Health and safety for events
This page provides some resources and information to help you meet your obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act and associated regulations.
The Act's purpose
The Health and Safety at Work Act (the Act) and regulations provide for the management of health and safety for:
- paid staff working at your event
- event goers
- those in the vicinity of your event.
You need to fully understand your obligations, and have systems and plans in place to meet these obligations at all stages of event planning and delivery. Consider employing the services of a health and safety expert and/or taking legal advice to make sure you meet all your obligations.
Here are some resources to help with health and safety planning for your event.
This checklist may be a useful prompt for site-related health and safety matters, including crowd control.
WorkSafe is New Zealand’s workplace health and safety regulator and it publishes guidance on health and safety matters, including for volunteers.
The New Zealand Events Association (NZEA) is an independent organisation that provides advice and resources to the events industry.
The full text of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and associated regulations can be found on the New Zealand Legislation website.
Crowd management planning
Venues are large, complicated spaces. The management of crowds within them requires:
- excellent teamwork
- clear communication
- coordination between those responsible for the overall organisation and those dealing with the crowds face to face.
Developing your crowd safety management plan
An important responsibility of an event safety management team is to gather core data to inform a crowd safety management plan.
The team must:
- research the types of visitor that are expected and anticipate likely crowd behaviour
- collate and assess information (if available) about the health and safety records of previous events at the same venue
- liaise with outside organisations with extensive knowledge and experience, such as the police and emergency services
- conduct a risk assessment to work out if current crowd control arrangements are sufficient, and change them if necessary
- inspect the venue and review crowd safety arrangements at regular intervals
- set targets for crowd management, eg if queues extend past a particular point, specify that another service point should be opened.
Reducing the risk of overcrowding
You need to put the following measures in place to reduce the dangers of overcrowding, at both indoor and outdoor venues:
- enough trained and competent stewards and marshals to at least satisfy minimum legal requirements
- turnstiles — limiting the number and positions of turnstiles can control the flow and build-up of spectators, but too few can lead to a corresponding build-up on the other side
- barriers for directing movement
- adequate, evenly-spaced facilities such as toilets and refreshment areas
- clear signposting
- a simple and clearly audible public address system
- enough space for crowd access/egress.