A Guide to Essential Health and Safety Documents and Health and Safety Basic Principals 

The event organiser or promoter is legally responsible for ensuring that overall safety at an event is maintained so that as far as reasonably practicable, people setting up, breaking down, and attending the event are not exposed to risks to their health and safety.

All entertainment events are classed as work activities and are therefore subject to the HSW Act and various regulations and Codes of Practice. In addition, licensing legislation may also apply. Event organisers, concert promoters, licensees, specialist contractors, and venue owners all have a statutory duty to protect the health and safety of their workers and others who may be affected by their work activity. Failure to comply with health and safety laws can lead to prosecution, fines, and/or imprisonment. 

These duties will include:

  • having health and safety arrangements in place to control risks
  • ensuring co-operation and proper co-ordination of work activities
  • providing your employees and others with relevant information on any risks to their health and safety
  • ensuring the competence of staff to undertake their role safely
  • monitoring health and safety compliance
  • reviewing your health and safety arrangements

The main piece of health and safety legislation in the UK is the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, this has at its heart a simple but enduring principle – those who create risks are best placed to control them. The system has stood the test of time and Great Britain has one of the best-combined health and safety records in the world. 

You will need to demonstrate effective H&S management for your event.

  • This is very much dependent on the type and complexity of the event. 
  • For a simple straightforward event a standard risk assessment that addresses the event-specific issues will be adequate. 
  • For a more complex event, in addition to the Risk Assessments, you may have to develop an Event Management Plan and have an overall Event Safety File. At the concept stage of the event, speak to Stagesafe who will be able to advise and guide you.

This legislation requires Duty Holders, those with responsibilities, to discharge those duties. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASAWA) lays down wide-ranging duties on employers. Employers must protect the 'health, safety and welfare' at work of all their employees, as well as others on their premises or other places of work, including temps, casual workers, the self-employed, clients, visitors and the general public. Broadly, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) enforces health and safety law in industrial workplaces and over 400 local authorities enforce in commercial workplaces such as places of licensed entertainment, sometimes these duties may cross.          

Stagesafe can help and assist you with all the required documents and Health and Safety Policy procedures, for those taking part in our Health and Safety Development Program or our packages for Health and Safety at Events, Festivals or on Tour, this is all included.

As well as carrying out risk assessments and controlling risks, some of the biggest and most important jobs we have to do within health and safety, there are also a large range of smaller jobs that are also important and need to be carried out, they all form part of your health and safety management systems, we require auditable management systems and so all the details must be recorded, if you can't measure it you can't manage it.

We need records as evidence of what you have done, they then can then form part of your "Get out of jail free" system. In our industry its not often easily possible to audit events, unless they are held on a regular basis, but the health and safety systems in place with supply companies and vendors can and should be audited on a regular basis to give an honest picture of the working health and safety arrangements and culture within your business or organisation. 

Many people say that health and safety is just common sense, but as Albert Einstein once said, 'Two things in the world are infinite, human stupidity and the universe, and I'm not sure about the universe'. 

We produce safety documentation for our clients to assist them to meet regulatory standards and aid health and safety audits and inspections, we do not provide documents simply so you can give them to your clients to help you obtain and secure work and contracts. We do not add branding to any documents other than H&S policies. theses documents must be implemented to be effective. They are of no use if they only see the light of day when they were requested by a Client, they must be provided to people on the ground, those who really needed to follow them to be safe. 

There is a saying that goes "it did not exist if it's not written down", so that's exactly why we keep records and have an audit trail, it's your proof, your evidence, and perhaps your "get out of jail free" card. 

NEWS: A firm has recently been prosecuted for health and safety breaches after an employee was injured, it was revealed in court that the firm had wonderful (but worthless) looking H&S Policies and risk assessments in place but these were proven to not be implemented. District Judge Taylor said, "You can have the most wonderful risk assessments and policies but if they are not monitored and reviewed then they are worthless". Stagesafe does not produce safety documentation for Clients so they can just use them to show to their prospective Clients to obtain work, this is not what they are intended for. 

Rigger in the Roof on Truss

Certain work activities have specific regulations to help ensure a minimum level of safety is in place. We keep abreast of the latest legislation to provide you with up to date advice and guidance that is relevant to your work. We are able to work with your business and assist in identifying the significant hazards and finding suitable solutions to control the risks to an acceptable level whilst still maintaining the creative and artistic aspects of your production or event. We adopt a sensible approach in helping you to manage risks thus helping you avoid the situation of being unnecessarily overcautious about everything you do.

Whilst we do not believe or consider that health and safety should be all about paperwork and ticking boxes nor do we support the idea of masses of paperwork but we have to admit that a certain amount of paperwork is legally required and essential. Much of the documentation required is to demonstrate what you are going to do or have done to improve safety, how you will do it, and how you can prove you have safe staff, places of work, work equipment, and safe systems of work in place. Much of this documentation is required by law, this will include details of training, instruction, information, testing, inspection and supervision, active monitoring, your H&S Policy and safe systems of work such as risk assessments, we can't avoid this documentation and anyone who says you can is being very economical with the truth. 

It is not enough to have a health and safety policy and expect everyone within the organisation to understand it and to work to that policy. People must receive suitable and sufficient training in the policy and then the effectiveness of the policy must be established.

Active Monitoring of Health & Safety is important for protecting employees and organisations and is part of health and safety management. It makes good business sense to be (pro)active. It makes good sense all around to ensure that the active monitoring is recorded and that the process is easy to demonstrate, this can protect your business. 

Health and Safety is not just about getting crew boots and hard hats or even testing the odd item of equipment, it is about putting in place a Management System based on Policy, legal requirements, and risk assessment, you must be able to monitor, assess, and audit this system to measure performance, rather like you would with a financial management system.

It is not possible to have a functional management system based on anything other than what we advocate, this must be through the whole business and not just certain areas such as on-site, it has to come from the top down, its a Boardroom responsibility and decision so anyone involved in putting in place must have the full support, cooperation, respect and assistance from management as well as access to certain information about the business.  

As an employer, you have a duty of care towards your employees to ensure that their health & safety at work is respected, managed and provided for. If you do not implement the appropriate policies and procedures, then the consequences can be severe. Stagesafe can help your business to ensure that you are compliant and adhere to all the necessary obligations, requirements and standards but to do this it must be totally embedded in what your business does, it's not a bolt-on extra.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, there are over 150,000 injuries in the workplace each year in the UK. If such an injury were to happen in your workplace, you could face serious consequences unless you have the correct health and safety policies and procedures in place.

In a way, Health and Safety Management is rather like insurance, you can ensure against Civil claims, against damage, loss or fire but you can't insure against carrying out a criminal act and Health and Safety law is criminal law so any breach can carry high penalties so the way to protect your self is by putting a Health and Safety Management system in place. Isn't it stupid to ensure against a remote risk but not insure against a very possible risk such as when as you are carrying out hazardous work operations?

Typical health and safety policy and procedures should include:

  • The risks present in your workplace: are you aware of the risks? Are you monitoring them and reducing them wherever possible? Are your staff informed and updated on potential hazards and risks in the workplace?
  • How you are managing any hazardous substances, equipment or machinery? Are your staff informed, educated, and trained in these areas?
  • The actions required to minimise these risks: are you doing the best you can to ensure all risks are managed and minimized?
  • Whose responsibility it is to ensure these actions are taken? What are your reporting lines and management structure when it comes to health & safety?
  • Who records and monitors incidents and tasks? Do you have clear monitoring systems in place?
  • What happens in case of emergencies? What happens if the worst happens?

Health and Safety Policy

Under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, for every organisation employing 5 or more people (including the Proprietors, Partners, Directors, and owners) there is a legal requirement to create a written Health and Safety Policy document which sets out how health and safety is managed within the business and bring this Policy to the attention of all employees. 

Of course, having the right health and safety policy and procedures is all very well on paper but what happens in real life is often a very different matter especially in high-pressure situations. Fortunately, clients can call Stagesafe for advice on anything from filling out a form to coping with the aftermath of a serious accident.

When developing your policies and procedures, it is essential to consult with all relevant stakeholders, including health and safety representatives, contractors (particularly those who work with you regularly), and of course your employees.

Consultation should ensure that every person in your workplace understands the importance of company policies and procedures and why they need to be implemented effectively.

It will also ensure that the policies and procedures are realistic and actionable on a daily basis.

Furthermore, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires every organisation employing 5 or more people to have in writing appropriate arrangements for planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of preventative and protective measures.

Your Policy needs to be in three parts:

  • The Health and Policy Statement
  • The Organisational Structure of the business in terms of Health and Safety
  • The Arrangements for Health and Safety

You need an organisational structure in place and arrangements to make sure what your policy says you will do in fact gets done, i.e. a management structure and system for occupational health and safety. 

One approach is to purchase a ready-made set of documents. We do not think this is a good solution and does not meet the intended spirit of the legislation, it seldom gets it exactly right and is often way off the mark.  

A far better approach uses our expertise in helping you develop a straightforward policy document and guide you in putting into to place a practical approach to dealing with health and safety, enhancing your business rather than it getting in the way. Tackling the legal requirements do not need to involve a large drain on the business's resources, and once a basic framework is in place you will start to see the benefits it can bring.

Competent Persons to Advise on Legal Requirements of Health and Safety Law

Regulation 7 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires employers to appoint 'one or more competent persons' to assist in meeting the legal requirements of safety law. These people do not have to be employees - the necessary help can be obtained through consultants but they must be 

It is important to bear in mind that the legal duty to safeguard the safety and health of workers lies with the employer and cannot be passed on to an outside consultant. 

The HSE defines a person as a competent safety advisor ... where he has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable him properly to assist in undertaking the measures". 

More complicated situations will require a competent person to have a higher level of knowledge and experience. More complex or highly technical situations will call for specific applied knowledge and skills which can be offered by appropriately qualified specialists. 

This will include an understanding of relevant statutory requirements and an appreciation of the hazards involved. The level of competence required will depend on the complexity of the situation and the particular help you need.

The person appointed does not have to be employed by the employer, they may be an independent contracted consultant but they do need to know all the factors arising from the employer‟s work that may affect health and safety. Those providing the advice/help must be given enough time and resources to fulfill their responsibilities. 

The terms Competent Person or Persons regularly occur throughout the Health and Safety at Work Act and the regulations under the Act, the term competent person is generally accepted as a person who has the required experience, knowledge, training, qualifications, and other qualities to undertake the required undertaking without risk to themselves others, who is willing to learn new ideas, knowledge and information and who knows their own limitations. Please bear this in mind when appointing staff and contractors who will need to be competent. 

A competent person to advise on health and safety is not someone who simply has the competence to carry out a particular task safely as for instance an employee or contractor. In general terms, the definition of a competent person is someone who has the necessary skills, experience and knowledge to manage health and safety in each particular situation. The essence of competence is relevant to the workplace so a consultant who has the experience and training is required

Risk Assessment

Risk Assessment is one of the main underpinning factors of health and safety, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 make it a legal requirement for employers and businesses of all sizes to make a suitable and sufficient assessment to the health and safety of employees and others that may be affected by their actions. The identification of hazards and an assessment of the likelihood of harm occurring and its consequences allows you to develop measures to reduce the risks posed by the type of work you intend to carry out.

Would Your Risk Assessments Stand Up In Court if an Accident Occurred? 

Time after time when accidents occur, the investigation will find that the company or organisation involved had failed to carry out the necessary risk assessments that could have prevented the incident. 

While most companies will certainly have some risk assessment measures in place, they often fail to assess all the potentially hazardous activities carried out on-site – or they fail to think about all the things that might go wrong.

The best way to ensure you have a robust set of risk assessments in place is to identify all hazards – both health- and safety-related, and then put sufficient precautions in place, STAGESAFE can help you with this task and Risk Assessments that are not implemented are of no use and do not protect anyone.

Riggers Practice Rescue at Height

Method Statements

Method Statements have no legal status and in many instances are not required or even possible to produce in advance but in certain situations, they are very useful.

We need to understand what is a Method Statement, it is simply a written Safe System of Work, its rather like following a recipe to make a meal, a set of manufactures instructions is, in fact, a Method Statement and will contain safety instructions. It is a step by step set of instructions on carrying out an operation. 

Unfortunately, what often happens is that contractors are often asked for Method Statements (together with Risk Assessments, Policy and Insurance documents) from a Client when the person charged with asking for them has no idea of what they are or what they are to be used for, the supplier is often told they have a legal duty to provide them to the Client. I have often had Clients call me saying they have been told they must provide a Method Statement in order to get a job. How can a supplier such as a local crew company provide a Method Statement when they don't know what they are doing until they arrive on-site? However, we would expect a staging company, for instance, to provide a Method Statement for erecting a stage. Horses for courses. 

Event or Tour Safety Management Plans

These are essential for all outdoor events, tours and some large indoor events, we produce combined Safety Management Plans and Health and Safety Policies for tours. The key to a good event is a strong event management plan. This should be a detailed, accurate and comprehensive document which sets out exactly what will happen at the event, the procedures in place to manage it safely, and what will be done to deal with expected or unexpected situations and emergencies. The latter is often provided separately as Contingency or Emergency Plans.

Safety Management Plans usually have a number of Appendixes to cover Crowd Management, Communications, Traffic Management (both on and off-site), Medical Plans, Fire Safety, Waste Management, Electrical Safety, Contractor documents, Risk Assessments, Site Plans etc. 

We help event organisers, identify the:

  • scale, type, and scope of the event or tour
  • type and size of the audience
  • location
  • duration of the event
  • the date and the time the tour or event will be held

These factors will help to determine what resources and facilities will be required.

Selecting, Assessing, Appointing and Managing Competent Contractors

We will help you select and appoint competent contractors, we will do this by helping you to consider their suitability and competence for providing a safe and reliable service by the following methods:

  • ensure they have sufficient skills and knowledge to do the job safely and without risks to health and safety
  • assess the risks of the work – the level of risk will depend on the nature of the job. Whatever the risk, we will need to consider the health and safety implications  
  • do a risk assessment – you and the contractor should be aware of its findings. You should already have a risk assessment for the work activities of your own business. The contractor must assess the risks for the contracted work and then both of you must get together to consider any risks from each other’s work that could affect the health and safety of the whole workforce or anyone else who may be affected by the work activities.
  • provide information, instruction, and training to your employees. You should also provide any information to contractors on the risks from your activities and the controls you have in place. It may also be beneficial to consider, with the contractor, what instruction and training contractors will need
  • set up liaison arrangements for co-operation and co-ordination with all those responsible to ensure the health and safety of everyone in the workplace
  • decide what you need to do to manage and supervise the work of contractors and agree on the nature of the controls before work starts

We require contractors to:

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of their work and the health and safety hazards involved
  • provide evidence of a trained workforce and the competence of key staff for the project
  • confirm that they have sufficient resource levels to do the work
  • provide evidence of previous successful work that shows they can adapt and develop safe systems of working
  • ensure that contractors have competent persons in place such as supervisors to monitor and manage the health, safety, and welfare of the contractors on site.

There is a lot more to it than just collecting contractors safety documents! 

Provide Instruction, Training, Supervision and Information

Training and instruction must be provided FREE to employees during normal working time. There is a wealth of Health and Safety legislation covering everything from food hygiene and fire safety awareness, through to manual handling training and operating display screen equipment. The one thing all such legislation has in common is the need to train. inform, supervise and instruct staff. You are free to choose the type of training you offer and can appoint an external training provider, or in some circumstances train employees yourself if you are competent to do so. 

Displayed Information

HSE Safety Law


There are two important items that by law all employers must display in a place where all staff can see them (such as a staff notice board), they are a copy of the Employers Liability Insurance Certificate and a current copy of the Health, Safety Law poster (as shown on the left).

You will require Public Liability Insurance and if you have any employees you must have Employers Liability Insurance. Any freelance crew must have their own Public Liability Insurance as they will not be covered by your Employers Liability Insurance as they are not your employees. 







The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations require an employer to provide a thermometer in places where staff work mainly sitting down such as an office. Staff must be able to check the temperature. The law does not state a minimum or maximum temperature, but the temperature in workrooms should normally be at least:

  • 16°C or
  • 13°C if much of the work involves rigorous physical effort

The workplace must have fresh clean air drawn from outside or a ventilation system.

Consult your Employees

You have an obligation to talk to and listen to your employees about Health and Safety. Your employees must be allowed to raise concerns and are often best placed to understand the risks. In small businesses, you can consult them directly. Alternatively, and in larger businesses, you should allow them to nominate a Health and Safety representative (as an employer you cannot decide who the representative will be). 

Work Equipment 

All tools, work equipment, vehicles, plant and machinery will need to be risk assessed, maintained in a safe working condition, checked and if required tested when required, records should be kept together with manufactures instructions that must be available to staff and operators. Staff may require training to use some equipment and tools. 

First Aid and Accident Reporting

You must have first-aid arrangements in your workplace, regardless of where you are working. 

You are responsible for making sure that your employees receive immediate attention if they are taken ill or are injured at work. Accidents and illness can happen at any time and first aid can save lives and prevent minor injuries from becoming major ones.

Your arrangements will depend on the particular circumstances in your workplace and you need to assess what your first-aid needs are. Stagesafe will carry out an assessment of first-aid needs.

As a minimum, you must have:

  • a suitably stocked first-aid box;
  • an appointed person to take charge of first-aid arrangements;
  • information for all employees giving details of first-aid arrangements.

You might decide that you need a first-aider. This is someone who has been trained by an approved organisation and holds a qualification in first aid at work or emergency first aid at work. 

Accident Books

You are legally required to keep an accident in which to record all accidents and near misses (near-hits). These may be obtained from HSE Books or Amazon etc. The pages may be removed to comply with data protection regulations and full details of who, what and how to make reports are given in the front of each book. We advise one book is provided with each first aid kit in the workplace. The First Aider should be in charge of the kits and books to ensure they are fully recorded. 

What is RIDDOR?

The Reporting of Incidents, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations

RIDDOR is the law that requires employers, and other people in control of work premises, to report and keep records of:

■ work-related accidents which cause death;

■ work-related accidents which cause certain serious injuries (reportable injuries);

■ diagnosed cases of certain industrial diseases; and

■ certain ‘dangerous occurrences’ (incidents with the potential to cause harm). There are also special requirements for gas incidents.

Reporting certain incidents is a legal requirement. The report informs the enforcing authorities (HSE, local authorities and the Office for Rail Regulation (ORR)) about deaths, injuries, occupational diseases and dangerous occurrences, so they can identify where and how risks arise, and whether they need to be investigated. This Health and Safety Executive Reporting accidents and incidents at work Page 2 of 5 allows the enforcing authorities to target their work and provide advice about how to avoid work-related deaths, injuries, ill health, and accidental loss.

What Must be Reported?

Work-related accidents For the purposes of RIDDOR, an accident is a separate, identifiable, unintended incident that causes physical injury. This specifically includes acts of non-consensual violence to people at work. Not all accidents need to be reported, a RIDDOR report is required only when:

■ the accident is work-related; and

■ it results in an injury of a type that is reportable. When deciding if the accident that led to the death or injury is work-related, the key issues to consider are whether the accident was related to:

■ the way the work was organised, carried out, or supervised;

■ any machinery, plant, substances, or equipment used for work; and

■ the condition of the site or premises where the accident happened.

If none of these factors is relevant to the incident, it is likely that a report will not be required. 

Welfare Facilities

You must provide basic welfare facilities for your staff regardless of where you are working that include toilets and hand wash basins with hot and cold water, soap and hand drying facilities, these must be clean and hygienic. It may also be necessary to provide lockers and changing facilities if the work requires special clothing, somewhere to rest and eat meals. Drinking water must also be available. 

The workplace must be clean with adequate waste containers.

There must be lighting suitable for the work to be carried out, enough space and suitable workstations and seating.

Electrical Safety

Your electrical power supply must be tested and safe, these inspections must be carried out by a registered electrician at least every five years and a certificate issued.  

Fire Safety and Emergencies

Your work premises or venue must meet the fire safety standards as set in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, you will need a current fire risk assessment and all the necessary safety controls fully implemented. 


The CDM (Construction Design Management Regulations), which now apply to our industry, states that all staff must be all inducted upon arrival at a new worksite or place of work. An induction is NOT a training session but simply orientation on what to do in an emergency, the location of first aiders, fire fighting equipment, emergency routes, exits, and assembly points, welfare facilities, site rules, etc.

All new staff should be given an induction upon arrival on their first day at work and staff working on tour or on-site will require an induction at each venue. As well as part of CDM it is also a good practice.


Contact us now to see how we help you develop an efficient and effective approach to safety that is relevant to your business and the way it functions. Call 07831 437062 or click here.


We have produced an Initial Health and Safety Health Check that we suggest you carry out yourself. If you can honestly meet all the requirements of this little check you are well on the way to good health and safety management. The check is available by clicking below.