Event Safety Advisor – How to choose

Working with an Event Safety Advisor could (in the past) have been a traumatic experience – but we like to think that at EventSafetyPlan we are all working to a common goal.

Back in the early 2000s my Event Producer friend would always say “your printer is your best friend on site” – referring not to the overworked printer in the production office churning out script updates, but to her trusted print contractor; reprinting graphics overnight before the show to correct sizing, rectifying a disaster when someone, in a last minute flurry, hastily sent the wrong file to print… or just because, once on site, the client has been reminded by a colleague that they actually no longer have the rights to use a certain image.  We’ve all been there!

However I beg to differ; your Event Safety Adviser should be your best friend before, during and after your time on site. 

We’ll get to the qualification and experience side of things in a minute, but first let’s talk attitude.   We are happy to say it feels like in the last decade there has been a shift towards a more receptive and supportive response to the involvement of event safety advisors in our industry. 

The importance of H&S compliance from the perspective of protecting your business reputation, your financial interests, retaining your clients and also, most importantly, the moral considerations of ensuring you look after your prized employees, stakeholders and audience members, is now widely appreciated and understood.  

With this, fewer are the days when we hear moans and groans about the presence of an Event Safety Advisor working on the project.   Project Managers, Producers and Production Managers alike now enjoy the support of an Event Safety Advisor in the planning stages of an event as well as on site; it’s risk management on a huge number of levels.  Read our article for more on positive safety culture.

Involving an Event Safety Advisor early on in the planning can avoid nasty surprises down the road; having a platform to discuss and analyse working methods prior to being on site streamlines the installation and can ensure all costs are accounted for with regards to equipment required – less delays and awkward conversations with the client!  It also really improves the relationship between organisers, contractors and the Event Safety Advisor once on site: everybody knows what’s expected of them and they feel supported by the team as a whole in their delivery. 

Gone also are the days when we would fear the dreaded visit from the council, the Health & Safety Executive or indeed wait with bated breath for the results of the fire inspections. Your Event Safety Advisor supports you through these processes, taking the pressure of the production team who have a million other things to be considering. 

Selecting the right Event Safety Advisor for your project can seem like a minefield, considerations include:

  • Their background and experience: if you’re managing a rock and roll tour with a complex structural installation, having a safety advisor specialising in food hygiene and festival traders might not be the right fit. Always ask colleagues for recommendations from similarly sized projects. Having a safety professional on board with actual event experience is also vital to ensure they understand the flexible nature of how we inevitably have to work sometimes. 
  • Their qualifications: there are multiple bodies offering a variety of Health & Safety training these days; from one day courses through to degree or higher level standards. Pay attention to the level (some people may state they have NEBOSH or NCRQ, but have only completed one module, rather than achieved the Certificate or Diploma levels), some may have completed an IOSH Managing Safely course or have an Event Safety Passport which is a perfectly respectable course to have undertaken, but for a member of your production team rather than a suitable qualification for the level of an Event Safety Advisor.   Some Event Safety Advisers may also have useful extra qualifications such as the NEBOSH National Certificate in Fire Risk and Safety – maybe if you’re running a fireworks night or pyrotechnic-heavy event this might be appealing.
  • Companies that provide Event Safety Advisors: this can be a good route to contract an advisor. The benefit of employing an organisation is that they have the support of the company behind them; which can be helpful with consistency and scalable support. We recommend using a company who has at least one IOSH ‘chartered’ (CMIOSH) member of staff (more information on the IOSH levels here), even if that isn’t the Event Safety Advisor you end up working with on your project- it shows the company is probably working to a good standard and has a lot of experience under their belt. You can read more about our services here