As the Safety & Health Expo, the UK’s largest dedicated health and safety event, approaches in the next few weeks, we’re taking a look at health and safety in the event industry.
Now that COVID-19 restrictions have eased, events are starting to go back to normal. But should we still be wary of the virus?
It’s natural for us to be cautious of events after two years of being stuck inside. Even restrictions have eased, event managers planning overseas events should be wary of global travel. Some countries still have border control measures and testing in place. This can pose issues to unvaccinated or asymptomatic travellers. For UK-based events, where restrictions have eased, encourage delegates to travel during quieter commuting times such as before 7am or after 6pm. Alternatively, urge attendees to walk if they can. This will save crowded commutes as well as being good for physical health.
As technology constantly evolves, the event industry can incorporate new technology into events to optimise client satisfaction. However, with new technologies, there is always a high risk of things not going to plan. Events are becoming paperless and with that, most delegate and client details are digital. There is a cyber security risk with any data kept online, as data could leak or be hacked into. Event managers should ensure there are measures in place to secure online data, such as password protection and firewalls. (Don’t worry we have this covered with our ISO 27001 accreditation.) As well as this, increased technology means more wires and cables. With this, an increased risk of delegates tripping over and injuring themselves.
Lottie Davis, one of our event managers, ensures safety is a top priority at her events. “In my experience with events and COVID19, we are very much being led by the individual client’s policy.
I personally ran a couple of events back to back – at the first one, guests had to show evidence of a negative test on arrival, or take a test onsite and wait for the negative result. At the second event, the client had no mitigating factors at all. Following both events I believe there were still cases amongst the attendees.
Another thing I would note is the importance of gathering delegates’ emergency contact details – in most instances, they won’t be used, but it is always best to have them to hand should an emergency arise.”
Mental health is just as important as physical health, so it must be cared for, especially in the workplace. It’s easy to let mental health go unspoken when staff are just carrying on with their usual day-to-day roles. But it is this time that’s the most important to put measures in place to take care of them. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have identified six areas of work design that must be properly managed to ensure good mental health:
There is a prominent risk for employees to feel overwhelmed by competing demands. Therefore, line management duties should be prioritised, and employees should be provided with a clear outline of what they should be focusing on. Employers should be careful not to overload their staff with tasks and have regular catchups about their workload.
Employers should encourage staff to set up their own routine, to ensure they can control a part of their day. Workdays can get out of hand, as early as opening the day’s emails, and not having control is certainly not the preferred operating state for event professionals!
In recent years where social distancing and Zoom meetings have been a regular part of our lives, it has been difficult to get and give support to others. Make sure your team members are supported, even through technology by having regular catch-up meetings and team calls.
Similar to support, it has been difficult for employees to build professional relationships with each other through the pandemic. Employers should ensure policies and systems are in place to respond to any individual concerns.
Due to the pandemic, employees may be currently taking on different roles or responsibilities. Managers should ensure that employees are clear on their roles as well as how they fit into the business. It’s important that everyone in the business has a shared understanding of each other’s roles.
The events industry is an ever-changing marketplace. Event professionals are always challenging the norm, thinking creatively, and revolutionizing ways of actively engaging with audiences. Employees should take time to recognise the positives in the new normalities.
At Venues and Events International, we prioritise safety and security at our events. If you are interested in organising an event, get in touch with the team.