The HSE reports that each year around 100 people are killed or injured by being struck by a vehicle whilst working on a construction site – and considering that most event sites are classed as construction under the event CDM regulations, segregating pedestrians and vehicles on site is something that should be considered carefully when planning – and running – your event sites.
There are a number of things which should be considered when planning the different phases of your project when vehicles are to be involved. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the vehicles are the main focus of the event or that the site is especially large or complex – even the delivery to a site in a small van or car could result in serious injury if the necessary risks are not correctly considered.
When considering vehicle/ pedestrian safety the first thought should be: How can we eliminate the risk? i.e. the best course of action is to try and remove the risk entirely. This would mean entirely segregating pedestrians and vehicles on site – there are a number of ways this can be achieved:
- The design of the site and back of house areas should, where possible consider the need to segregate pedestrians and vehicles
- Different access points for pedestrians and vehicles – consider having a separate gate or entrance for use by those on foot
- Once through this entrance point, devote a specific, separate route to foot traffic around the site – this should be fenced off from vehicular traffic and cover key areas of the site – especially if vehicle movements will continue throughout the ‘live’ period
- If it is necessary for pedestrians routes to cross vehicle routes, all drivers should be instructed to give way to pedestrians at all times – and dedicated crossing points should be used. If activities are likely to take place in hours of darkness, these areas should be well lit
- Where personnel are required to work in vehicle routes (maybe to unload a vehicle) then appropriate PPE should be considered
- All of this should be documented in an event specific risk assessment
During the construction phase it is likely that the majority of staff on site will be experienced and have an understanding of working on a site – however this should never be assumed and all staff should undergo an event safety induction prior to commencing their work activities. It is the responsibility of the Principal Contractor to ensure that all workers understand their roles and responsibilities, as well as the safety requirements on the site.
The live event will require considerably more consideration around the use of vehicles. Where possible vehicle movements in audience areas should be reduced as much as possible, and restricted to operational and emergency vehicles. In some cases, moving vehicles will be used as part of a performance – or even AS the performance – and this should be carefully considered and risk assessed by a competent event health and safety adviser who can devise processes to mitigate risk as far as reasonably practicable.
Consideration should also be given to public car parks – not just for those staff who are working in these areas but also for routes to be used by those parking – try to plan car park layouts so that audience members and attendees can walk through stationary cars to the event entrance, rather than through areas where vehicles are still moving.
As well as the considerations through the build phase, additional care should be taken during the dismantling of an event site – staff, contractors and operatives may be tired and in a hurry to depart (to the next event or just to get home!) – additional site supervision may be required for this period to ensure that movements remain safely considered.
Consideration should be given to the types of vehicles which are most appropriate for use on an event or event construction site. It might be better to use golf buggies or gators (with appropriate visibility beacons and seat belts) as these are lower impact, have greater levels of visibility and are lighter weight – meaning that they are easier to maneuver and will be a safer consideration than a full size off road vehicle. Schemes such as CLOCS and FORS help to consider vehicle safety and offer guidance of larger LGV and HGV vehicle usage.
Training and Licenses
It is very important to ensure that all vehicle operators have the correct skills, knowledge, training, and experience to operate the vehicle that they are working with. Driving licence details should be sought from all onsite drivers (and copies of licenses taken) and plant operator tickets should be checked as valid and in date.
Segregating pedestrians and vehicles on site reduces the risk of an accident. Site design should consider how this can be implemented in construction, front of house and back of house areas, with different considerations given to the build, live and dismantle phases of a project. Event organisers should consider the types of vehicles they are using on a site and ensure that everyone who is operating a vehicle is competent and qualified to do so.