Safety and Risk Management
Maroondah FReeZA has compiled this helpful checklist and plan for organising and hosting FReeZA prmusic events for young people
Increase signage throughout venue:
o No crowd surfing or dangerous behaviour’
o 'If you behave in a manner which could cause harm to another person or property, you may be asked to leave.'
o Signage aimed to band members back stage outlining responsibilities
o Youth appropriate signage appealing to culture of hardcore and looking after your mates
(see EV's Policy on Hardcore Dancing below)
Increase of Maroondah Youth Services (MYS) and Security staff on premise
Venue manager to have strong presence outside of venue whilst young people are lining up and educate on EV’s policies towards hardcore dance:
- Make sure you have space to hardcore dance,
- look after your mates, and look out for others around you,
- pick up anyone who has fallen over,
- respect each other and the property,
- if you behave in a dangerous manner you may be asked to leave,
- Wall of love; this is an all-ages event be aware of younger people in the dance area,
- inform workers / security if you believe a particular person is behaving dangerously towards other young people or the venue,
- have a good time,
- Help us keep hardcore gigs alive – help us keep this gig safe!
Venue manager to brief band prior to event outlining clear expectations:
- No stage diving
- Support MYS Staff and security with announcements should the crowd get out of hand
- Do not incite dangerous behaviour
- Within in reason, assume young people will coordinate group dance moves rather then inciting ‘Wall of Death’ or ‘Circle Pit’ from the stage. Band members will also need to be seen as supporting a safe environment if the crowd get out of control and to allow for this the band must keep this point in mind.
- Help us to keep Hardcore shows alive by helping us to keep this gig safe.
- Talk through contractual agreements and consequences with venue / FReeZA should contract not be followed.
- Provide space for hardcore dancing to occur.
- Inform participants to move away from dancing areas if they do not wish to engage in dancing.
- Inform participants that hardcore dancing is allowed, providing there is enough space around them and they look after their mates and surrounding young people.
- Encourage participants to pick up anyone who has fallen over.
Brief Security to project a positive, proactive presence.
- Encouraging young people to give each other enough space to dance.
- Identifying young people who are behaving in a dangerous manner and pulling them aside to explain ‘ you can hardcore dance, but make sure you have enough room.. and if you behave in a manner that could harm another person on the property you may be asked to leave’.
- Security can also inform young people they are aware of their behaviour through pointing at young people from raised points either side of dance floor, keeping a strong eye contact and at next appropriate point pulling young person aside to explain EV’s policy on hardcore dancing.
- Security do not enter the dancing space unless safe to do so. In this case, disperse surrounding attendees away from the dance floor so the congested area is safer and easier to access.
- If there are young people who have fallen over, encourage their friends to pick them up, if safe to do so enter the dance area to provide support.
- In the event that a fight breaks out on the dance floor, the music will be stopped, security will obtain those young people who are instigating the situation, the band will support through positive voice overs and first aid will be provided if necessary. At this point MYS staff will voice further instructions.
- Two security guards will always be posted at either side of the dance floor, as well as a roaming guard. It is the aim that these security guards will act proactively by constantly watching the dance floor for any intentional dangerous behaviours and communicating with young people in a supportive manner that this is not allowed.
- As per usual briefings, any young person that is deemed to be acting continually inappropriately, the young person is to be brought to MYS staff for a further conversation.
- Make sure you have space to hardcore dance,
- Look after your mates, and look out for others around you,
- Pick up anyone who has fallen over,
- Respect each other and the property,
- If you behave in a dangerous manner you may be asked to leave,
- Wall of love; this is an all-ages event be aware of younger people in the dance area,
- Inform workers / security if you believe a particular person is behaving dangerously towards other young people or the venue,
- Have a good time,
- Help us keep hardcore gigs alive – help us keep this gig safe!
The safety and enjoyment of patrons attending your event is your number one concern.
You will need a real understanding of your event, what sort of crowd your event is likely to attract, and a good working knowledge of the local area in which the event is being run in order to strategically plan for the expected audience profile and crowd dynamics.
Crowd dynamics are driven by many things, from the weather (the hotter the crazier) to local factors (such as your event coinciding with end of school celebrations). Everything should be considered. Three big influences are:
- The type of music (thrash, metal, techno etc.)
- The performers’ style and reputation (eg. inciting crowd to mosh, high energy, able to positively channel audience energy)
- The audience profile (male/female split, age and range, likelihood of alcohol or drug consumption etc.)
How you design and plan your event will influence greatly how your crowd behaves. Some of these factors include:
- The design and layout of the venue (entry, exits, setup inside and crowd flow)
- Provision of adequate facilities (toilets, refreshments, clear viewing areas)
- Venue capacity (potential for overcrowding, crushing)
- Well-defined and understood event conditions, conditions of entry and rules (e.g. no passouts, admission price, finishing times, no alcohol policy).
It is important to consider all the positives and negatives that could impact on your event. You will need to examine the potential risks involved with your event by asking ‘What could happen?’ or ‘What if?’
Putting in place the most appropriate crowd management system for youth events is essential. Different types of events will require different types and combinations of crowd management measures.
Crowd management refers to the planning, preparation and delivery of services at your event, and includes issues such as ticket sales and collection, ushering, queuing systems and conditions of entry.
Crowd control refers to maintaining order and re-establishing order should it break down.
Identifying the risks will help determine what crowd management system to put in place, and what the mix and the role of the different providers listed below will play.
- Licensed crowd controllers/security
- Peer support teams
- Other adults
Conditions of Entry
Wherever possible, entry conditions should be printed on the tickets that you sell for your event. It is also necessary to display a sign that clearly states the conditions of entry at the entry point to the venue. This is to prevent situations that you wish to avoid, as well as protecting you as the organiser from legal action that may result from injuries caused by activities like moshing, stage diving or crowd surfing. An example of conditions of entry for Push events are listed on the following page.
Other ‘advisory’ signs you may need include ‘no smoking’ and directional signs (identifying toilets, canteen and cloakroom etc.) that should be displayed as needed throughout the venue. Don’t overdo it. No one will read them if there are too many.
Example of Conditions of Entry
- No alcohol or drugs
- No smoking
- Persons under the influence of alcohol or drugs will not be admitted.
- No glass allowed
- No pass-outs
- Crowd surfing, stage diving, moshing, skanking and climbing are dangerous activities that are not allowed as they may result in injury to yourself or others. Patrons who persist in undertaking these or other dangerous activities will be asked to leave the event. The organisers will not accept any responsibility for injuries or damages sustained from these activities.
- All bags will be searched on entry
- Knives, weapons or objects designed or able to be used as weapons will be confiscated. Items deemed dangerous will not be returned.
- Skates/boards must be cloaked.
- Management reserves the right to refuse entry.
- Management reserves the right to eject persons from the venue who are behaving in an unruly manner.
- Organisers shall not be held liable for any loss, injury or damages sustained at the event.
- Entry is at own risk.
- No video cameras are permitted in the venue without prior written consent from The Push.
Example of suggested advisory/information signs
- Free water is available
- Sunscreen and earplugs are available
- Please wear hat and other sun protection for outdoor shows
- A telephone is located in the venue
- In the event of emergency, please follow event staff instructions
If you are filming the event, you may need to include a release from patrons, either on the ticket or by generally visible signage, which they agree to the use of their image in any commercial audio-visual releases of the event. The proper
wording of this release statement needs to be obtained from either a lawyer or other suitably qualified person.
The local police should always be informed of your event. Police presence makes a big difference and contributes to the smooth running of events. Depending on your request and the police assessment of your event, three things can happen:
- Police will be rostered on to attend your event (especially for large outdoor events like festivals). If this is the case, the police may charge a fee to the organisers under the Victoria Police user-pays system, or the fee may be waived.
- Police are not rostered on to your event, but the police on duty may drop by during their normal shift or if called to attend.
- Police choose not to attend your event.
Crowd Controllers/Licensed Security
Crowd control refers to maintaining order and re-establishing order should it break down. Victorian laws require crowd controllers working in public places and at gatherings such as concerts to have a crowd controller's licence (Private Agents Act 1966).
The main responsibilities of security are crowd control, cash protection, equipment protection, procedures for confiscated or prohibited items, and assisting emergency services if necessary.
When hiring security, check the company’s history, profile and references, and ask for a copy of the company license. Select a company that is experienced with youth and music events and that understands what are normal and acceptable activities for your type of event.
Crowd controllers must wear identification. Any person who directly or indirectly employs a crowd controller to work at a public place must keep a crowd controller’s register. It should be kept on site at the event, with a record of each controller’s details (name, licence ID number, times of work etc.). The register should be used to note and report on any incidents that arise.
The staff should be easily identifiable (wear a uniform/shirt), carry a torch and, depending on the size and nature of the event, be equipped with a two-way radio that allows them to communicate with other security personnel and event organisers. Security in vehicles and dog teams can also be used for large events if the risk assessment calls for it.
While many still think of muscle and big burly ‘bouncers’ when they think of good security, it is the right attitude and superior communication skills that makes a good crowd controller. Security personnel should be friendly and professional as they play a key role in maintaining a positive atmosphere among patrons. Prevention is better than cure.
All security teams should include a mix of male and female staff. FReeZA guidelines encourage FReeZA providers to include gender specific service standards to ensure that all young people are comfortable at FReeZA events. This can help to recognise safety issues from a diversity of perspectives and experiences, and ensure that your security team is approachable to young men and women. Having both male and female staff enables you to secure all parts of the venue (including toilets), and for same-sex staff to conduct ‘pat-downs’ or bag-checks for concealed weapons, alcohol or glass if called for by your Risk
Communication and Passes
By hiring two way radios and allocating channel and units according to need, the provision of security and services like first aid is far more efficient. Channel 1 at the event is usually reserved for emergency services such as first aid. Other channels are allocated based on the needs of your event.
Emergency Services Channel 1
Event Staff Channel 2
Security Channel 3
Below is an example taken from a safety plan.
Area One: Stage (including punter barrier)
Title Name Radio Channel Mobile
Stage Manager Jo Blow YES 2 (tel number)
Pit Supervisor Bill Smith YES 3 (tel number)
Backstage Coordinator Mary Citizen NO (tel number)
Event personnel names, roles, radio, channel and mobile numbers can be printed on the a ‘lammie’ or tabard and worn on a lanyard around your neck.
A well thought out and well managed system of printed passes (such as backstage, access all areas, volunteer or event staff passes) can improve security and people management at the event.
Care should be taken when issuing passes and grouping people and services together on channels so as to order, simplify and improve communication. The KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) applies when providing instructional information.
Identify the hot spots and needs of your event. Typically these include:
- Entry/exit points
- Restricted area such as backstage
- Places where patrons gather such as toilets, cloakroom
- Outside the venue
- Punter barrier
Some of these will require a person(s) to be positioned there for the duration of the event, whilst others can be monitored by roving security. Security around the stage, backstage and the barrier may need to be increased during the times that popular and headline acts are performing.
Your responsibility does not end at the door. Ensure the surrounding area is well lit and that security staff conduct regular patrols checking for any danger spots like bushes, carparks or bus shelters.
The number of security/crowd controllers you require at your event is dependent on the overall crowd management measures put in place. It is therefore not recommended that the number of crowd controllers be determined on crowd size alone.
Front of Stage or Punter Barrier
A suitably designed, constructed and installed barrier arrangement can help manage crowd behaviour, the consequences of crowd surging and reduce the risk of crowd collapse.
Assess whether such a barrier is needed. For most concerts, audience pressure on the front of stage is expected and a barrier will be necessary.
Factors to be taken into account include audience density, the likely behaviour and size of the audience and the nature of the venue.
If the audience surges, pressure on individuals increases. Audience pressure may cause fainting and exhaustion, especially if coupled with heat, alcohol, hysteria or dehydration. There is also the risk that in big crowds (like at large festivals) the audience may collapse due to surging or heaving movements near the front of stage, resulting in people falling to the ground and being trampled or asphyxiated.
Barrier systems available in Victoria are generally ‘A’ framed, free standing and rely on a tread plate at the front to maintain their stability. Checks should be made by a competent person to ensure that, when erected, the barrier meets its intended purpose.
Do not make or use any item not specifically designed as a front of stage barrier, as inappropriate barriers can increase the risk of injury to patrons at the front of stage.
If you are using a punter barrier, ensure that the security team have worked a barrier before and are trained in how to lift patrons safely over the barrier.
If you are unsure or require further information about punter barriers and security/crowd controllers seek expert advice.
Peer Support Teams
Young people can play a vital role in crowd management. Groups such as Push Patrollers, Big Day Out Crowd Carers and RaveSafe all contribute to the safety and well being of patrons. Acting as extra eyes and ears closer to the action allows for detailed observation of the crowd and ensures quicker response time to any observed situation. FReeZA groups and youth committees are taking on this role at events. It may be worth formalising these jobs to ensure everyone is aware of their responsibilities and limitations, and where necessary have received the appropriate training and instructions.
Not trying to break up fights but reporting them to security, closing and monitoring doors left unattended and reporting sick patrons to first aid are all activities competently handled by peer support teams.
Local youth, arts, drugs and alcohol workers may attend your event. Clarify their purpose and agree on their role. Local service clubs like Rotary, Apex and Lions can also provide volunteers to assist with crowd management, but if push comes to shove only police or licensed security can ‘maintain or reinstate order’ (break up fights, remove patrons from the venue etc.).
When you are planning and running public events, it is of utmost importance that you put into place policies and procedures that ensure the safety of members of the public, people working or volunteering and yourself.
Occupational Health and Safety (OHS)
Occupational health and safety (OHS) refers to the legislation, policies, procedures and activities that aim to protect the health, safety and welfare of all people in a workplace.
It is recommended that prior to your first event that groups and/or individuals receive appropriate training and achieve a satisfactory level of competence in the range of tasks or jobs that they will be expected to perform. A training program that is designed to cover relevant occupational health and safety is called an OHS Induction Program. Depending on the tasks and jobs, the training may range from providing quite simple instructions to delivering complex information and hands on skills by outside trainers or experts.
List all the jobs that have to be done. There is a lot of information and resources available on OHS and it is relatively easy to find. WorkCover (new window), unions, industry associations and councils all have extensive information on OHS policies and procedures. Everything from how to pick up and dispose of a used syringe to information on working at heights is available. Your own health and safety policy including a policy statement, policies and procedures can then be compiled for your events.
Only carry out tasks that you are trained or qualified to do. Using ladders and lifting heavy objects are common tasks performed during load-in and out. Accidents can happen, and people can get hurt or injured by lifting incorrectly or not setting up or using a ladder properly.
You do not have to invent the answer. You just have to find it.
Break down the jobs that have to be done at your event to steps or simple components. For example, putting up a banner can be broken down to:
- Getting the ladder (manual handling)
- Setting up the ladder (working with ladders)
- Using the ladder (working from ladders)
- Securing the banner (tying the knot–rigging; using a staple gun –hand held tool)
- Trimming the rope ends (using a cutting blade –hand held tool)
You then need a policy or procedure covering relevant information and training on:
- Manual handling
- Working with ladders
- Hand held tools
After you break down a job into steps, list the dangers or hazards associated with each step and then list the control (the way you’re going to deal with or handle the hazard).
Job Safety Analysis - Example Table
|Working from ladders||Fall from ladder and injure worker|
By going through and documenting this process for each job you will eventually build your own Event OHS Policies and Procedures Manual. Once you have learned how to use a ladder or how to lift, you move on to the next thing.
Organisations working with young people must have in place the necessary policies and guidelines to protect young people. It is the responsibility of the organisation to implement procedures and practices that measure up to the highest standard and fulfill their Duty of Care.
All adult employees, board members and volunteers of organisations (aged 18 and over) who come into direct and unsupervised contact with young people participating in the FReeZA program will be required to undertake a WWC Check as outlined in the Working With Children Act 2005 (new window).
Other policies a group may implement to protect young people, workers and volunteers include guidelines about working alone, transport home etc. These policies should be detailed in writing and understood at the beginning so everyone is informed, empowered and comfortable with being involved.
Duty of Care
Duty of care is a legal principle that requires event organisers to take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which would be likely to injure persons involved. This basically means that you must not cause reasonably foreseeable harm to others.
The major risk at an event is of someone getting hurt. An organisation is liable when it is found to have breached the duty of care it owes by acting carelessly or not acting. One of the most common reasons organisations are found to be liable is where they have been negligent, that is, have breached their duty of care and caused damage. Event organisers must exercise the level of care necessary to protect people from harm.
Event Safety Management Plan
Event Safety Management Plans for your events should be produced by your group with appropriate expertise. An event safety plan includes the following:
- A detailed contact list showing names, titles and contact numbers
- Event description including details of activities and hours of operation
- Any specific safety arrangements or information on structures and equipment in operation
- Event Hazard and Risk Assessment (click here for an example)
- Site/Venue Plan
- Crowd Management Plan
- Transport Management Plan detailing parking, pick up/drop off point, public transport and any other traffic control arrangements
- Emergency Plan detailing action to be taken by designated people in the event of a major incident
- First Aid Plan detailing procedures for managing first aid on site and arrangements with local ambulance or hospitals.
In occupational health and safety (OHS) terms, risk management is the process of recognising situations that have the potential to cause harm to people or property, and doing something to prevent a harmful situation occurring or a person being harmed.
Risk and Hazard Assessment
Risk management is concerned with prevention through identifying, eliminating and controlling hazards and risks.
It is the responsibility of the event organiser to conduct a risk assessment. If the event is held under the umbrella or auspice of another organisation or held in an existing venue then the safety and risk management needs to take into account their existing arrangements for health and safety and ideally be completed in conjunction with them.
For example, a council hall will already have in place a number of safety and risk management arrangements, some outlined in the hire contract like no smoking and no sticky tape on the walls, and others including fire extinguishers, exit lights over doors, outside security lighting, load in ramps and fire alarms in the building.
The FReeZA program insists that a number of conditions and safety measures be implemented for FReeZA events. These include events being drug and alcohol-free and ensuring adequate supervision and crowd control. These arrangements have been put in place to eliminate or control a hazard or risk.
A hazard is a source of potential harm or a situation with the potential to cause loss.
A risk is the chance of something happening that will have a negative impact upon the situation. It is measured in terms of consequences and likelihood.
For example, a damaged electrical extension lead is a hazard and the risk(s) associated with this particular hazard are the risk of electrocution and damage to electrical equipment plugged into the lead. Water on the floor in the toilets is a hazard and the risk associated with this particular hazard is injury to people from falling or slipping.
A risk assessment should cover all phases of your event including the load in, the show and the load out.
Where a hazard exists and a risk is identified, it is always good practice to document the hazard, the risk and the agreed control measures. Control measures refer to the details or arrangements you have made to eliminate or reduce the risk associated with the hazard(s). This is called the ‘Hierarchy of Control’ and in order of preference the best way to do this is:
- Avoid the risk by removing the hazard completely. In the case of the damaged electrical lead this would involve cutting the ends off so the lead cannot be used and removing the lead from the venue.
- Use less hazardous procedure/substances/equipment or processes, for example, using blutac instead of sticky tape to reduce the risk of damage to painted walls.
- Separate the process from the people by use of barriers/ enclosures or distance. For example, if the water on the toilet floor was being caused by a broken or blocked pipe then closing that toilet until it can be repaired would be your best option.
- Engineering Controls: Mechanical/physical changes to equipment/ materials/processes. For example, some venues have installed sound monitors that automatically cut the power when noise reaches a certain level with the purpose of cutting the sound out before it goes over the legal noise limit (risking fines).
- Administrative Controls: Change procedures, rearrange work, conduct training. For example, arranging for the sound check to happen when no one else is in the venue to reduce exposure to excessive noise and subsequent risk of hearing damage.
- Personal Protective Equipment: For example, issuing earplugs to people during sound check and making them available at the show.
Enter - How to do a Hazard and Risk Assessment control matrix
Risk Rating and Control Matrix - Example Table
Step 1: Identify Hazard
Step 2: Provide details of related risk(s)
Step 3: Rate the risk using the risk matrix: Give the risks a rating by determining their likelihood, then, rate the consequence of the risk. Where the two intersect determines the level of risk.
Step 4: Detail the controls you intend to put into place to reduce the risk.
Step 5: Then re-assess the risk level taking into account the controls and any affects on reducing risk level to work out the risk result.
Step 6: Provide details of management tools and who is responsible for managing risk.
Example of an Event Hazard and Risk Assessment Table (33.5 KB) (Word, new window).
It is strongly recommended that groups organising events should participate in undertaking a risk assessment for each event but seek expert advice before signing off the report to ensure accuracy and appropriateness.
Insurance is not a substitute for risk management.
Even after you have completed a thorough and extensive risk and safety management plan you cannot guarantee that there will be no accidents, and you cannot avoid what you can’t foresee.
The two types of insurance policies most relevant to youth music event organisers are:
- Public Liability Insurance (PLI): This insurance is necessary for an organisation to protect itself against claims of negligence made by a third party (such as an audience member) in respect to bodily injury or property damage arising out of the organisation’s business. The policy may also cover injuries resulting from products sold or supplied. It is important if you are selling food and drinks at your event that you are covered. You should check to see to what extent volunteers are covered by the group’s insurance policy. FReeZA providers must have $10 million PLI coverage. Likewise, you should make sure that venues and contractors used by your group have their own PLI cover, also for at least $10 million.
- Personal Accident Insurance (Volunteer Insurance): This insurance generally covers members, volunteers, officials or participants for any out-of-pocket expenses following accidental injury, disability or death while carrying out their work on behalf of the organisation. This type of insurance would normally cover loss of income if the injured party were unable to work through sickness or injury.
Insurance is expensive, so it is important to insure for exactly what you need. Other insurances include property insurance, fidelity (fraud) insurance, building insurance, product liability insurance, professional indemnity, travel insurance and worker’s compensation. Always make sure that your insurer is notified of any activity you may wish to undertake outside of your normal operations as it may not be covered or may require an additional fee to be paid.