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Managing Festival Health and Safety.

Andy Robertson

There are a minefield of rules regulations and procedures relating to health and safety for any music festival. Aside from understanding all the requirements how can these be successfully implemented to avoid any unnecessary breaches that in the worst case could lead to a premature closure of the event.

The key to implementing and complying with any health and safety protocols is to appoint an individual to be responsible for implementing, documenting and monitoring the festival’s compliance. For large organising entities there is likely a specific job role or Health and Safety Manager. For smaller festival organisers it often makes sense to bring in a specialist contractor who can be employed for 3 or 6 months for example. The alternative would be to appoint a contractor company to fulfil all the requirements. 

For UK based music festivals, the relevant compliance is with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) who broadly specify the responsibilities of event organisers, as performed by any appointed responsible person or Health and Safety Manager and include:

  • Creating a safety plan and risk assessment.
  • Consulting employees and staff. 
  • Liaising with venues, local authorities and emergency services. 
  • Using competent contractors. 
  • How to ensure employee welfare. 
  • Creation of emergency planning. 

Having an experienced person responsible for health and safety negates the need for detailed understanding by the organising team. However, one of the duties of the responsible manager is to ensure that sufficient plans and assessment risks are agreed and approved by senior individuals in the event organisation.

The responsible Health and Safety Manager should ensure that regular scheduled training is conducted with all staff and volunteers to highlight any potential risks and actions to mitigate any potential problems. The training should also include the communication strategy for festival-goers to highlight risks and dangers with on-site signage and easy to follow instructions on any associated procedures. 

All risk assessments, training programmes and emergency procedures should be fully documented and stored electronically in an easily accessible system. In addition, quick FAQs and easy to follow procedures can be printed in hard copy format to hand out in training sessions and as a summary handy reference document for staff and volunteers to refer to during the event.  

The role of any appointed individual with responsibility for health and safety should be taken seriously, it's not just about compliance with the HSE but a serious issue that can affect the safety and wellbeing of festival-goers, staff, artists, contractors and vendors. When considering any large music festival site, the list of potential hazards can be huge and daunting including fires, electric shocks and even simple trip hazards. All these need to be tackled and managed before, during and after any event to avoid injury. 

For organisers planning their music festival using a software management platform like
Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their health and safety procedures and documentation. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors, guestlists, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering.

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Andy Robertson
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