Stagesafe Safety News and Blog Part 2
My apologies for the lack of new information etc. on this page, my excuse is very tardy but I have undergone major surgery to remove my bladder and a few other bits following the return of cancer but I am pleased to say I am fit and well again now.
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.
QUALIFICATIONS FOR ELECTRICIANS
The 18th Edition of The IET Wiring Regulations will be launched on 2 July 2018.
This update, also known as BS 7671:2018, provides an opportunity for all electricians to get fully up to date with the latest industry standards via the City & Guilds 2382: 18th Edition qualification (IEE Wiring Regulations, BS7671).
BS7909: 2011 – THE CODE OF PRACTICE FOR TEMPORARY ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES.
BS7909 is used in a huge range of events beyond the scope of the IET Regulations. The Standard outlines the necessary management arrangements and the required range of electrical supplies, heavy-duty flexible cables and portable distribution units needed. The systems used range from very simple to highly complex and the Standard gives recommendations for all temporary electrical systems.
NAPIT CITY AND GUILDS ACCREDITED TRAINING PROGRAM PROGRAM IN TEMPORARY POWER SYSTEMS.
This course has been developed on behalf of Skillset by James Eade to assesses the competence of those wanting to (or who already are) currently acting in the Senior Person Responsible (SPR) role for BS7909.
Delegates will get the certificate awarded if they pass the assessment. For more information on the requirements and origin of the course, dates and venues, visit the subsite www.skillset.eade.uk.com
The course consists of 10 modules and assessments are carried out at the end of each module to ascertain the candidates understanding of the content. Candidates also undergo a final more general practical assessment to help assess their competence.
There are no entry requirements although you must be conversant with basic electrical theory and the Wiring Regulations. Candidates would be expected to hold an electrical NVQ level 3 or City and Guilds City & Guilds 2382: 18th Edition qualification (IEE Wiring Regulations, BS7671) or have equivalent knowledge gained through other means such as private study.
1.Understanding health and safety requirements in the electrical environment. Gain an appreciation of the application of Standards, regulations and the law.
2.Understanding different earthing arrangements, sources of supply and earthing practices.
3.Understanding cable losses, specification and power quality.
4.Understanding protection methods including RCDs, electrical separation and automatic disconnection
5.Equipment testing and certification
6.Temporary electrical system testing and certification
7.Management of temporary electrical distributions and management structure
8.Requirements for systems in agricultural, water-based and similar environments
9.Power supply arrangements in mobile and transportable units1
CDM - AGAIN
It is clear that there is still an issue with many promoters, venues, production companies and artists not understanding or implementing their CDM responsibilities across all forms of entertainment. The Exhibition industry has the greatest take up with Corporate Events and Touring Music being the least engaged from the comments noted.
ACOUSTIC SHOCK – MUSICIANS & NOISE ASSESSMENT
The compensation claim that went to the courts recently in which a musician is suing the Royal Opera House for alleged Acoustic Shock must focus our attention on our full and complete compliance with the Control of Noise at Work Regulations, detailed and regular examination and assessment of noise exposure must be maintained and recorded, importantly ensuring that no casual exposure during rehearsals can be claimed as poorly managed is also important.
The concern over the Judges remarks that an acoustic shock could cause harm at a level as low as 82dB(A) is significant as the requirement to enforce the wearing of appropriate hearing protection commences at 85dB(A) [twice that figure].
Acoustic Shock is also called Call Centre Ear where persons working in call centres suffer the wrath of frustrated call recipients who blow a whistle or use an air-horn back at the call maker – the resulting damage can be hyperacusis – instant deafness and a shutdown of the auditory nerve(s) or acoustic shock which makes the ear hyper-sensitive to all noise where for example passing vehicles sound like a chainsaw running full tilt next to your head.
Whilst music noise was compared to a noisy factory the reality of all noise causing harm is very real and regardless of the pleasure we seek and receive from music must be treated as causing harm.
The matter is on the HSE Joint Advisory Committee for Entertainment (JACE) agenda, the HSE has encouraged all of us to consider being more detailed in our assessments, audiometric record keeping, management of rehearsal limits and protection and the keeping of complete health surveillance records.
It was identified that Clients will now seek to avoid the intrusive assessment process and favour pre-recorded music over the use of live music thereby potentially harming the job prospects for musicians in events and general entertainment.
MARQUEE FIRE SAFETY
The safety of marquee side panels, rigid panels and roof sheets and sections has been questioned. Data on testing does not seem legitimate in all cases and testing certification is often a lot older than the products brought to the site.
HEALTH AND SAFETY MANAGEMENT IN THE LIVE MUSIC AND EVENTS INDUSTRY (THIRD EDITION) ISBN: 9781904031918
After what seems like years of waiting I am very pleased to say the latest edition of my book is now available, this is what the publishers have to say about it:
Chris Hannam’s major work on Health and Safety Management in the live music and events sector has been substantially expanded and totally revised for this third edition. Its 52 chapters cover all aspects of staging live entertainment events and the author’s treatment is highly detailed, running to well over 1000 pages.
The author draws on long personal experience in the industry and his approach is specific to the hazards that events create, for instance, whether its manual handling or mechanical lifting or electrical safety or many other relevant topics, he provides answers on how to manage projects in the area of public performance.
There are comprehensive chapters on all of the legal frameworks for machinery, fire safety, work equipment, employers liability, PPE, working at height, special effects, temporary structures, COSHH, traffic management, working time regulations and many more. Health & Safety at Work magazine states: “This is an outstanding piece of work: an awful lot of book for the price, and an essential reference for anyone working in the events/entertainment sector”.
Order your copy direct from the publishers at www.etbooks.co.uk
A review from Health and Safety at Wowk magazine.
Recently I had to arbitrate in a dispute between two users of a local community building. One complained that equipment installed by the other (a theatre group) was unsafe both electrically and structurally. I went to my library for help, but have to say that none of the books I found was as good as this one by Chris Hannam. How I wish I had discovered it sooner! It would have given me shortcuts to the solution and also made me more confident that the advice I gave was well-founded.
Here, Hannam provides a complete overview of the health and safety issues that may arise in live music and similar events. When you think of a major event such as a Glastonbury, Reading or Leeds festival, with all that they involve in terms of providing (hopefully safe) amenities for thousands of people, with temporary structures put up by a whole spectrum of providers – while also having to manage noise, electrical safety, lifting, lighting, crowd control, emergency procedures, security, lasers, pyrotechnics… You quickly get some idea of the potential safety headaches.
The book, now in its third edition, contains many of the topics you would find in a general health and safety management textbook, but there is so much more besides. For a start, the treatment is very detailed: Hannam really does get down into the fine detail and does not (as some other authors do) gloss over specifics with sweeping injunctions to take “appropriate” precautions (whatever they are). Then there is the greatest strength of the book: whatever Hannam is talking about (and he writes in a very conversational style) he makes it specific to the hazards that events create. So whether he is covering mechanical lifting, temporary structures, electrical safety, manual handling or another of the host of relevant topics, he is always direct about how best to manage that issue in the context of a public event. To do so, he draws on vast personal experience, and he does not hesitate to feature case study examples of where health and safety have not been properly managed – and what the consequences were. His scope is not limited to health and safety: he also covers wider topics such as licensing law, basic food safety and waste/environmental issues.
Overall, though, this is an outstanding piece of work: an awful lot of book for the price and an essential reference for anyone working in the events/entertainment sector.
Three MPs have called on the government to consider a temporary ban on the use of inflatable play equipment in public areas until its safety can be guaranteed.
The call follows the death on 1 July of Ava-May Littleboy, aged three.
She was thrown 6m into the air after an inflatable trampoline erected on the beach at Gorleston-on-Sea, near Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, exploded “with a loud bang”, according to eyewitnesses.
The girl received CPR at the scene and was later taken to a hospital, but died shortly afterwards.
Robert Halfon, the constituency MP for Harlow, Essex, where Summer Grant died in after an inadequately secured inflatable was blown away in high winds in March 2016, made the call on social media on 1 July. He was later backed by Labour MP for Bristol West Thangam Debbonaire, and Conservative MP for Winchester Steve Brine,
Halfon said: “After two horrific tragedies, the government needs to look at an update of regulations and inspection regime and consider a temporary ban on bouncy castles in public areas until we can be sure that they are safe.”
Halfon subsequently requested an emergency debate on the issue in the House of Commons on 2 July, but his request was denied.
Norfolk Constabulary, the HSE and Great Yarmouth Borough Council have launched an investigation into the Gorleston incident.
According to a report, the “inflatable trampoline” implicated in the accident was part of a semi-permanent “Bounce About” area on the beach that had been operating every summer for around a decade.
Various press reports cited hot weather and the inflatable overheating as the cause of the accident, but The Telegraph reported that the temperature at the time of the accident, around 11 am, was 19 degrees Celsius.
It has also been suggested that an internal structural failure could have caused air chambers in the inflatable to collapse.
Operators and hirers of inflatables are subject to the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998, which require them to be inspected regularly by a competent person to ensure they remain safe for use.
Inspection and certification can be undertaken by a number of approved bodies, including the Amusement Device Inspection Procedures Scheme (ADIPS) which is managed by the Amusement Device Safety Council (ADSC).
An alternative inspection scheme is offered by the Pertexa Inflatable Play Accreditation (PIPA), which runs a database of tested inflatable play equipment. According to the BBC, Bounce About is registered with PIPA.
In a joint statement issued by PIPA and the Register of Play Inspectors International (RPII), PIPA said that both bodies were “saddened by the tragic death of a girl on 1 July at Gorleston beach in Norfolk”.
“It would be inappropriate to comment until the facts of this tragic incident are known but the RPII and PIPA offer their full support to the HSE, police and other authorities in their investigations,” the statement said.
It added that there are 23 million users of inflatable play equipment in the UK each year.
HSE guidance on the safe practice in fairgrounds and amusement parks is contained in HSG175.
Responding to a query, ADSC chairman Robert Kluth said: “The HSE consider that any ride operator following HSG175 and has their device inspected under ADIPS will normally be doing enough to comply with the law.
“ADIPS system is not compulsory and operators of amusement devices are free to take other action but they need to be prepared to show what they did was equally effective.”
Following the conviction of owners of the Harlow inflatable for manslaughter by gross negligence, the HSE said that it was considering commissioning research that could lead to changes to BS EN 14960, the standard for inflatable play equipment and testing methods.
Also under consideration is new guidance to amplify Section 6 of the Health and Safety at Work Act, which applies to “any person who designs, manufactures, imports or supplies any article for use at work or any article of fairground equipment”.
The HSE said that it was “actively engaging with industry stakeholders, including representatives of both operators and inspection bodies, and will provide suitable and sufficient information reminding them of their legal obligations in relation to the operation and inspection of inflatable devices.”
A TIME TO ACT, A TIME TO CHANGE
Recently a company was prosecuted for a breach of health and safety regulations following an accident, an accident investigation by the Health and Safety Executive revealed the company in question had a health and safety policy and generic risk assessments but none of these documents had been correctly implemented.
The Judge, in this case, said the documents were good examples of what was required but were in fact quite worthless works of fantasy as neither the policy nor the control measures listed in the risk assessments had been put into practice and therefore did nothing to aid the reduction of risk as the law requires. The fine they received was very substantial indeed because of this.
It must be remembered that a band or artist is an employer and a business and so has all the responsibilities of an employer in the same way as any other employer and will need all the necessary safety management systems in place , don’t forget to include the freelancers within this and that contractors safety documents alone are insufficient.
I get to see this kind of situation on an alarmingly regular basis within the live music and events industry, I even get asked to write documents by organisations, companies and artists who do not require any help with implementation or establishing basic health and safety management systems as they have no intention of attempting to be legally compliant, they just want a set of good-looking safety documents complete with corporate logos etc. that can be brought out, dusted off and given to any potential client or venue who may ask for them, usually this is part of their attempt to secure work and is what many vendors mean when they tell you all their health and safety requirements are complete. This is not what these documents are designed for.
For those readers who may not be aware, the aim of the risk assessment process is to evaluate hazards, then remove that hazard or minimize the level of its risk by adding control measures, as necessary. By doing so, you have created a safer and healthier workplace. The purpose of the health and safety policy is to express the employer’s commitment to health and safety. It must include a statement regarding the responsibilities of the employer, supervisors and other workers. A policy states clearly what the employer intends to do about commitment and support for health and safety in the workplace. Most businesses set out their policy in three sections: The statement of general policy on health and safety at work sets out your commitment to managing health and safety effectively, and what you want to achieve. The responsibility section sets out who is responsible for specific actions. The third section sets out the arrangements for health and safety within the organisation.
Both of these documents are legally required and must be fully implemented to be effective and gain the required result of being part of an effective safety management system. It’s no good putting it on paper if you don’t put it into practice. Compliance and risk management go hand in hand together.
We find the people who really need to have copies of risk assessments very rarely see them, they are the workers, those who do the work, and they need to know what safety control measures are required to make the job as safe as possible before they start work. How can they without the risk assessment to advise them?
All workers are entitled to work in environments where risks to their health and safety are properly controlled. Under health and safety law, the primary responsibility for this is down to employers. Your Health and Safety Policy shows your workers what you are doing to achieve this, how you are doing it and what they are expected to do. How can they be part of the process if they don't know your policy?
These documents, when used correctly can help demonstrate what you have done to be compliant, reduce risk and improve safety, a kind of "get out of jail free card". Its what potential clients really should be looking for when they assess your safety competence.
Employers have a duty to consult with their employees, or their representatives, on health and safety matters. Consultation must be either direct or through a safety representative that is either elected by the workforce or appointed by a trade union if one exists.
It is an employer's duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees and other people who might be affected by their business. Employers must do whatever is reasonably practicable to achieve this.
This means making sure those workers and others are protected from anything that may cause harm, effectively controlling any risks to injury or health that could arise in the workplace.
Employers have duties under health and safety law to assess risks in the workplace. Risk assessments should be carried out that address all risks that might cause harm in your workplace.
Employers must give employees information about the risks in your workplace and how they can be protected, they must also instruct and train their workers on how to deal with the risks.
I never cease to be amazed at the paperwork some companies or organisations produce but I then find something completely different is actually happening in the workplace and that the employer has not made any one of their workforce responsible for or even knows how safety should be all fully implemented in practice on site. A lack of training of both staff and supervisors is usually and obviously lacking.
The problem goes back to the procurement stage as employers, promoters, event managers and production managers rarely bother to have a procurement system in place to properly assess contractors (including freelancers) for health and safety competence, OK so they may ask for insurance details and copies of RAMS (Risk Assessments and Method Statements) but seldom is a Policy asked for and once received these documents are just filed away and not properly assessed or even read. As already mentioned, many companies just have these documents to send out to potential clients, they depend on them not being scrutinised by clients or for any further questions to be asked. Both I and most other safety consultants see the same old documents with just a name or date change being regurgitated for dozens of different events, nothing site, tour or event specific is included. Be very wary about any business that becomes defensive when asked about their safety management systems as full cooperation is required.
Usually, the person (often an office junior or production assistant) requesting these documents will not know why they are required and if asked they will reply with “we have to have them” or “it’s the law”. Wrong answers.
So, from the outset, within the live music and events industry contractors are normally not being managed as the law requires. On an event site or in a venue a “competent person” for health and safety should be appointed to monitor contractors and all aspects of safety, this includes touring productions.
There is also a legal requirement under Regulation 7 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 for companies (employers) to appoint “competent persons” to advise them on health and safety, it also amazes me how this is often overlooked, case history has rejected a person holding a NEBOSH General Certificate as a “Competent Safety Advisor” in favour of a higher level qualification so be warned when selecting your “competent” safety advisor.
By law, staff must have, training, instruction, information and supervision. History still shows contractors and crew are still often selected because they are known to the Tour or Production Manager and not because they are health and safety competent and have been assessed or can prove their safety competence. Training is important and effective, as it will educate your employees on proper workplace procedures, practices, and behaviour to prevent possible injuries and illness.
Use health and safety documents for their intended purpose and not just to give copies to potential employers or clients.
Failing to comply with these or other health safety regulations can invalidate any insurance you may hold making health and safety management one of the best insurance packages you can invest in when used correctly.
Currently, touring music productions often have the poorest levels of health and safety management, if any.
Perhaps one of the hardest roles we have as safety advisors in the live music industry is trying to persuade employers /clients of the benefits of health and safety. there are several reasons for this, a great many still view the production industry as like running away to join the circus, not a "proper job", and the fact the industry is in fact made up of many varied industries of small businesses with only a few employees, freelancers making up the majority of the workforce but regardless, its a fact that a safe and healthy workplace not only protects workers from injury and illness, it can also lower injury/illness costs, reduce absenteeism and staff turnover, increase productivity and quality, and raise employee morel as well as saving your hard-earned reputation, potential legal costs and fines, costs for loss or damage to equipment etc. In other words, safety is good for business, and if you think safety is expensive, try having an accident! A simple cost/benefit analysis will show incredibly positive results.
Do you recognise any of these bad traits in your business or organisation? It’s time to act now and change.
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
I am sure all those of us who work in the events industry all know what an event is? Or do we?
The common dictionary definitions of an event are:
An occurrence happening at a determinable time and place, with or without the participation of human agents. It may be a part of a chain of occurrences as an effect of a preceding occurrence and as the cause of a succeeding occurrence. ... In project management, an event marks the point in time when a task is completed.
An occurrence, happening, proceeding, episode, incident, affair, circumstance, occasion, business, matter, experience, eventuality, phenomenon; function, gathering, get-together, jamboree; bash, do, jolly, shindig, shindy, party, festival, competition, contest, tournament, round, heat, game, match, fixture, meet, meeting, encounter; race, bout, fight; play-off, replay, rematch; clash; play down; split; informal mill; journey.
The conference, meetings and exhibition industry has now adopted the name “events industry” and are attempting to make it their own exclusive title, even their trade associations have the titles of Association of Event Organisers Ltd and the Association of Event Venues, these bodies are solely for conferences, exhibitions and meetings venues, suppliers and organisers so it’s become quite a challenge to assess if they are precisely what you are looking for.
I am personally disturbed by this and do not think they should have such a monopoly over a generic term that covers events of all types.
Its now become so problematic that some the various trade shows and trade publications do not really know who their audience is and try to be all things to all men, the Event Production Show and the Festival and Outdoor Event Show are two prime examples of exhibition organisers trying to mix the various types of event together to build a larger audience, the end result is that nobody is really satisfied.
So lets now be absolutely clear what type of event we are talking about and agree the conference, meetings and exhibition industry is NOT the events industry, that is a generic term for the whole of the events industry and not just the conference, meetings and exhibition industry!
We now move onto the safety, security and crowd management sectors, perhaps the biggest confusion here is with the term “Safety Officer”. Now, this is a term that I am sure many of us will recognise and remember from our industrial past and has been around for perhaps longer than we have had an events industry, it was certainly around in the 1960s. It was applied generally to both health and safety advisors and HSE and Local Authority enforcement officers, health and safety advisors in those days were often ex-police or ex-military types who still loved to be called Officers. Today I prefer to use this term for HSE and Local Authority enforcement officers.
The problem has arisen because the Sports Grounds Safety Authority has coined the name Safety Officer for those responsible under the Safety at Sports Grounds Act for safety at sports stadiums, the qualification for these persons is the NVQ Level 4 in Spectator Safety, a qualification that is nowhere near a full health and safety qualification or a crowd safety qualification, there are indeed elements of both within the syllabus but I would describe it more as a customer care qualification.
My Christmas wish is that the Safety at Sports Ground Authority would drop the term Safety Officer and find a more suitable, alternative name. I don’t particularly like the term “safety officer” but event safety advisors, managers or consultants (as we generally prefer to be known as) were traditionally known as safety officers and some people will still refer to us by that term so why confuse us with those who are not?
The difference in wages between event stewards and event security is now very little indeed, the standards for steward training have risen but the wages for SIA Door Staff working as event security has dropped to almost that of a trained steward, not a great incentive to become SIA Licensed Security operative.
Both stewards and security staff can be trained to and can fulfil basic crowd management roles but the person who draws up the crowd management plan (not to be confused with the staff roster and positioning list) and directs the crowd management operation must be very competent, qualified and experienced in this all-important role. He or she is known as the Crowd Manager or Crowd Safety Manager.
Finally, there is the Security Manager, he or she will be in control of the Security or Steward Supervisors who in turn supervise groups or stewards or security staff.
So there we have it, it's not rocket science but it often takes an age for some people to understand what you are talking about and in an emergency situation when all hell has been let loose you don’t have time for explanations.
Sports ground safety officers are not really safety officers and “events” are far more than just meetings, conferences and exhibitions. Please all use the correct terminology at your events, I am sure that my colleagues in the UKCMA will support this view and I hope you will.
IS THE OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND AND SAFETY CONSULTANTS REGISTER (OHSCR) FIT FOR PURPOSE?
An issue for event safety practitioners.
This has been bugging me for some time now and I understand a lot of my fellow event safety practitioners in the live music and event industry feel the same way.
The OSHCR website states the following:
OSHCR was established in response to the Government’s Common Sense, Common Safety report, which recommended that all Health and Safety consultants should be accredited to a professional body and that a register of certified professionals is established in the form of a web-based directory. The register aims to assist businesses in finding advice on general health and safety management.
A network of professional bodies and stakeholders worked together in partnership to develop this register, which has established a benchmark standard for safety consultants and helped to raise the quality of advice being given to businesses.
This minimum standard has been set at a degree level qualification, with at least two years’ experience and active engagement in a continuing professional development scheme.
Businesses can have confidence in choosing a health and safety consultant from the register, as they are bound by their professional body’s code of conduct and are committed to providing sensible and proportionate health and safety advice.
You can search for a consultant by location, industry or topic, to enable you to find someone who will provide specific, tailored advice, relevant to your business needs.
On their website event and entertainment section, the HSE advise people looking a safety advisor or consultant for their event, festival or business to select one from the OHSCR. The register lists all the specialist areas of expertise for consultants and advisors who have bothered to register.
The approving bodies for OSHCR are:
· IOSH Institution of Occupational Safety and Health
· IIRSM International Institute of Risk and Safety Management
· BOHS Chartered Society for Worker Health Protection
· British Psychological Society
· CIEH Chartered Institute of Environmental Health
· CIEHF Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors
The above bodies administrate the scheme as the OSHCR Ltd, a not for profit company, the scheme was first started by the HSE who no longer administrate it.
The partners in the scheme are:
· HSE Health and Safety Executive
· HSENI Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland
· NEBOSH National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health
· British Safety Council
· BSIF British Safety Industry Federation
· RoSPA Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
There are some 1480 consultants listed on the register and the annual fee to register is currently £80 per year, that’s an income of £118400 per year just to run and administrate a scheme for a "not for profit" organisation!
To register not only do you have to pay the annual fee but you also have to submit your certificates of membership at the requisite level for your professional body and a copy of your insurance to the OHSCR for approval.
So far this all sounds good, so, for example, a Chartered Member of IOSH or a Fellow of IIRSM who has their own insurance would be eligible to join provided they agreed to their professional bodies Code of Conduct. It is only open to individuals who meet the required standards and not companies, organisations or groups. It's strange that the OSHCR web site and the HSE website both state that the OSHCR "has established a benchmark standard for safety consultants and helped to raise the quality of advice being given to businesses".
This means that only qualified, experienced and insured consultants are on the register and the rest are kept securely out. It has been designed to keep out all the so-called safety advisors who are not qualified, inexperienced and uninsured, in other words, incompetent.
Now isn’t just what we want? So £80 a year just to be listed on a register sounds a bit steep but other than that it’s fine, or is it?
If a benchmark standard has been established by the OSHCR then why do the HSE always refer to "competent persons" in standards and regulations rather than OSHER Registered persons? Are persons who are not OHSCR registered persons competent or not?
Of the consultants I know and that are listed on the register none of them has ever been selected for a job from being on the register. IOSH has a whole page in their forums dedicated to the OSHCR and the majority of posts complain about the fact they get no work from being registered on the OSHCR and that it has no weight to actually rid us or do anything about the unqualified, inexperienced and uninsured incompetents.
So who assesses the consultants on the register to ensure they have the specialist areas of expertise they claim to have? Answer: Nobody.
Is it ridding us of incompetent event safety advisors? Answer: No, more so-called event safety advisors that are incompetent keep appearing to the extent there is now not enough work to go round.
I am a member of two professional bodies at a sufficiently high enough level to enable me to join the register but I refuse. It does not bring me any work and its too high a price to pay for nothing in my opinion.
On a personal basis, I think IOSH should allow Graduate Members to be on the register, they have the qualifications, after all, being a Chartered Member is not a higher qualification only a higher status. Some say being Chartered has only snobbery value or likened to being a member of an old boys club.
But my main concern is that people on the register can claim to be something they are not, now that’s dangerous in my opinion and not what we are about as safety practitioners, is it? For example, I could claim on the OHSCR I was a specialist in atomic weapon safety when in fact I don’t have a clue about atomic weapon safety. Its also about setting or raising industry standards and it OSHCR fails miserably at that.
This now brings us back to the question of what is an Event Safety Advisor? What specialist training do they need over and above the normal NEBOSH (or equivalent) qualifications to be classed as a competent Event Safety Advisor? The term Event Safety Advisor has in fact now morphed itself into covering many types of event all with areas requiring special attention some of which may overlap with other types of event, from simple like meetings and conferences to complex like tours and festivals, however, I will not include crowd safety and management within this as that is an entirely separate (and very important) subject not to be confused (as it often is) with event health and safety.
So should anything be done about this and if so what? Does anyone have any ideas?
Bouncy castles and other play inflatables: safety advice
Serious incidents have occurred where inflatables have collapsed or blown away in windy conditions.
These simple precautions can help you avoid serious incidents, whether you supply or buy bouncy castles and inflatables, are hiring one for an event, or operate them.
Health and safety law applies to the supply, hire and use of inflatables for commercial purposes. It does not apply to private, domestic buyers and users.
This guidance applies to inflatables devices used both outside and inside.
Before you buy or hire
If you’re buying or hiring an inflatable for private or public use you should make sure it has either a numbered PIPA tag or an ADiPs declaration of compliance (DoC).
It should also have:
- written documentation from a competent inspection body to show it complies with British Standard BS EN 14960
- instructions on how to operate it safely
Tag or declaration of compliance (DoC)
HSE supports two industry inspection schemes for inflatables run by PIPA and ADiPs.
You can use their websites to check safety tests have been carried out and to find out what to do if the equipment has no PIPA tag or ADiPs DoC (you may be risking people’s safety if the inflatable doesn’t have one of these).
Setting up safely
When setting up, carry out the following safety checks in line with the inflatable’s operator manual:
- No inflatable should be used in winds above 24 mph (38 km), which is Force 5 on the Beaufort Scale (small trees in leaf begin to sway)
- Certain inflatables may have a lower maximum wind speed for operation. Always check the manufacturer’s operating manual to confirm the maximum wind speed for the safe operation of the inflatable
- When the inflatable is being operated outside, use an anemometer to measure the wind speed at regular intervals. If one of these is not available, the inflatable should not be operated outside
- Do not use smartphone weather applications to measure wind speed as they do not take localised wind conditions into account
- When using the inflatable outside, all the anchor points must be used, with metal ground stakes at least 380 mm long and 16 mm wide, with a rounded top. They should have a welded metal 'O' or 'D' ring fitted to the end
- All inflatables must have at least 6 anchor points. The operator manual will tell you how many there should be, and you should check to ensure they are all still in place and have not been removed
- The ropes used to secure the inflatable should be in good condition and not stretched, frayed or rotten. Never use improvised tow ropes, eg bungee cord
- If ground stakes cannot be used because of the surface (eg tarmac) then use ballast weighing at least 163 kg with suitable fixings to attach the guy ropes. The inflatable should be tightly secured to the ground so that the wind cannot get under it and lift it up
- If an inflatable is being used indoors, refer to the operator’s manual which will provide instruction on what anchorage is necessary to maintain the shape of the device and prevent overturn
- All other associated equipment must be safe, including the blower
Before anyone uses it
Have a good look at the inflatable when it is blown up and before use. You should check:
- the correct blower is being used (the blower specification, including output, will be given in the operating manual)
- there are no obvious signs of over-tension or sagging of the structure. Also check if the anchor points have been pulled out during inflation
- the connection tube and blower are firmly attached to each other
- impact-absorbing mats are in position
- there are no holes or rips in the fabric or seams
- it looks symmetrical – if it looks misshapen or deformed there could be internal problems that make bouncing unpredictable and it should therefore not be used
Safe use, supervision and monitoring
There should be constant supervision by at least one suitably trained person.
Operating instructions must be supplied and should include the following:
- Restrict the number of users on the inflatable at the same time to the limit in the operator manual or on the unit label. Don’t exceed the user height limit and keep bigger users separated from smaller ones
- Make sure users can get on and off safely, with safety matting at the entrance that is no more than 2 inches deep
- People should not wear shoes or glasses and should empty their pockets of all sharp or dangerous items
- Anyone obviously intoxicated should not be allowed on
- Don’t allow users to climb or hang on the walls
- Regularly check that anchor points are still secure
- When operating the inflatable outside, use an anemometer to measure wind conditions at regular intervals, and visually check for changes in wind direction (such as looking at how the trees are swaying). Make sure you take readings in the direction of the wind.
Tests and inspections
As an owner or the person making it available for use, you are responsible for making sure the following tests are carried out.
A new inflatable should have an ‘initial test’ to confirm it complies with BS EN 14960.
Make sure an annual inspection is carried out by a competent person. They should identify the inflatable and blower by their serial numbers and look at any previous inspection reports and certificates. They should also inspect any part of the inflatable and its equipment that may affect its safe operation.
Training, Safety, Qualifications and Competence.
I am sure some readers will remember the old times in our industry before health and safety became prominent in the mid-nineties when it started, some ignored it, some said it did not apply and others did their best to disrupt it and prevent safety and training becoming the norm.
At that time many employers did not understand their responsibilities fully, they understood that they were not competent experts at everything their businesses did, but some did not understand or accept they had to appoint, train or ensure staff were trained and provided with such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of their employees as required by Section 2 of The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, in other words, their staff were competent.
Employers were also not generally aware of the requirement of Regulation 7 of The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 that states:
Every employer shall, subject to paragraphs (6) and (7), appoint one or more competent persons to assist him in undertaking the measures he needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed upon him by or under the relevant statutory provisions
(2) Where an employer appoints persons in accordance with paragraph (1), he shall make arrangements for ensuring adequate co-operation between them.
(3) The employer shall ensure that the number of persons appointed under paragraph (1), the time available for them to fulfil their functions and the means at their disposal are adequate having regard to the size of his undertaking, the risks to which his employees are exposed and the distribution of those risks throughout the undertaking.
(4) The employer shall ensure that—
(a)any person appointed by him in accordance with paragraph (1) who is not in his employment—
(i)is informed of the factors known by him to affect, or suspected by him of affecting, the health and safety of any other person who may be affected by the conduct of his undertaking, and
(ii)has access to the information referred to in regulation 10; and
(b)any person appointed by him in accordance with paragraph (1) is given such information about any person working in his undertaking who is;
(i)employed by him under a fixed-term contract of employment, or
(ii)employed in an employment business, as is necessary to enable that person properly to carry out the function specified in that paragraph.
In simple terms, this means employers have to appoint competent persons (safety advisor or consultant) to help them discharge their legal health and safety duties and comply with the law and that they are given the time and information to enable them to do the job.
The industry was considerably smaller back in the day, everyone knew everyone one else and it was standard practice within the live music and live events industry to appoint the companies you knew or your friends, qualifications did not matter, experience counted for everything and it was who you knew and not what you knew that was important. It seemed a lot more friendly and fun in those days, without all the current backstabbing and politics of today.
Things have changed since then, these regulations still apply but people are a little more aware of their existence but many do not fully understand who is really competent and there are still a number who insist they don’t need trained and qualified staff, that is mostly down to the fact that they don’t know there own responsibilities or the responsibilities of those of those they appoint to carry out certain (hazardous) tasks. They wrongly make decisions based on their idea or perception of the risks involved and without knowing the consequences.
A competent person to advise you on health and safety is someone who has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities that allow them to assist you properly. The level of competence required will depend on the complexity of the in the situation and the particular help you need so a simple conference or exhibition may only require a safety advisor who holds a Level 3 qualification such as a NEBOSH General Certificate (Tech IOSH) or equivalent qualification but a festival or major touring production will require a NEBOSH Diploma, a Level 5 qualification (Grad IOSH, or CMIOSH). (NEBOSH offer two different levels of qualification, it is incorrect to say “so and so holds a NEBOSH” without stating Certificate or Diploma) and there are several equivalents. There are now increasing numbers of so-called event safety advisors who are inexperienced and under or unqualified that who unnecessary risks with the businesses of others.
A competent worker (as opposed to a safety advisor) is someone who has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities that allow them to carry out the work safely, a person who is able to recognize hazards associated with a particular task and has the ability to mitigate those hazards.
Qualifications and training alone don’t prevent accidents, it would be foolish to think they did, but they certainly help reduce them to a more acceptable level.
The HSE web sites say you should check for evidence of relevant training/knowledge such as formal qualifications and practical experience of providing advice in your industry/area of work when selecting competent safety consultants or safety advisors.
While there is no legal requirement to appoint qualified persons in many situations a qualification is expected to be able to help establish competency. If you were about to undergo brain surgery would you reasonably expect the surgeon to have not been to medical school and to have been qualified? Would you appoint a driver who had not passed a driving test and was unqualified? Or what about an unqualified gas or electrical engineer to work on your house?
Well, the answer is obvious, you would want a qualified person but promoters, event organisers and production managers still want to shave as much as possible off the cost of high-risk productions by using riggers, staff working at height, crowd managers and safety advisors and electricians with no or low-level qualifications and self-employed persons who do not carry their own Public Liability Insurance. The latest trend is, safety advisors who are willing to turn a blind eye to certain hazardous tasks and activities to make the job “go smooth” for the client and not ruffle any feathers, or sometimes its not even a conscious action, they simply don’t know any better. It's frightening to think what a good Barrister would do in Court if they thought your staff or contractors were incompetent or even worse your safety advisor was poorly qualified or inexperienced, they would soon discredit those staff, contractors or safety advisor and destroy any defence you may have had. It's frightening and very sad that we have this low-life who lack any respect or integrity, operating within our industry and bringing us into disrepute, I can't use the words I wish to use to describe them here. Be aware of such types, everything may be fine until things go wrong.
Health and safety regulations may not mention qualifications only competence but qualifications can and should be used as an established measure of competence, where they exist, the National Rigging Certificate (NRC) is an excellent example of a meaningful qualification introduced by the industry, for the industry.
As an employer, your organisation has duties under Section 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and CDM 2015 to ensure the safety of your employees and those that may be affected by your undertaking – this includes the activities of any contractor you either directly engage with, or allow to operate on premises you are responsible for.
You also have a duty of care, although the term ‘duty of care’ can seem a little alien at first, it can roughly be thought of as the responsibility of an individual to not harm others through carelessness or negligence, so you have a duty of care to appoint competent staff and contractors or ensure anyone working on your behalf, like a production manager, tour or site manager etc. is competent and clearly understands the requirement to assess, select and appoint competent contractors and staff following a strict (written?) procedure or system that if necessary, can be audited. If things go wrong this can be your defence evidence, to prove you had discharged your duty of care by appointing competent persons and contractors.
You are responsible for your staff and contractors you appoint, you cant simple appoint them and let them get on with it, you must assess them and carry out adequate contractor management.
For those who dislike paperwork, having clear and defined written procedures and supporting documents as evidence are often your only “get out of jail free” cards when things go wrong.
As we have mentioned, qualifications are also used to measure and assess competence, most vocational qualifications are based on National Occupational Standards (NOS), specify UK standards of performance that people are expected to achieve in their work, and the knowledge and skills they need to perform effectively. NOS, which are approved by UK government regulators, are available for many roles in our sector and more are being added continually by Creative and Cultural Skills, our industry's Sector Skills Council (SSC), which is responsible for determining the National Occupational Standards (NOS). Remember, NOS is simply a standard, they are not training or qualifications but they are used to map against training and qualification content and requirements to an agreed level, they are basically a list of things the worker or trainee must know.
We also have British and European Standards for equipment and products as well as those set by The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for quality and safety management systems, all of these can be used to assess the suitability and safety of equipment or potential suppliers and contractors.
Despite the fact that so much information is easily available many event promoters, event organisers and production managers etc are still driven price alone, some safety advisors offer to assess all vendors for their clients prior to their appointment only to be then sent a confirmed list of contractors for the project in question, others will not bother to even offer to assess vendors yet will include it in the price and some will just collect vendors health and safety documents and then simply put them of file without assessing them properly, often because they are inexperienced or poorly trained and do not know enough about the particular discipline skills, tasks and equipment to be able to assess the contractor correctly but in my opinion the worst are those advisors who are becoming more common and who turn a blind eye to some of the issues and problems they find and who don’t want their clients to be made aware of them as they should do, they do this to impress their client at how good they are at making the job run smooth! Some event organisers, production managers and promoters will seek out and use those who turn blind eyes or will sign off anything the client asks them to sign off without question.
So, to sum up, employers must appoint fully competent persons to help them with health and safety, they must ensure staff are given training (some of which is compulsory by law, such as fire safety and first aid training), information, instruction and supervision and they must appoint competent contractors who they then need to manage. Competency must be properly assessed and must not be just an assumed or guessed at personal opinion or view.