Risk Assessment – Shell Scheme

We the Organisers have introduced this section due to legal requirements. All shell scheme constructions have to complete the Simple Risk Assessments to exhibit.

Every exhibition stand is a miniature workplace and therefore needs a risk assessment. There is a danger, however, of over-complicating things. The erection of shell scheme will be covered by the shell scheme contractor’s assessment. If the activity on the stand is clearly without significant risk, a simple risk assessment is required. There is a need for the exhibitor to confirm that this is the case.


Please see the guidelines below on how to complete a risk assessment and why you have to. The guidelines are very comprehensive and risk assessments are there to protect your own liability/insurance, not for the Organisers.

Event Risk Assessment

The exhibitor must identify all ‘significant risk’. Significant risks are those which are reasonably foreseeable in terms of probability and severe enough in outcome to warrant consideration i.e. they are more than trivial.
Examples of common risks associated with any event or exhibition are as follows:

  • Slips, trips and falls on a level surface
  • Manual handling, lifting or moving of heavy/awkward loads
  • Injury from electric shock
  • Objects falling from height or loads falling from vehicles
  • Impact injury from moving vehicles
  • Outbreak of Legionnaires disease from a water feature
  • Food poisoning incident from temporary catering outlet
  • Fire and fire related incidents
  • Major incident and civil emergency
  • Excessive working hours
  • Stress
  • Alcohol and drug misuse related incidents

Steps to Risk Assessment

There are two key definitions which are an important part of the risk assessment vocabulary.

  • A ‘hazard’ is something with the potential to cause harm (injury loss or damage)
  • A ‘risk’ is the potential for harm to be realised. This is usually seen as a combination of likelihood and severity and which is detailed in step two below.

The key to risk assessment is recognising that whereas there are a great many things which are hazardous, it is the context in which they arise which dictates whether or not they are actually a risk.
The most widely accepted approach in the events industry is the five steps approach as follows:

  • Step 1: Identify the Hazard and who could be harmed.
  • Step 2: Assess the risk
  • Step 3: Develop Controls
  • Step 4: Implement Controls

Step 1: Identify the hazard and who could be harmed

This is the hardest part as it involves predicting everything that could reasonably foreseeably go wrong.
There are various approaches to this based on the type of hazard or the type of harm as follows:

Types of Harm

  • Hazards that cause injury, such as a broken bone
  • Hazards to health, such as noise

Type of Hazards

  • Physical e.g. a vehicle
  • Chemical e.g. carbon monoxide in exhaust fumes
  • Biological e.g. food poisoning
  • Ergonomic e.g. upper limb disorders from working at a keyboard
  • Psycho-social e.g. violence

It is important to consider the potential consequences and who could be harmed. For example with an electrical fault the consequences are both potential injury from the shock or a fire.

Step 2: Assess the Risk

This depends on the complexity of the operation. For simple processes it is often sufficient to award a straightforward:

  • Low
  • Medium
  • High

Risks are assessed both before and after controls are out into place.

Step 3: Develop Controls

Having determined what the hazards are, and to what extent they pose a risk these now can be considered under the following headings:

  • Eliminate the risk at source.
  • Substitute for a safer method or product.
  • Reduce the risk in a quantifiable way. A good example is the prolific use of centre tapped earth transformers for temporary power (the yellow boxes). This reduces the voltage risk from 230V to a safer 100V or below on the event floor.
  • Isolate from the hazard.
  • Control the risk.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are items such as hard hat and safety shoes. They are only effective if something goes wrong. A hard hat is only of use if something falls on your head. It also only protects you and not the person next to you unless they are wearing one too. It is far better to prevent the object falling in the first place.
  • Discipline is also a method on which there is far too much reliance. It is fairly self-evident that simply telling people not to do things that are unsafe and then punishing them when they do, is not an effective way of controlling risk.

Step 4: Implement Controls

This is the business of implementing controls on the event floor itself. It is worthwhile considering all the practical implications of control measures before they are put into place.

Fire Risk Assessment

Fire risk assessment is a very specific legal requirement for all European venues.
Typical aspects which would increase the fire risk would be:

  • Naked flame on stands (candles or gel burners)
  • Use of compressed or flammable gases on stands
  • Use of pyrotechnics, lasers and other stage effects
  • Cookery demonstrations
  • Exhibition of motor vehicles
  • Likelihood of illegal smoking in outfield areas or in built storage areas on stands
  • High levels of packaging waste
  • High numbers of complex structures.
  • Hot works during stand construction
  • Dressing of stock or Octonorm panels with untreated (non flame retardant) materials.

Rule Enforcement

  • Nexus Media Events Ltd is committed to ensuring these regulations are enforced consistently.
  • Due notice/warning will be issued in writing ONCE ONLY and if an Exhibitor continues to be in breach of a regulation after issue of a warning, Nexus Media Events Ltd will take all and any actions necessary