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  • Opinion - a personal viewpoint on risk and compliance.
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How to shoot someone out of a cannon?

Stop now hand signal.
So you don’t actually want to shoot someone out of a cannon but if you plan things properly you could. It’s the planning part that the authorities will be looking for if it goes wrong. Not whether the concept was appropriate.

The law wants responsible people in your business to assess reasonably foreseeable risks from your activities and to put in place control measures that will reduce the risks - as far as is reasonably practicable.

So if you simply persuaded a colleague to slip into a cannon and you lit the fuse without considering the foreseeable risks then it is likely that (a) the individual shot from the cannon would be hurt and (b) you and/or your business would be prosecuted. Understandably so.

Take a look at our 7 top tips.

1. If you are not suitably qualified to undertake the risk assessment, bring in an expert at the beginning of your event planning process. Remember to ask “how can we…?” and not just “can we…?” to get a positive response.

2. Assess your Suppliers – and particularly their competence for the work you require from them. If necessary, get references. Ask about their maintenance schedules for their equipment. Review their safety records and training methods. Make sure you understand their risk assessment and align it with yours.

3. Confirm that all parties are appropriately insured. If necessary, advise your insurers of your planned activity and have them confirm the steps you need to take to meet their requirements. Agree, in writing, who will be insuring what if numerous parties are involved.

4. Update the risk assessment every time there is a change in content / circumstance. For instance, what happens if the weather conditions change?

5. Create a crisis management plan. If you are going to shoot someone out of a cannon then you had better have a solid crisis management plan in place, because if it does go wrong it will not be pretty.

6. Communicate, communicate, communicate. So many incidents happen due to a lack of communication and a presumption of what other people know. So don’t just talk, but listen. Have your colleagues and suppliers feed back step-by-step (if necessary) what they will be doing to make it all go right and what they will be doing if anything starts to go wrong.

7. Keep detailed written records. This is your only proof that you will have done what the law requires of you. `...to put in place control measures that will reduce the risks as far as is reasonably practicable’.

So firing someone from a cannon is not quite right for your brand?

The point is that exciting, thrilling events that people remember and want to talk about can still be planned today. The legislation is not about stopping you developing an event with a `wow’ factor. It is about making sure you consider all ‘reasonably foreseeable risks’ and cater for them within your planning process.

Regardless of what the media claim, events are limited not by H&S but by your creativity and, more likely, your budget!
 

Event Training

We call it the Knowledge Audit. Critical must-know information when planning and managing events. A training course. An assessment tool. A knowledge audit. If you're not sure what you don't know then this will probably be the best training investment you have ever made. Priced from £25.  Find out more »

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John Simpson, CEO, JSA Ltd.
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Speaker? Lecturer? Presenter?

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