Protecting your event staff and contractors in a Covid-19 world (part 2)

This is the first of a two part series looking at ways event organisers, suppliers to the events industry and employers can protect their staff and contractors when working with Covid-19

Site Design and Build

When designing the event site factor in space for social distancing; this could be by eliminating any potential areas of crowd build up / bottlenecking, planning one-way pedestrian routes for the audience or backstage routes to access specific areas for staff.  Ensure your staff have enough space to do their job without putting themselves at risk; whether in on-site offices, washrooms or managing the event site. 

Ensure you have enough staff on site to build the event safely, but try and keep this to only essential numbers. Bringing in hordes of volunteers to help with things like site decor is inadvisable and you should restrict access for non-essential visitors to the site. As always, ensure you undertake a full site safety induction ahead of persons working on site, including the COVID-19 procedures and measures you have implemented to protect workers’ safety. You may wish to undertake temperature testing at this point. Keep a record of personnel on site each day with their contact details. 

Ensure staff have the right equipment needed to do tasks safely and efficiently; for example having a forklift on-site to lift heavy items could help with reducing staff numbers. Consider how to safely unload items from trucks before they are packed. Schedule suppliers’ arrivals on site to coincide with forklift availability and minimise the number of different trades working on site at any one time.  Prefabricate as much as possible off site, in order to minimise the number of workers required for finishing on site. 

Install protective screening around Front of House and camera locations, factor in additional space for staff seating at control positions.

Ensure the safety and management teams are aligned and have effective methods of communication in order to dynamically respond to any changes required to protect staff and audience.

Live Event

  • Again, have enough staff on site to deliver the live event safely, but no more. 
  • Regular cleaning should be undertaken of all staff working areas.
  • Microphones and props should be cleaned between individual use. Avoid sharing equipment. Audio staff may wish to wear PPE (mask / gloves) when changing microphones.
  • Changing rooms and green room areas should provide enough space for social distancing and should be regularly cleaned. 
  • Utilise spikes / markings on stage to show people where they should safely stand.
  • Where possible, artists and talent should do their own hair and make up.
  • Ensure education about all the measures in place is communicated to staff and also the client team if appropriate. 
  • Employ contactless ticket collection and methods of payment to minimise contact time between staff and audience. 
  • Stagger crew catering times and increase cleaning in this area.  If possible, locate catering outdoors or if not possible, employ a one way system and minimise the number of people sitting / eating at any one time. 
  • Ensure the safety and management teams are aligned and have effective methods of communication in order to dynamically respond to any changes required to protect staff and audience. 
  • Communicate all hygiene measures and procedures to staff and empower them to voice any concerns they may have through an agreed channel of communication. 

Post-Event

It is as important as ever to undertake a full debrief to discuss what worked well / less well on site, in order to improve for future events. It may be helpful to get opinions from a wider sample of staff including contractors / talent to aid this improvement. 

Keep audience and staff contact details in line with GDPR compliance, in case any health issues arise post event.