Name the Activity
The ‘Name of the Activity’ field is used to describe the task, job or activity that you are going to assess. For example this might be ‘Assembling the Stage Structure’ or ‘Putting up Banners’.
You are building a stage with a set wall at a conference venue. In your method statement you decide that this can be broken down into the following activities.
- Loading the equipment into your van for transportation
- Driving the van to the venue
- Unloading the equipment from the van into the venue
- Assembling the staging and placing it into position
- Assembling the set wall flat on the floor
- Lifting the set into place and supporting it with bracing
- Attaching graphics to the set wall with adhesives
You could either produce separate risk assessments for each stage of this process or, if the hazards are similar for several of the steps (eg. risk of manual handling injuries when transporting, assembling & lifting the set) you could produce a more general risk assessment. In this case the activity could be ‘General Site Work’ or ‘Set Assembly and Erection’ and the hazard would be ‘Manual Handling’.
You can use the search features within Event Safety Plan to help you to find existing Risk Assessments – so make sure that you use the Name of the Activity field to accurately describe the activity that you are hoping to use.
You may choose to make your risk assessments fairly generic for common hazards that you find at most of your event sites, that makes them easy to reuse by duplicating them into new projects. Alternatively you may choose to make them very specific to a particular situation, for example a show where you are using a custom built motorised stage set.
The key thing is that, each time you make use of your template assessment you consider the specific elements which could affect the assessment, and adjust your control measures and risk ratings accordingly.
Describe the Hazard
A hazard is anything that may cause harm – Health & Safety Executive
Once you’ve identified an activity you need to think about what could go wrong – i.e.what the hazards are.
If we take Lifting the stage set wall into place and supporting it with bracing as our example there are numerous things that could go wrong:
- The crew could hurt their backs or pull a muscle when moving the set into position
- The wall could break and fall if it hasn’t been made properly
- The wall could fall over if the bracing isn’t suitable
- If power tools are being used then someone could get an electric shock from an electrical fault.
Each of these are a hazard that could have it’s own risk assessment.
It’s important that as you identify hazards that you also assess how realistic the chance is that someone could be affected by this hazard? If there is no realistic chance of someone getting hurt then it doesn’t need a risk assessment.
For example, technically there might be a chance of the ceiling falling down at the venue and injuring the crew. However it’s a pretty modern venue and there are no signs of any cracking or damage in the ceiling it’s probably safe to assume that there is no realistic chance of this happening and it doesn’t need to be documented within a risk assessment.
Try and keep your risk assessments concise and just concerned with the hazards that are likely to cause injury or damage.
It is important to identify at which phase in the project your risk assessment is valid for project phase in your assessment. This could be any or all of the following:
- Pre event site – i.e. any activities which take place off site from the location of the main event – i.e.construction of set elements, travelling to the venue, loading of vehicles, etc
- Pre event build – i.e. any activities which take place on the event site to build or construct the event. This could be the installation of staging, exhibition shell scheme, truss, temporary structures or even just the unloading of furniture and collateral. This is basically anything that happens between the time you arrive at the venue but before the event opens to the audience/ public.
- Event – i.e. any activities which take place once the event is open to the audience, attendees or public. This could include any changes to equipment, deliveries and collections, the movement of people or vehicles, assessments of fire capacities and calculations etc
- Dismantle – i.e. any activities which take place on the event site to remove or dismantle the event. This could be the removal of staging, shell scheme, truss, temporary structures or even just the packing up and loading of equipment. This is basically anything that happens between the end of the event and before you leave the venue.
- Post event – i.e. any activities which take place off site from the location of the main event – i.e. travelling from the venue, the unloading of vehicles post event or the destruction of set elements
A key consideration may be that an activity might be more hazardous depending on the phase of the project. For example the use of a forklift to carry equipment around a venue could be seen to be less hazardous during the build and dismantle phases of a project, and more hazardous once the event is taking place.
This could be because:
- During the build and dismantle phases, the population (i.e. people in the venue or on the event site) are likely to be trained or experienced event operatives.
- Less people within the event site mean that there is less chance for an incident
- Generally event managers have more control over who is in their event build/ dismantle area during the build and dismantle.
This means that even the same activity has a different level of risk, depending on the phase of the project.
It is important to understand which risk assessments apply to certain areas of your event venue. It could be that different assessments (or different control measures) apply to different locations, rooms, areas or parts of the event site, venue or location. For example you could consider the difference between:
- Areas that are outside a venue (i.e. open to the elements) and the impact that the weather might have on activities
- Public areas of the event
- Backstage areas of the event
- Vehicle access routes and unloading zones
- Areas which are not completely under the control of the event organiser – i.e. shared car parks, shared venue spaces
You could also group your assessments by the different venues, spaces or locations within the event venue:
- Plenary conference room
- Breakout rooms
- Main Stage
- Red Car Park
Who is at Risk?
The ‘population’ is the group of people that are likely to be affected by the activity, and any hazards it creates. Different phases and Locations will mean that different groups of people could be affected by your activities – and you should give consideration to these when putting your risk assessment together.
You should consider the effect that your activities will have on some (but not limited to) of the following:
- Members of the public attending the event
- Members of the public not attending the event
The difference here is that those attending your event will be expecting your activities to be taking place and may be able to prepare for them. You may also be able to communicate in advance of your event to those people attending the event, but you won’t be able to communicate as easily to those not attending the event.
Consider people who are living or working close to your event venue who could be affected by your activities – and ensure that your considerations extend beyond the walls (real or not) of your event site.
- Crew, contractors, staff and volunteers
Consider who will be working at your event, some are likely to be experienced event professionals (who may have picked up good and bad habits over the course of their careers), whilst others may not be used to working on a live build or dismantle site.
Consideration should be given to those who are working on your event site but don’t work for your organisation. Many people in the events industry are self employed, contractors or freelancers who may have special requirements.
Finally, consideration should be given to those who are volunteering at the event – the law doesn’t distinguish between those that are and aren’t getting paid – you have to look after your volunteers just as you do for your paid staff.
You should consider the care that might need to be taken of any performers or artists (including wandering acts, bands etc) who are performing at your event. You should consider where they will be getting ready, where they will be performing and how they travel from one place to another.
- Venue staff
Although you might be working within a venue environment, you have a responsibility to those who work in the venue every day as part of their normal job. In a hotel venue for example, this would include all the staff directly involved in the event like the event staff and technicians, but also include catering staff, reception staff, housekeeping and maintenance staff who are not directly involved in the event.
Many of these people will be familiar with the venue, but may not be familiar with the activities which you are undertaking for your event.
Special consideration needs to be given to people who might be particularly vulnerable due to disabilities, pregnancy, age or medical conditions. It is good practice to include risk assessments that state what special measures you are taking to protect them if they may be present at your event site.
The HSE has specific guidance available on it’s website.