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Exhibitions and Conferences - Safety and Health. Planning Phase.

In this, our second of ten news blogs on the subject of health and safety planning for exhibitions and conferences, we will discuss the planning phase. This is often undertaken by a post known as The Operations Manager for the event (or something similar, depending upon indvidual organisations). They are normally responsible for pre-event planning and co-ordination, working together with others from the Company producing the event, often on the behalf of clients.

We often find that for various reasons including lack of time, lack of insight, pressures of managing multiple events, lack of finances, pressures from clients - and others, it is sometimes the case that organisers don't do all that they should do in terms of ensuring safe systems of work. This is not saying that they don't think that they provide them. They probably do. Our experience is that they may have a well meaning project leader with some knowledge of legal requirements and at some stage they will have asked for safety management paperwork from contractors, received it and believed it to be suitable and sufficient for all of the work. 

The g-Guide for exhibitions and conferences sets this out really well. All duties required by Laws, Duties of Care and Approved Codes of Practice must be followed, checked, amended and recorded in respect of each event. This does not mean a root and branch re-think of work. It is likely that a fresh look at diaries to make sure that enough time and resources will be the most significant requirement. 

As business people, we are all profit driven. We have to pay for salaries and overheads to keep our businesses running and it is often difficult to say no to a potential client if covering safety provisions and checks means increasing the budget. In short, it is sometimes easy to become diverted from some priorities and to try to justify why.

It is a fact that venues will not support exhibitors who don't comply, especially if there is an incident. If you have ever looked at the subject of investigating accidents, you may have learned that it is more often than not, that the root cause can be traced back management because of the lack of systems or checks.

Learning has taught us that where there is harm, it is likely that the enforcing authority will be not look favourably towards a non-prosecution alternative as they commence an investigation. At this point, those under scruting then direct their thoughts towards what they can now do to put this right and cost becomes no object as they consider harmful effects, criminal actions, loss of reputation and the involvement of their client by association. 

This has all been a little heavy we know. The events industry in general is moving in a very positive direction towards significant improvements in their management of health and safety at work. If you have never had a look at the g-Guide, why not have a look and see if you can do anything to improve your systems for keeping everyone safe, healthy and to further improve the image of your event.


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