It’s 2017 and the world of events, like many industries, is very different to what it once was. Once upon a time we would sit down with our clients and focus primarily on the objectives, whether that be fundraising, brand awareness, product launch or guest experience. Now, whilst these are still at the forefront of a client’s mind, one element that simply cannot be swept aside is safety.
Sure, the topic of OH&S can be boring to some, and even appear a complete waste of resources to others – but we’re at a time where this one line in the budget, particularly for outdoor events, is here to stay. As an Event Manager, my knowledge around safety has increased out of necessity. Part of the “guest experience” is allowing them to freely enjoy the perks of the event that has been produced, without any concerns over what “could” happen.
I have recently managed some outdoor events at high-profile public spaces in Melbourne’s CBD, attended by some extremely well-known figures, and with that comes increased responsibility and safety measures.
It’s always amazing to have big names at your events, these are the stars that guests want to be close to, and media want their “money shots” of – there’s excitement and an amazing atmosphere when any high-profile figure mingles with the public. The safety/security implications, however, become escalated and it’s our job as Event Managers to ensure that sufficient resources and measures are in place so that the safety of guests, staff and talent are not compromised. What I’m saying is, and here’s the juggling act, it’s just as important not to lose sight of the event objectives – your client is paying you to help them achieve their goals.
So, what is an Event Manager to do?
- Gather all relevant event stakeholders in a room together to nut out any safety concerns;
- Familiarise yourself with current news/media – the “this won’t happen to us” mentality doesn’t cut it, and therefore it’s good to be across incidents that have occurred around the world and start thinking about contingencies;
- Come prepared with Site Plans, Run-Sheets and Risk Assessments/Emergency Management Plans – you’re about to be hit with every question you can possibly think of;
- Make sure everyone in the room gets a chance to a/ introduce themselves, b/ identify their role within the event and c/ contribute, everyone wants and deserves to be heard;
- Ensure that the event objectives and significance are highlighted and reiterated throughout – you’ve called this meeting and need to bring all discussions back to these vital points;
- Note all action items and highlight who is responsible for each – the reality is that most safety tasks will be carried out by Security, Safety Officers and yourself;
Whilst it’s important to embrace event safety/logistics, it’s just as important to have great support, don’t wear too many hats as you’ll lose the plot – which could be deemed a “risk” ha!