How to manage health and safety at carnivals, festivals and sports events

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Irrespective of whether you are hosting the next World Cup qualifier or a local league soccer match, as an event organiser you have a duty to manage workplace risks to health and safety by eliminating or minimising those risks so far as is reasonably practicable.

As an event organiser, you have obligations to protect the health and safety of:

  • your employees;
  • contractors you engage, their subcontractors, and the employees they engage;
  • members of the public attending the event; and
  • all other people entering the event premises (such as delivery drivers).

A person will attract workplace health and safety duties when they arrange, direct, influence or contribute to the work to be done. Where there is overlap of duties, each responsible person must discharge their duty to the extent the person has the capacity to influence and control the relevant business or undertaking.

It is important to understand that an event organiser retains overall responsibility for workplace health and safety even in circumstances where the event organiser contracts out activities to others, including the actual 'running' of the event.

Tips for managing workplace health and safety at events

Below are four key tips and strategies for managing workplace health and safety.

1. Create a workplace health and safety management policy. This policy should contain and deal with the following:
  • Defining event phases.
  • When will you take control of the venue?
  • When will other parties take control of the venue?
  • An incident response strategy capturing all defined event phases.
  • A tailored risk management process suitable for each defined event phase.
  • Local emergency procedures.
  • A health and safety training/induction program that can be administered to employees and contractors.
  • A requirement to comply with the event organiser's workplace health and safety management policy under services agreements.
  • How urgent work will be undertaken during the operation of the event, so as to minimise disruption to the event and minimise risk to employees and patrons.
2. Enforce strict compliance with your workplace health and safety management policy Consider:
  • Who will be present at the workplace prior to, during and after the event?
  • How will you enforce compliance by the primary contractors, sub-contractors and their respective employees?
  • How will you ensure that contractors and their respective employees have received appropriate workplace health and safety training?
3.Ensure you consult, cooperate and coordinate activities with all other persons who have a duty in relation to the same business or undertaking.Consider:
  • Appointing a person to generally oversee health and safety.
  • Having regular meetings with the other persons who have a duty in relation to the same business or undertaking.
4.Create a system of review to facilitate further development and improvements to your workplace health and safety management policy.

To discuss how to manage the risk of your sporting event, festival or carnival in more detail, please contact our Sport, Leisure and Tourism Sector team.

All information on this site is of a general nature only and is not intended to be relied upon as, nor to be a substitute for, specific legal professional advice. No responsibility for the loss occasioned to any person acting on or refraining from action as a result of any material published can be accepted.