A very brief introduction to the Guidance

Being safe at work is a fundamental principle to both employers and employees. Health and safety in the workplace shouldn’t be taken lightly, it is the employer’s responsibility to provide information and training to employees about safety requirements and risks involved at work. No matter what size the organisation, it is vital they have the proper health and safety processes in place. For some organisations, where they don’t have the capacity to handle this internally, they reach out to health and safety consultants.

What is a Health and Safety Consultant?

A health and safety consultant is a professional service role, offering advice and guidance to organisations and employers. Their job is to assist organisations to reduce health and safety risks in the workplace, as well as providing best practice consultancy to manage the process internally more efficiently.

Your health and safety consultant should be registered and qualified. Some qualifications you can expect to find are NEBOSH, NCRQ, and NVQ. Day to day tasks of a health and safety consultant includes producing safety policies and procedures, auditing business processes, advising and training on health and safety practices, carrying out risk assessments, and much more, our aim is to establish an auditable health safety management system for your business you can operate yourself.

Event health and safety consultants must be highly knowledgeable and health and safety competent as well as sector competent. Many public service organisations outsource their H&S services as they do not have the capacity to handle this internally. 

Small businesses are often too busy to even know that they have safety issues. Quite often employees will be reluctant to report problems, preferring to get on with the job. Often there is an ignorance of the safety laws, a complacency with regard to the use of chemicals and equipment, over-familiarity with the job, a total lack of safety culture. In small businesses, such a situation can go on undetected until there is an accident, and an accident in a small business can mean the end of the business, especially if the employer is prosecuted or sued by his employee.

Do your employees work as contractors at customer sites? Do you know who is responsible for their safety? Well, both you and your customer have a responsibility. You should ask your customer to conduct safety/risk assessments before your employees start work on their premises. Ideally, you and your customer should conduct the assessment together, this is because your customer knows the environment for the job and the contractors know the task, the tools, the materials, etc. Your customer may not have a competent Safety Advisor so for the best risk assessment you can insist that your customer employs a safety consultant, and you can ask Stagesafe to do this for you.

If you feel at risk because safety is not being dealt with at your company you might benefit from a complete review, and a full program of safety inspection, training, and monitoring.

Health and Safety Consultancy Tools

Implementing new processes can be hard as employees can be resistant to change. Measuring health and safety performance and efficiency is also difficult as you cannot gain quantifiable data. What health and safety tools give your organisation, is the ability to measure performance as a result of efficient health and safety procedures, whilst providing a safe working environment for everyone by identifying and reducing hazards in the workplace.

Audit of Your Health and Safety System

Health and safety consultants offer a range of services to employers and organisations that improve their H&S processes. These services can start with an audit of your existing processes, procedures, and standards. The health and safety audit gives employers an indication of where they are at with regard to managing safety and recommends improvements on how to best approach health and safety management in their industry. Consultants begin by assessing key practices against both legal responsibilities and best practices. Your consultant will investigate where you may be liable from a statutory or civil perspective and provide an easy-to-use action plan that will outline priority areas.

The aim of the health and safety audit is to identify the key areas where your organisation can improve its health and safety practices and processes. Your consultant will then work with you to deliver the tools and put in place best practices to make your health and safety management a more efficient process.

Professional H&S Policy

How you manage your health and safety processes will tell your staff, stakeholders and shareholders how committed you are to the safety in your workplace.

After auditing and advising on best practice Health and Safety processes, a useful tool to refer to is a health and safety policy. This official document is used by employers as a set of commitments and arrangements for managing health and safety practices in the workplace. An H&S Policy is a legal requirement if you have five or more employees and is best practice if you have less than this.

This official document doesn’t need to be confusing, and your health and safety consultant can assist by producing this for you.

Once you have your health and safety policy in place, it is almost useless unless it is effectively utilised. It is important for managers to act upon this H&S policy, enforcing regulations in the workplace, and carrying out training. Both employees and employers need to regularly review the document to ensure safe and productive health and safety practices.

Assess Hazards and Risk Assessments

Many organisations attempt to carry out risk assessments and health and a safety audit themselves. However, this can be counterproductive as the job may not be completed to a high enough standard.

As an employer, you cannot eliminate all risks in the workplace. But it is a legal requirement and the employer’s responsibility to minimise and control these risks in the workplace.

Outsourcing your organisations H&S services means that professionals visit your workplace and conduct risk assessments on your behalf. This means a guaranteed qualified consultant that will deliver risk assessments to industry regulatory standards.

The risk assessment process can begin with a health and safety audit, your consultant will then create a bespoke, compliant written record of the risk assessment. Your Health and safety advisor then produces a report with an easy-to-follow action plan that sets priority ratings.

Outsource Health and Safety Support

Thousands of organisations across the UK outsource their health and safety processes. This allows them to keep up to date with legislation changes and reduce workplace risks. As an employer, there are many benefits to reaching out and getting health and safety support.

The guide to choosing a safety consultant gives important independent information not just about selecting the right safety advisor but how to work with them so you get the best value for money and the bests results, it's essential reading. 

The introduction to health and safety basics and documentation is for companies and organisations who are just getting to grips with health and safety, this also forms part of the Health and Safety Development Programme but is a basic guide for all.

Finally, selecting and managing contractors is the methodology for contractor management and selection, you are responsible for the contractors, they must be competent, we show you how to select them and manage H&S law expects. This is part of health and safety basics for both, promoters, event organisers, and companies working in any industry. 

There are now a lot of very competent people who have training, knowledge, qualifications, and experience but who have trouble obtaining work, this is because there are also employers who are not competent enough to know and understand they need to employ competent people and they don't really know, care or understand who is actually competent and how to select and employ them! Employers also need training in selecting the right staff. 

There are also those who know they should employ competent persons but don’t as they wrongly consider it’s cheaper to employ those who are far less competent. If you think health and safety consultants are expensive, try having an accident!

RISK MANAGEMENT

Event organisers must be well aware that they are responsible for the safety of the people that will be attending their event, but do they understand the full range of your obligations to them?

You cannot predict everything that could happen when a large group of people come together. There are elements out of your control such as the weather, potential bushfires or floods, or even a terrorist act. While these may be out of your control, these must be considered in your planning and contingencies thought through.

Event participants/attendees don’t think about whether they’re going to be safe or not. They buy a ticket and assume that the event organisers will have everything regarding their health and safety under control.

Promotors have an obligation to their participants to keep them safe because their wellbeing is a priority and also paramount to the success of your event. The legislation is very clear that anyone exposed to risks because of your business activities, that is your event, must be looked after.

How do you provide the degree of comfort required of government organisations granting the approvals? How do you know what all the risks are? And when you’ve identified them, how do you prioritise them?

Here we answer commonly asked questions about the obligations of event organisers to event participants. Our job is to do everything we can to make an event go ahead with a risk management strategy that thoroughly and comprehensively addresses all potential risks. Events operate in what we call a “permission” regime, and we need approvals from authorities for public events. We work hard to turn no’s into yeses so that events can proceed with the greatest opportunity for success and safety at the same time, as well as providing peace of mind to approving authorities.

How does an event planner identify the risks for their participants/attendees?

When a participant signs up for an event, does this person have a clear understanding of the risks they are exposed to or should they? Typically, conditions of entry or the requirement to sign a “waiver of liability” states in the fine print the likely hazards they may encounter.  Is this sufficient?

Event organisers are often challenged to identify the risk factors associated with their event. To identify the relevant risks, the best way forward is to gain a comprehensive understanding of all of the event details. We call this establishing the “context”. The more details you have, the more you will be able to soon identify the risk profile and what requires the closest attention.

Once you have this information about the potential risks unique to your event, then the event organiser’s responsibility is to devise a suitable control environment that achieves two important things:

  1. Reduces the likelihood of an adverse event occurring is.
  2. If an adverse situation were to occur, the consequences are reduced.

This is risk management 101.

You can only do this if you know the intimate details of the event, understand the law that governs events in your region, including any standards and codes of practice, and then making sure you have done your very best to reduce the risk to “as low as reasonably practicable”.

Risk management strategies need to be up to date and current – is last year’s adequate?

The simple answer is no. You can be disappointed that risk materialises but never be surprised. Therefore, risk strategies need to be up to date at all times, this will also give you peace of mind that you’ve done your best to mitigate risk.

Risk management planning and tactics change year on year and it is not enough to read last year’s document, place this year’s date on it and file it as it is. This approach is not uncommon and leaves people open to all sorts of problems down the track should anything adverse occur.  If you do this, ask yourself the question “Would this withstand scrutiny if anything happened?”

A robust risk management plan has a good level of detail as well as your commitment. You must deliver on what you say you are going to deliver. If you are focussing on a COVID Safe event, hostile vehicle mitigation (terrorist acts) or food safety, then your risk management document must delve into these points in detail, demonstrating a solid risk strategy. Approving authorities will look much more favourably on risk management plans that deliver on what they promise.

The five most common key safety concerns for event participants that must be addressed by event planners

Ages of the people attending

Will people entering your event be suitable for the activity or not? People can place themselves in high-risk situations with alcohol or drug consumption which is their choice. But you will still need to be prepared with robust response plans and suitable medical resources.

Crowd management

When you have to move large crowds through small spaces, you need to think through mitigation measures to prevent potential crush scenarios. Breaking the crowd up early, clear communication plans, understanding human responses and crowd dynamics are especially beneficial.

Food safety

Your participants will assume all health and safety measures have been applied to the food they purchase. An important part of your risk safety plan is to make sure that food hazards are minimised and that your foodservice providers have understood and addressed their obligations for participant health and safety.

Medical support for emergencies

The organisation you choose to provide this support must be competent to do the task you have asked them to do. Don’t choose on price, choose on competency and experience. Decide the level of support you need for the activity and then find a competent provider.  The health and safety of your participants remain in your hands.

Weather considerations

How will a heatwave, storm cell or lightning affect people’s wellbeing? For both predictable and unpredictable scenarios such as this, you must provide the tools for organisers to monitor emerging risks, make decisions quickly which is critical to ensure reduced risk.

How do you prioritise these risks and address those that are most relevant?

You prioritise them according to the risk and danger, and then you put into place a control plan which is proportional to the level of risks identified. The more controls you put into place, the less likely things will go wrong.

We call them Cumulative Control Environments which are the various layers of risk control to reduce the overall risk.

We are here to help you launch successful events backed by comprehensive risk planning for your participants’ safety and peace of mind.