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Heritage Insurance Business Panel Q&A: 5

In his regular Guernsey Press column 'Business Panel', Stuart Butler, Client Relationship Director at Heritage Insurance, looks more closely at risk assessments, and identifies the potential hazards, legal requirements and need to mitigate risks when putting on public events.

Question 5:

You mentioned risk assessments here last week in connection with holding public events. How seriously do I need to take this advice?

Stuart Butler replies:

Any club, association, charity or business putting on an event, car boot sale, fete, show or sporting meeting needs to be fully aware of the risk provisions because if something does go wrong leading to legal action, you may well have little or no defence.

Hazards – that with the potential to cause harm – need to be taken into account and include slipping or falling, fire and evacuation, vehicles on site, the use of portable equipment like generators or bouncy castles, numbers of people attending and possible crowd pinch points.

In addition to identifying potential hazards, you need to list those who could be affected: stewards, employees, vendors, exhibitors and performers, those attending including children and the elderly or disabled.

Technically, risk is the likelihood of harm being caused by the hazard(s) you have identified and preparatory work ahead of the event should list existing controls and assess whether further precautions are required.

That will include information, instruction and/or training relevant to the event, compliance with legal requirements, applicable codes of conduct and British Standards and whether you have done enough to mitigate risks to acceptable levels.

It’s a formidable – but not exhaustive – list, which is why we recommend approaching a specialist broker who is qualified to help and reduce the workload.

Get it wrong, and organisers are potentially exposed to unlimited personal liability so, yes, managing risk is a serious matter for event organisers.

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