Health and safety

Looking after people’s safety is essential and is a matter of taking simple, sensible measures. General advice on managing events safely can be found on the HSE website 

For any event, large or small, you should complete a risk assessment. Download a risk assessment template.

Make sure you:

  • Identify the hazards associated with the event (ie anything that can cause harm)
  • Identify who may be harmed and how
  • Assess the level of risk
  • Decide what you need to do to control the risks and make the event safer
  • Record your findings

Top tips

  • Share the detail of the risk assessment with the other people who will be involved so everyone is aware of the potential dangers of holding the event.
  • Update your risk assessment regularly. Weather in particular can mean that you might need to make changes.
  • Don’t forget to work through it on the day of the event / activity to ensure the information you captured is still relevant and nothing has changed.

Here are some other things to consider

This list is not exhaustive but provides guidance.

Public liability insurance

This provides organisers of an event with financial protection if they're held to blame for injury to a person or for loss or damage to property. The level of public liability insurance you need varies according to the type of event and activity you’re planning and how many people will attend. Talk to your own insurer or an insurance broker to get the right level for your event or activity.

If you’re renting or using someone else’s building, you may be covered by their insurance. If you’re using external businesses, check they have their own insurance, and that it’s in force on the day of the event.
Find out more details about public liability and event insurance

Any groups with specific needs

Consider the needs of young children, teenagers, those with disabilities and the elderly, and make reasonable provision as part of your overall plan.

Road closures

If you’re arranging a town clean up or a fun run etc, depending upon the location, you may need to consider requesting a road closure. If this is the case, speak to your local council early on.

Marquees, bouncy castles or fairground rides

The event organiser must make sure that structures like bouncy castles have an up-to-date inspection certificate and method statement, are properly secured, and used in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions and guidance. This includes ensuring that they are only used if the weather is appropriate. Download a guide on the safe use and operation of play inflatables, including bouncy castles.

If you hire a fair or individual fairground rides, check that the owner and supplier has an up-to-date certificate and that they comply with industry health and safety standards.

If you hire a marquee make sure your supplier is able to provide a method statement, a full risk assessment plus a current public liability certificate. Read the HSE advice on stages, seating, marquees

Electrical installations and lighting

If you’re using power, make sure your supplier has the necessary certification. Whether a permanent or temporary power source, it must be installed and tested by a trained, suitably qualified electrician.

Fire safety requirements

Anyone providing a venue for a public event must assess the risk from fire to those using the premises and make sure fire safety measures are in place. 

Noise control

Speak with your local council’s Environmental Health Department as early as possible for advice. Some venues will stipulate that a specific noise level must not be exceeded. In this case, make sure you have a supplier who is able to accurately monitor sound levels. 

Consider contacting neighbours before the event and informing them of your plans. Make sure noise level is monitored and stages face away from residential properties.

Performing rights licence

You need to procure rights to play any music / broadcast media etc from the media owner. A Performing Rights Society (PRS) licence is required whenever there is a public performance of PRS-controlled copyright music. This includes both live performances (eg concerts, recitals, marching bands) and recorded music (eg discos, background music, TV screens). If an appropriate annual PRS licence is not in place for the land or premises where the event is to be held, the event organiser needs to obtain a licence.

Disposal of rubbish

Check your venue hire agreement, and with your local council, to understand what your responsibilities are. Some venues charge for removal of rubbish if it’s not removed by the organiser.

Firework

It’s essential you understand your responsibilities and that your supplier adheres to regulations using fireworks

For sky lanterns, check with your local council because some councils ban their use.

First Aid 

Your local Ambulance Trust is a good initial contact and will be able to advise you. Make sure first aid posts are clearly signposted and have easy access. Where an ambulance is required, a parking area should be provided close to the first aid post with a clear exit from the site. The first aider will need access to a phone and should record details of all people seeking treatment. The event organiser should check with the local council specific requirements for the reporting of this information and ensure they adhere to this.

Stewards, security and DBS checks

You must have an appropriate number of staff and stewards. Don’t forget to allow for meal and rest breaks and make sure stewards are properly trained and given a briefing and layout plan on the day. Provide them with a hi-visibility vest or other appropriate clothing.

Make sure that any suppliers who will be working with children have a current Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) certificate, if one is necessary for their activity.

Toilets

Make sure there are enough onsite toilets to cater for everyone. The number of toilets you should aim to have depends on the type of event, how long people are likely to stay, and how much they’re drinking. Your local council or the venue / land-owner will be able to help you identify suitable requirements.

Food safety

By law, food businesses must be registered with the local authority where they’re based, and if you are bringing in businesses, you should make sure they can provide evidence that they're registered. Make sure you ask for evidence of a business’ last food hygiene inspection.

If you wish to serve alcohol, you should check what licences etc you need.

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