Organising events safely
This site gives guidance on organising an event safely. If you are responsible for organising an event, you are also responsible for ensuring that appropriate health and safety precautions are in place. This site gives guidance on what you need to do.
Please also refer to the University's website on Organising an Event for general advice.
You will need to carry out a risk assessment to determine how people could be harmed during the event (and its preparation) and precautions needed to protect them. The extent of the risk assessment depends on the size and complexity of the event. For small straight forward events it may not even be necessary to write it down.
As a minimum you need to be sure that those attending the event know what to do in the event of a fire or first aid incident and make sure that they can evacuate quickly in an emergency. (See guidance on emergency procedure below).
The following generic risk assessments can be used to assist you with the planning of most events. However if you need advice, please contact a Health and Safety Adviser or the Fire Safety Officer. Please contact the HSAS in good time. The Fire Safety Officer needs to approve certain activities, such as the use of candles, and can advise on areas such as occupancy limits. If you do not get this information early it may affect your event.
Please note these have been designed so that you can use them for a group of similar events.
- Risk assessment: Event or
- Risk Assessment: Event (Southend Campus)
- Risk assessment: Marquee event
- Risk assessment: Event in The Hex Updated August 2013
Make sure that anyone in charge of groups of visitors or delegates knows the emergency evacuation and first aid procedures for their location. Show them:
- the nearest fire exit and alternative exit
- The nearest fire alarm call point and how to raise he alarm in the event of a fire
- Where the fire assembly point is
- How to contact Patrol / Security Officers (for first aid or emergencies) and other key people involved in the event
- The following information:
Persons in charge of visitors, groups, rooms or areas are responsible for ensuring that everyone within their control evacuates. They should make everyone aware of the following:
- In the event of a fire occupants should not attempt to extinguish the fire but evacuate the building immediately. When evacuating please sound the nearest alarm if you have discovered the fire. Close doors behind you and follow the signs until you leave the building. Congregate outside and do not re-enter until authorised.
- If you have reason to believe that either you or someone you are responsible for may have difficulty evacuating (problems with stairs is the most common), please seek advice from the Fire Safety Officer, the Information Centre on Square 3 (Colchester campus) or the Facilities Management Provider (Southend campus).
If any visitors have a physical disability and you are not sure how to help them to evacuate safely, contact a Patrol Officer (Colchester campus, extn: 2125), Security Officer (Southend Campus, extn: 8208) or the Fire Safety Officer.
If you hire someone to provide entertainment or help you with setting up an event, you need to make reasonable enquiries to ensure they are competent and won't put those attending the event at risk. You should advise any contractor that they need to comply with our fire and safety requirements when on site. If the contractor is doing activities that could foreseeable put others at risk, you will need to:
- Check that they have public liability insurance to a minimum value of £5million. Take a copy of their insurance certificate.
- Ask them to show you their risk assessment and safety precautions. If necessary ask a health and safety adviser to check them for you.
- Check what training and experience they have.
- Speak to someone else who has used them. If necessary, ask for references.
If you have any questions about insurance, contact Stephen Couch, Insurance and Risk Manager.
If you want to organise any dangerous activities, you must consult the HSAS and the Estate Management Section first, as permission may not be given.
Please refer to the University's website on organising an event for important information about the University's requirements and contact details for information on security, publicity etc.
The HSE has published guidance on organising large events, which can be found in the resources section on the right hand side of this page.
The following sites may also be useful:
- HSE guidance on leisure and entertainment: www.hse.gov.uk/entertainment
- If doing your own catering: Food safety advice from the NHS
- If you are hiring a marquee: Advice on marquees and temporary structures from MUTA*
- If you are hiring inflatable play equipment:Advice on hiring inflatable play equipment from MUTA
*MUTA is the trade association for the UK temporary structures and technical textiles industries, representing suppliers and manufacturers of textile products including marquees and bouncy castles. The Association runs the health and safety accreditation schemes MUTAmarq, for hirers of marquees and temporary structures, and PIPA, for inflatable play equipment