Heritage Insurance Business Panel Q&A: 4

In this week's Business Panel published in the Guernsey Press, Stuart Butler explores the need for undertaking a risk assessment and taking out public liability insurance when putting on outside events.

Question 4:

We’re thinking of hiring a bouncy castle for an event in the summer but given the tragic death of that little girl in Harlow, can we now do so safely?

Stuart Butler replies:

You are right to be cautious. As I’ve mentioned here previously, organisers of any events and particularly those with larger numbers attending can potentially leave themselves open to unlimited personal liability if they haven’t first taken the proper precautions.

Three golden rules for peace of mind are: have you adequate insurance for the specific event? Did you complete a proper risk assessment and does everyone attending and providing services also have appropriate insurance?

While this might sound like unnecessary bureaucracy, if you don’t take the proper precautions and something goes wrong, leading to the organisers being sued, you will have little or no defence.

In addition, if you use a venue like Sausmarez Park, the Environment Department will require you to undertake a risk assessment and Public Liability insurance in accordance with the terms of hire, so you can see this has to be taken seriously.

This duty of care also extends to identifying any hazard – something with potential to cause harm – that may be posed by other attractions that you may have on offer at your event. The consequences getting it wrong, as we saw at Harlow, can be extreme.

If in doubt, seek advice the HSE and/or a professional insurance broker would be well placed to guide event organisers through the increasingly onerous requirements for staging an event safely.

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