You must develop and action a plan to identify and manage all potential risks and hazards. Asking 'what if' questions and thinking through possible outcomes to each scenario can help identify risks and strategies to manage those risks.
Once you have identified risks, you need to determine and document the factors causing them.
There are three areas where incidents are likely to occur:
People - potential hazards in crowd situations include
Intoxication by alcohol and or substance abuse
Medical ailments, heat stroke, hypothermia
Crowd noise, pedestrian traffic flows
Emotional distress, assaults
Minor, serious and critical injuries
Equipment - potential risks exist if the equipment
is not suitable for the purpose for which it is being used
is badly maintained
is badly assembled
Environment - consider the environment within which the event is operating
Some environmental factors have more of an impact than others. They can include:
Water (eg; river, swimming pools, lakes, ponds)
Traffic (eg; cars, cycling)
Falling objects (eg; trees, signs)
Once you have identified all possible risks you can categorise their outcomes into accident, injury or loss. Methods for managing each of those risks can be identified. The most effective way of managing risk is through introducing control measures. You can put these in place using one or more of the following six strategies.
If you can't reduce the risk to an acceptable level, you may need to cancel part of, or the entire, event. For example, if high winds were to jeopardise the safety of the audience through the instability of the marquee, you would need to consider cancelling or postponing your event.
Reducing the risk
You may be able to reduce some risk to an acceptable level. For example, ensuring all stallholders providing food have basic food hygiene and handling standards.
Reducing adverse outcomes
You may be able to minimise the severity of identified risks by reducing the impact of the hazard, should it occur. For example, regularly clearing tills taking cash sales during the event as this ensures minimal cash is kept in the till, reducing any loss or injury should there be a theft.
Alternative options and back-up systems
When identifying potential risks, the effect of that risk can be minimised through having an acceptable back up plan in place. For example having an alternative venue for wet weather.
Allocation of risk
A potential risk can be minimised by spreading the likelihood of that risk occurring across a range of areas.
For example, if you are expecting large numbers of people to arrive or depart in a short space of time, have more than one entry and exit point to the event.
Assigning the risk
You can minimise risk by transferring responsibility of that risk to other parties such as sub-contractors. For example, if you are using a sub-contractor to set up a stage with sound equipment your contract will need to state that they will be responsible for the safety of their equipment, staff and actions whilst on site.
It is recommended that you complete an Event Hazard Management Form for every event that you organise. There are many templates available for you to use, all of which you will be able to custom-make to suit your individual event - an example of one template is available below.