires making it easier to assemble and disassemble complex festival rigs at the start and end of a festival.
Wherever possible, cables should be kept away from areas where members of the public are walking. This is achievable with effective planning and forethought. But if it is necessary to put a cable across a public area, then you need to make sure you use a cable protector to prevent people from tripping up.
Hilltop Products stocks a range of cable protectors can keep people safe and stop cables from getting damaged. Some heavy-duty cable protectors can even protect cables from vehicles at important junctions.