Event Health and Safety

Event Health and Safety

Here you will find some Frequently Asked Questions about event health and safety

ID: 5016, revised 20/05/2019

Where can I get advice on choosing a H&S consultant?

There are numerous specialist companies and individuals that you can use to give you professional advice or act as event management consultants. You can search for these on the internet but it is advisable to ask for references and check them out before engaging their services.

There is also an on-line register of health and safety consultants. Some of these list event safety as an area they can give advice on


ID: 4875, revised 19/03/2019

Who enforces health and safety law at an event?

Local authority environmental health officers are generally responsible for enforcing health and safety legislation at events. Where an event is actually organised by a local authority, HSE is normally responsible for enforcement. 

HSE has enforcement responsibility for the following activities at all events:

  • the erection and dismantling of temporary demountable structures (TDS) like stages and grandstands (except for small marquees and similar tents which are enforced by local authorities)
  • radio and television broadcasting
  • fairgrounds

In certain circumstances, arrangements can be made to transfer enforcement responsibilities between HSE and local authorities. 

HSE's Enforcement Policy Statement sets out the principles which HSE inspectors and local authority environmental health officers should follow when making enforcement decisions

ID: 4877, revised 19/03/2019

Do I need to write a risk assessment?

A risk assessment is a key tool for preparing your Event Management Plan.

As part of managing the health and safety of your event you must control the risks. To do this you need to think about what might cause harm to people and decide whether you are taking reasonable steps to prevent that harm. This is known as risk assessment and it is something you are required by law to carry out. If you have fewer than five employees you don't have to write anything down.

Guidance on how to assess the risks, example risk assessments and risk assessment templates can be found on the HSE website.

The HSE gives advice on the controls you will need to take for event related hazards

ID: 4879, revised 11/07/2019

What is an Event Management Plan (EMP)?

This is sometimes called a Safety Plan.

An EMP/Safety Plan is a written statement of how an event organiser will run their event. It incorporates such areas as risk assessment, traffic and transport planning, first aid, stewarding, site layout, audience profiles, temporary structures, barriers, emergency planning and evacuation plans, noise management, litter disposal and communication protocols.

To view an example see our Events Document Library

ID: 4882, revised 21/05/2019

Do I need Liability Insurance?

Yes - in almost all cases. If you employ persons before, during or after an event you will probably need Employers Liability Insurance.  Please refer to the Health and Safety Executive for further information.

It is also responsible practice to take out Public Liability Insurance with a minimum £5 million Limit of Indemnity and with an Indemnity to Principal clause. Events that cannot demonstrate that they have appropriate insurance will not receive the support of the Council or other members of an Event Safety Advisory Group.

All contractors, performers and leisure attractions will also need their own Public Liability Insurance with a minimum £5 million Limit of Indemnity. It is recommended that the event organisers obtain copies of the insurance as part of the tender process.

ID: 4883, revised 19/03/2019

Do I need a first aider or other medical provision at my event?

The level of medical provision required will depend on many contributing factors such as the nature of the event, its location, proximity to definitive care, expected numbers, type and age groups attending, etc.

You are advised to carry out a medical and first aid assessment and to contact the local NHS ambulance service.

The Events Industry Forum’s purple guide includes example first-aid and medical assessments for an audience at an event.

ID: 4886, revised 19/03/2019

Can I release sky lanterns or fireworks as part of my event?

Sky Lanterns

The Council and National Park has introduced a voluntary ban on the release of sky lanterns and helium balloons from council/National Park owned or controlled land due to impact on livestock, plants and the environment.

Concerns include risks to animal welfare through ingestion of debris left by them in the countryside, the sea and on the coastline. As sky lanterns contain a naked flame, there were additional concerns about the fire risk to buildings, property, crops and moorland from uncontrolled landings.

The Council also discourage their use and release from other land wherever possible.


Firework displays should be enjoyable and spectacular occasions – but they obviously need some responsible planning. For detailed guidance on arranging a display: Health and Safety Executive 

If you are organising a major public event, you will clearly need a robust and detailed approach to planning as well as professional involvement. If you are holding a local firework display, such as those organised by many sports clubs, schools or parish councils, you still need to plan responsibly, but the same level of detail is not necessary or expected. Below are some tips and guidance to help you.

  • Think about who will operate the display. There is no reason why you should not light a display yourselves provided it only contains fireworks in categories 1, 2 and 3 but remember, category 4 fireworks may only be used by professional firework display operators. In untrained hands they can be lethal.
  • Consider whether the site is suitable and large enough for your display. Is there space for the fireworks to land well away from spectators? Remember to check in daylight for overhead power lines and other obstructions. What is the direction of the prevailing wind? What would happen if it changed?
  • Think about what you would do if things go wrong. Make sure there is someone who will be responsible for calling the emergency services
  • Make sure you obtain the fireworks from a reputable registered or licensed supplier.
  • Ensure you have a suitable place to store the fireworks. Your firework supplier should be able to advise.
  • The morning after the display, carefully check and clear the site. Dispose of fireworks safely. They should never be burnt in a confined space.

You must not set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except for:

  •  Bonfire Night, when the cut off is midnight
  •  New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, when the cut off is 1am.
ID: 4897, revised 21/05/2019

What about Cash Collection?

If there is cash collection at your event then it should be included in the risk assessment. You should:

  • Ensure this is kept to a minimum at collection points and that regular collections are made to a secure area.
  • Stewards or helpers collecting cash may require money belts or other carrying facilities and should not operate alone.
  • Counting and banking arrangements should be given extra careful consideration.
ID: 4884, revised 20/05/2019