a step by step guide to safety at events, fêtes, fairs, car boot sales, indoor and outdoor fundraisers, craft shows etc. page updated 4 Mar 2017

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Guide to Planning
Safe Events - appendix

A Step-By-Step Guide with Hints and Tips
© KayDeeElle 2002

If you're looking for The Event Safety Guide by the
Health and Safety Executive, you can buy it here

Guide Contents

we've scattered around pictures of decor, themes and
props to break the monotony of plain text

Is this for you? ...read on
No scapegoats! ...the buck stops with you!
Plan your event ...you gotta have a plan, Sam
Evaluating any risks ...danger, danger, Will Robinson
Preparing for Emergencies ...contingencies, belts and braces
Let's get organised ...don't overdo that committee thing!
Who to contact prior... ...you're more than a number in my little black book ;-)
Prepare the Site and facilities ...special guide to doing it in public
People are People too ...lost souls, special needs, and erm.. biological functions
Stewards' duties ...the nameless officials who make it all happen
Pre- and During-Event checklist ...did I leave the cooker on? Or last minute checks
Recommended reading ...for the specifics

If you're using health and safety consultants, use this guide to confirm they're on the ball!

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Hint: Use a spreadsheet to prepare a budget. Allow space for actuals. Keep it updated.

Apart from keeping track of your funds, it forms a useful cross-reference to your plan - a lot of the things on your plan will be a budget item and vice versa.


Stewards' Duties

When you're selecting people for the rôle of Steward, bear in mind they need to be:

  • fit, active, aged 18 or over and preferably 55 or younger
  • be suitably trained and competent to carry out their duties effectively

Give Stewards:

  • day-glo jackets, armbands or tabards so thay can be easily identifiable,
  • a written statement of their duties, and where appropriate, a checklist and a layout plan showing the key features of the site
  • a final briefing of their duties on the day of the event, particularly about communicating with supervisors and others in the event of an emergency
  • torches if the event is likely to go on beyond dusk

By the arrival of the day, Stewards should:

  • know the layout of the site and be able to assist the public by giving information about the available facilities, remembering especially people with disabilities
  • be aware of the location of the entrances and exits in use on the day, the fire-fighting equipment and the first aid posts
  • know the ticketing arrangements and be aware of the routes in and out for any VIPs
  • have tested torches and or any other equipment issued to them
  • know, understand and have practised their specific duties in an emergency and the arrangements for evacuating the public from the site, including the use of coded messages

On the day the Stewards will patrol their allotted areas, being on constant watch for emergencies and knowing what actions to take, paying particular attention to:

  • any potential or developing hazards in or near their location
  • ensuring that overcrowding does not occur in any part of the site
  • preventing the public climbing fences, barriers, lighting or sound towers, equipment and so on
  • ensuring that circulation areas and exits (including entrances and exits for emergency services) are kept clear at all times.
    This can be particularly important at indoor events where visitors may well park their cars outside halls across exit doorsand other routes from the building


Prepare an "essentials" box for the day: A few spare business cards, compliment slips, stapler, 4 or 5-way power distribution block, sticky tape, scissors, bluetack, superglue, penknife, screwdriver (flat & crosshead), first aid kit.


Hint: If you have a web site, create a page for your event. Keep it updated with progress and include lots of pictures.

Pre and During Event Checklist

Checklist to be used
prior to opening and during the event


CROWD SAFETY - Are premises free from hazards?
For example, even ground and floor surfaces, no trip hazards, hazards fenced off
Are all attractions, activities and structures complete and staffed?  
Are structures and seating sound and secure, stairways / platforms and equipment guarded, protective barriers / fencing secure?  
ENTRANCES/EXITS - Are adequate entrances and exits open, clearly marked and staffed to control admission where necessary?  
Are all circulation areas, staircases and escape routes/exits unobstructed with all doors and gates unlocked?  
CROWD CONTROL - Is the control room operational, with communications and PA systems working, are mobile phones fully charged?  
Are the required number of stewards in their allotted positions; fully briefed on their duties and wearing jackets or tabards?  
ELECTRICS - Is installation complete/certified; cabling/ equipment secure/protected; clear of public circulation areas?  
LIGHTING - Is normal and emergency lighting provided, in working order and lit where necessary?  
MEDICAL FACILITIES - Are there enough trained first aiders on site, is a suitable and clearly marked room (provided with water) available as a first aid post?  
FIRE PRECAUTIONS - Is fire fighting equipment in place, rubbish and combustible materials stored away from tents, structures, fire-exits?  
TOILET ACCOMMODATION - Is clearly marked toilet accommodation available (including for disabled), have arrangements been made to service them during the event?  
RUBBISH - Are sufficient bins provided around the site, have arrangements been made to empty them during the event?  

You may find this book from Amazon useful in the context of planning for safety
Disability, Equality and Human Rights: A...


Recommended Reading

The following publications provide additional information and advice on safety at events:

  • "5 Steps to Risk Assessment" - HSE (Health and Safety Executive) - Available free
  • "Guide to Fire Precautions in Existing Places of Public Entertainment and like Premises" - HMSO (Her Majesty's Stationary Office)
  • "Guide to Health, Safety and Welfare at Pop Concerts and Similar Events" - HMSO
  • "Fairgrounds and Amusement Parks - Guidance on Safe Practice" - HSE
  • Safe operation of passenger carrying amusement devices: Inflatable bouncing devices - HSE
  • "The Radiation Safety of Lasers Used for Display Purposes" - HSE
  • "Code of Practice for Outdoor Events" - The National Outdoor Events Association

Go to Part III


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