Health & Safety

Festival organisers might have heard reports of how poor planning and organisation  can lead to the failure of a Festival before it has begun. The HSE provides Guidance on running events safely on their website which should be a first port of call for anyone thinking of arranging an outdoor event – no matter what the event or its size. Plan for safety, deliver the plan and review it as required.

With summer music festivals fast approaching in Scotland and all over the UK; here are three things organisers should consider:

1. Staff training

Organisers can be liable for the negligence, or deliberate wrongdoing of any employees and volunteers working at the festival. For that reason anyone being engaged, in whatever capacity, to assist with the festival should be provided with sufficient training that shows them how to look after their own safety and the safety of those around them.

Others things to think about include  supervision levels necessary to manage safety risks,  guidelines for staff behaviour and necessary steps to safeguard vulnerable groups (including PVG checks as required).

2. Insurance

It may seem obvious, but insurance is key. Organisers should be careful to check just what the insurance does, and doesn’t cover. Key risks should be identified and the correct level of insurance cover for those risks should be secured. Organisers should also confirm whether or not there are any conditions attached to the policy that they must adhere to and take steps to ensure that those conditions are met.

For example, incident notification can be an important condition in some insurance policies.  Check what you are required to do. Implementing a robust incident reporting system should ensure you quickly collate incident details which will allow you to notify your insurer and enjoy the support of your insurance company should you need it.

3. Sub-contractors

In some circumstances, a contractor’s failure can lead to action being taken against you. Care should be taken to ensure the competency and financial security of any sub-contractors appointed. Also think about the need for indemnities. Indemnities should be backed by adequate insurance and the policies should be checked to confirm that they provide cover for the risks generated by the activity and that any conditions are being met.

Being prepared should go some way to minimising avoidable incidents and serious repercussions.

Emma Dyson

Solicitor at Brodies LLP
Emma is a solicitor in the Insurance & Risk team with a specific focus in defender work particularly defending and assisting in personal injury/casualty actions, fatal accidents and health & safety/regulatory areas. She has experience with varying caseloads in both the sheriff courts and Court of Session.
Emma Dyson