Whatever the size of your event health and safety should always be considered. You should have a solid emergency plan in place in the rare situation anything should go wrong. This also means taking reasonable steps to prevent harm coming to anyone at your events. We strongly recommend following the below guide while planning your event.
A risk assessment is not as scary as it sounds! It is just a big list of each risk that could happen at your event, and assessment on how likely it is to happen, and what do to if it does. It can be a really good way for your volunteers to know how to handle any risky situation.
Take some time to look for and think about any risks to safety that might be present at your event and rate their risk level. Use a scale from 1-5, with 1 presenting a negligible risk and 5 presenting a very severe risk. Hazards that should be considered include:
Trip or equipment hazards – are there any cables that people could trip over? Is there glass people could bump into? Has the electrical equipment been safety checked? Is there a chance equipment could get wet?
Crowd management hazards – could overcrowding occur? How would aggressive/drunken behaviour be handled? Could people be at risk around roads or car parks? If people are sleeping on site, have all the fire exits been marked and kept clear of sleeping bags and luggage?
First aid hazards – could people become injured through the activities of your event? What injuries could occur? What would happen if an attendee suffered a heart attack?
Weather hazards – could the ground become slippery when wet? Could the wind pose a risk to the stability of your structures?
Environmental hazards – could event activities damage the venue or site? Could rubbish pose a risk to wildlife?
Fire hazards – how will you control smoking in the venue or onsite? Could an electrical fire occur? Are there fire extinguishers?
Catering hazards – could ovens or hot water urns cause a risk? How will food allergies be handled?
Write down all possible risks and who is at risk – be it attendees, crew, members of the public, or the venue itself. Then write down how you will mitigate and manage each risk. This does not need to mean reams of paperwork, just note the basic measures, such as having a first-aider on site and accident report book. Place extra focus on your most severe risks, which must be prioritised and actioned to reduce risk to an acceptable level. It is worth talking to your whole volunteer crew about this as they may be able to spot things that you alone would miss.
It’s important to plan for any situations that will require urgent action. Develop emergency procedures to be followed by anyone working on the event and discuss your plans with the venue management. Things to think about:
Raising the alarm – how will you communicate the emergency with volunteers and jammers?
Onsite emergency response – are there fire extinguishers? Do you need security staff?
Calling the emergency services – who will action making the calls required, and how will you assist the emergency services? How will emergency vehicles gain access to the site?
Evacuation plan – should the venue need to be evacuated during the event, where do people need to go and how do they get there? Don't forget to consider people people with limited mobility.
On site register - How are you keeping track of people inside the building so you know that everyone has been evacuated successfully?
Providing first aid – are their sufficient first aid equipment and trained staff for the number of people on site?
As the SO you are responsible for managing your volunteers and jammers to ensure they are not exposed to risk from the start of set up until the end of clean up.
Provide jammers with relevant information during your welcome presentation and the jammer guide. This should include information such as site hazards, speed limits and parking, first aid, toilets and wash facilities, and emergency arrangements.
Monitor risks throughout your event by creating a checklist and having a nominated individual/s responsible for checking at regular intervals.
This does differ country to country, but if possible we recommend getting insured at least against personal injury of jammers on your site. It is worth talking to the venue, as they may already have something to cover members of the public (you should check this is valid for overnight stays). If not, then we strongly recommend you take our your own insurance for the event where possible.