RISK ASSESSMENT – SPACE ONLY
All space only constructions have to complete the Risk Assessments and a Method Statement as a mandatory regulation.
Please see the guidelines 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. Any complex space only stand that does not submit a risk assessment, fire risk assessment and method statement will not be allowed to construct on-site.
Risk Assessment: Exhibitor Risk Assessment
Every exhibition stand is a miniature workplace and therefore needs a risk assessment.
Simple space only designs to either confirm that you have no significant risk or indicate how you intend to control it
This should be sufficient and can include the aspect of fire risk assessment.
For complex space only stands it is a little more complicated. You will have to produce a risk assessment and method statements for the safe erection and dismantling of your stand. You will also have to produce a fire risk assessment for the stand once it is in use. If you have any other activities on the stand, such as catering, this will also have to be covered by the risk assessment.
Download the Complex Safety File this includes fire risk assessment and method statement templates for completion.
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:
- Multiple contractors working in a single workplace
- Fall from working at heights and working on a live edge
- Slips, trips and falls on a level surface
- Manual handling, lifting or moving of heavy/awkward loads
- Falls on stairs or escalators
- Injury from electric shock
- Objects falling from height or loads falling from vehicles
- Impact injury from moving vehicles
- Injury from the use of work equipment e.g. circular saws
- Hanging wires
- Structural collapse of seating or an exhibition stand
- 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
- Alcohol and drug misuse related incidents
5 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 5: Monitor and Review
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
- Psychosocial 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:
Most event risk assessments require more detail. It is necessary to assess both the potential likelihood of an incident or accident and the potential severity if it does happen. A widely used format is shown below
|1. Very Unlikely||1. Trival|
|2. Unlikely||2. Minor|
|3. Likely||3. Major|
|4. Very Likely||4. Single Death or very serious life changing injury|
|5. Almost Inevitable||5. Mulit death or very serious life changing injury|
The template shows that we assess risk both before and after controls are put into place. Before controls, we are assessing what would happen if there were no controls. It is important when considering severity to assess the most likely outcome. For example, consider a rigging operative falling from 3m onto concrete. The operative could be killed or they could get away with no injuries. The most likely outcome however, would be a major injury such as a broken bone.
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. There is a point at which any operation is simply too risky and you must consider this. An alternative is to find a different approach. A good example of eliminating risk at source is a mother grid. It eliminates the risk of riggers falling from height by lowering the rig to the floor and carrying out a fix and hoist.
- Substitute for a safer method or product. A good example is the use of emulsion paints as a substitute for the more hazardous solvent paints in stand build, or at seated event substituting a glass bottle with a plastic bottle for drinks.
- 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. This is a common form of control at event build ups. Workers are isolated from the risk of falling objects when raising a lighting rig by taping off the area under the rig to prevent access.
- Control the risk. All too often this is the start point in many poor risk assessments. Notice how far down the order this is. The most common form of control on the event floor is the use of security and floor management. Another example is an agreed safe system for the lowering of stand panels (i.e. not just letting them fall!)
- 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. 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.
The example below shows the risk assessment of vehicle access. With no controls it is assessed to be 8, which is HIGH and unacceptable. After controls are put into place it is assessed to be 4, which is LOW and acceptable.
|Hazard||Consequence||Who is at Risk||P||S||R||Controls||P||S||R|
Egress of vehicles
|Impact injuries Collision||Staff|
Members of the Public
|2||4||8||Isolate pedestrians with barriers|
Competent traffic marshals to ensure even flow of traffic and marshalling of routes and cargo doors
Abide by house (venue) traffic rules
|1-4 LOW no further controls required|
|5-14 MED- Justify/review for each event day|
|15+ HIGH – Immediate action/further controls needed.|
An employer should do what is reasonable within the constraints of the available resources in terms of time, money and personnel. This is not a license to do nothing on the basis that it is too expensive, but should be the result of careful consideration. The key word here is ‘reasonable’.
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.
Step 5: Monitor and Review
It is important to monitor the event floor to ensure that prescribed controls are actually in place.
You also need a system of reviewing risk assessments. Event risk assessments have a natural review cycle in that a new assessment is required for each event. For routine operations every risk assessment should have a review date. Other times when risk assessments need to be reviewed are:
- When there has been an accident or incident
- When there is a significant change in personnel or process
- When there is a change in the law
- When monitoring reveals problems.
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.
Exhibitors will also need to complete a fire risk assessment. To keep it simple it is suggested that they fill in some form of return which either indicates that there is no risk, or acknowledges it, and includes it as part of the stand risk assessment.
Any stand which is a complex structure or space only stand which large numbers of people could gather will need a fire risk assessment simply because of the escape issue.
- 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.