Site and crowd management for large events

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As an event organiser you are responsible for safely managing your event site and visitors to your event.  That includes:

  • keeping pedestrians and traffic separate
  • providing stewards
  • crowd control
  • access to emergency exits and
  • much more

The basics of site and crowd management for large events

Here are some of the things you will need to think about when managing your event site and visitors:

  • You must have clear access for emergency services.
  • You must keep pedestrians and traffic separate.
  • What access can you provide for disabled visitors?
  • Will you need a one way system for pedestrians at peak times?
  • Do any areas need to be cordoned off to prevent public access?  Do you need stewards at these barriers?
  • The bigger the site, the more signage, barriers and stewards you need.
  • If you have a premises licence, this will give the maximum number of people you can cater for.
  • If your event can only cater for a certain number of people, you need to decide how you will monitor the numbers attending.  Will you issue tickets or count people in and out?
  • If you will be issuing tickets, make sure they can’t be forged.  Also think about whether you need to provide wristbands or hand stamps so people can come and go during the event.
  • You will need enough emergency exits for the numbers attending, and these should be well signposted and well lit.
  • You will need to make safety announcements before any entertainment begins to tell people what to do if there is an emergency.
  • All security personnel must be trained and registered with the Security Industry Authority (SIA).

There’s more guidance in Managing crowds safely: A guide for organisers at events and venues.

Lost children

You will need a lost children point in an easy to find location.  This is so parents and children can meet up if they become separated during the event.

You must have at least two competent adults, one male and one female, at the point to supervise any children.  Anyone working with, or likely to work with, children or vulnerable adults will need a Criminal Records Disclosure Check (CRDC) before the event.

Make sure stewards know where to bring lost children and that a PA announcement is made to alert parents.  The PA announcement should only include limited information.  This minimises the risk of someone other than the child’s parents coming to collect them.

You should make all reasonable checks that the person collecting a child is their parent or guardian. If you have any doubts do not hand the child over.

Event stewards and volunteers

You can't run a large event on your own, so you will need to have stewards or volunteer staff available on the day.  Stewards are usually paid, whereas volunteers offer their time free of charge.

You have the same responsibilities for both volunteers and employees under The Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974 and related regulations.

Stewards

Stewards need to:

  • Be fit, active and 18 or over
  • Be easily identifiable, e.g. wearing fluorescent jackets or long sleeved tabards
  • Know the site layout, including entrances, exits first aid posts, lost children points and the location of fire fighting equipment
  • Be provided with any necessary equipment, such as radios and torches

Stewards can be used for crowd control, directing traffic and keeping an eye on what is going on in different areas of the event.

Volunteers

If you’re going to use volunteers, be clear about what you want them to do.  Do not expect volunteers to tackle anything you wouldn’t do yourself. Make sure they receive any relevant safety training they need, e.g. manual handling.

You will need to make sure they know they are making a commitment to you.  They must let you know if they cannot make it on a certain day or need to leave early so that you can make alternative arrangements.  You should still be prepared for some of them not to turn up on the day.

You should also offer to reimburse any genuine expenses the volunteers may have.

You can ask for volunteers from various organisations such as:

  • Scout groups
  • Local cadets
  • Rotary Clubs
  • Round Table
  • Schools
  • Colleges

You could also contact Volunteer Cornwall.  Another option is to ask for volunteers through your local radio station or newspaper.

There’s more guidance about health and safety for volunteers in HSE: What Do Voluntary Organisations Have to Do?

Event barriers and fencing

You may need to use various barriers at your event, such as:

  • perimeter fencing
  • laned queuing and
  • A frame barriers around staging

Perimeter fencing can be used to stop unauthorised access to the event site. Or keep people from climbing on lighting or sound towers.

A laned queuing system can help with crowd control.  It eases pressure on entrances, exits, and sales concessions.  It also breaks the crowd up into groups to minimise the effect of crowd surge.

Specialised A frame barriers are typically used at music events to stop pressure building up immediately in front of the stage.  They are positioned to provide a pit area in front of the stage. Stewards and medical crew can then remove anyone in distress and provide immediate help if needed.

You will need to make sure that any barriers you use as part of your event are properly designed and constructed.  They must also not have sharp edges or trapping points.

Noise control

You will need to think about two noise issues when planning your event:

  • Regular exposure to high noise levels that could cause hearing damage to those running the event
  • Noise nuisance caused by your event.  This could lead to complaints or objections to future events

You will need to have a qualified specialist carry out a noise assessment.  They will check the potential levels of noise from your event. 

The Code of Practice on Environmental Noise Control at Concerts sets the acceptable levels for off site noise.

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 sets out the measures you must take if workers are regularly exposed to excess noise.  This could include:

  • limiting time spent in the noisy environment or
  • providing hearing protection

The Health and Safety Executive’s Controlling noise at work provides guidance. You may also find Sound Advice: Control of noise at work and in entertainment useful.

For more advice on noise control please contact our Environmental Protection team. 
You can phone them on 0300 1234 212 or e-mail cep@cornwall.gov.uk

Useful Information

Find out more about site and crowd management for large events by selecting the relevant links from the menu.

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