Public events come in all shapes and sizes. From a quiz night in a village hall to a concert in a conference centre. They’re not just indoors either. Outside events might include fairs and fetes, carnivals and parades as well as farmer’s markets and sporting events.
After a few years where numbers at events have been limited, health and safety is on every organiser’s mind. With celebrations for the Jubilee coming up in the summer of 2022 it’s time to start planning and for every single event that means putting in place safeguards such as first aid provision to ensure that everyone has a great time.
As an event organiser, there’s no specific legal requirement relating to first aid for attendees although there is one for staff and volunteers in the form of the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981. However, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) does make the recommendation that members of the public are included in your plans for provision.
Not having sufficient first aid provision isn’t only an issue for the attendees. The event is essentially a workplace which means that it’s subject to various pieces of health and safety legislation.
You could also invalidate your event insurance and damage the reputation of the organisation running the event. If an accident or illness results in serious injury of death you could find that failing to provide adequate first aid cover or assess the potential risks may result in prosecution. So it really is worth taking to time to ensure that you’ve already thought about what the unexpected might look like and put plans in place to deal with it.
How many first aiders does my event need?
You want to make that you have enough first aid support at your event but what that will mean will vary depending on factors such as the size and type of your event . A general rule would be two first aider per 1000 event attendees but you need to look beyond the number of people you expect to be there.
Start with a risk assessment
- Is this a new event or one that you’ve run before? If you have run it before then make sure that you bear in mind accidents and injuries that have happened in previous years and any changes that you are making to the event this time round and the impact they will have. Are you increasing the number of inflatables, expanding the event area or planning to attract more of a certain demographic?
- How many people are you expecting to attend the event and who are they? Will they be arriving by car or on foot?
- What will event attendees be doing? Sitting in deck chairs listening to classical music, crowding into a hall to see giant vegetable being weighed or having queuing for rides?
Risk assessment can be a time consuming process particularly if you are a volunteer supporting a school , charity or organisation and this isn’t an area you know a lot about. That’s why it is worth using an expert to carry out your risk assessment, prepare a safety plan and advise on first aid provision for your event. It will cost less than you think and will save hours of planning time. They will understand the full implications of guidelines for health and safety at events including applying event guidelines such as the Purple Guide and the Green Guide.
There’s one last thing. Don’t leave it too late. First aiders get booked months ahead for busy periods like the summer so contact them early in the planning process. This is an area we can also help in by arranging the first aid cover you need as well as running training for staff and volunteers.