The height of safe practice

Supplier and ContractorsEvents and ShowsOrganisersVenues+-
Construction-new-resized.jpg

Andrew Harrison, ESSA director on continuing to build a robust, safety-first, working culture in events and exhibitions.

 

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) tells us that an average of 50 workers in the UK die, and 8,700 are seriously injured every year in falls from working at height.


Although the numbers are steadily falling with each year, many deaths and injuries from falls are eminently preventable.


At a recent exhibition held in the UK, inspectors from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) performed an announced, scheduled safety inspection during the construction phase of the event. As always, the HSE conducted its inspection cordially and professionally, but in the course of their observations, the inspectors became very concerned at the number of contractors working unsafely at height. The inspector we spoke to after the exhibition, who had been part of the inspecting team, estimated that there was ’70 per cent per cent actionable misuse’ among contractors working at height.


The inspectors were judging contractors against the HSE’s regulations, and any contractors found operating outside the guidelines were counselled on working safely at height and given a HSE contact card. As in previous exhibition and event inspections the HSE inspectors were more concerned with raising awareness of working at height than instigating any formal proceedings, and none of the ‘actionable failings’ that they observed were taken any further. The HSE has been very supportive in this respect.


Nevertheless, a 70 per cent incidence of unsafe working at height is a very concerning figure. Some gentle probing revealed that the overwhelming majority of infringements were made by non-ESSA members, but that shouldn’t be the cause of any complacency.


Think about your own personnel, working at height, at an exhibition or event tomorrow. Would their normal practice pass an unannounced HSE inspection? If there is any doubt in your mind whatsoever, and indeed even if there isn’t, it’s worth refreshing your memory of the HSE’s essential guidance on the subject here - www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg401.pdf. If you have the time and inclination, the full 2006 Work At Height Regulations (WAHR 2006), are available here - www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2005/735/contents/made.


For event suppliers and contractors, the regulations stipulate straightforward and common sense practice, but without regularly revisiting them, it’s easy for unsafe practices to creep in over time. Compliance with the regulations shouldn’t compromise your speed or efficiency, and in many cases merely requires the personnel involved to be properly trained and advised on the use of ladders and stepladders.


This isn’t a wake up call – I believe we’re all very aware of what is required, but the sheer number of transgressions at the exhibition mentioned above should serve as an important reminder that, until now, the industry has been permitted an adjustment period. However we believe that the HSE will now lean increasingly towards enforcement and sanctions for transgressions, rather than advice and counselling. The HSE will continue to conduct its inspections, both announced and unannounced, but the ‘bedding in’ period, allowed for the industry to accommodate CDM 2015, is essentially at an end.


In preparation for this shift, the Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA) is working with its sister associations, the Association of Event Venues (AEV) and the Association of Event Organisers (AEO) on an industry-wide campaign to drive awareness of safety and working at height in particular. We want to continue to build a robust, safety-first, working culture in events, and I sincerely hope that all ESSA members will lend their support and help to spread this message.

Andrew Harrison
Posted by Andrew Harrison
PopularComments
Twitter Facebook Google+ LinkedIn

Related Stories

StocExpo Europe celebrates successful 2017 edition  

StocExpo Europe, the international event for the tank terminal industry, is celebrating an eight per cent rise in visitors following its 2017 Rotterdam edition.

Making Pharmaceuticals to move to Ricoh Arena

Pharmaceutical exhibition and conference Making Pharmaceuticals is moving to the Ricoh Arena this month, and is set to be the largest event of its kind to date.

Somerset House opens up its largest event space  

Somerset House has announced it will be throwing the doors open to its largest and most exclusive indoor space this autumn, previously used for exhibitions such as Valentino: Master of Couture and Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!

Others on EN

I'm a believer

I'm a believer

Sam Cande, group commercial director at Centaur Media, says no secret sales technique can compete with belief in a product.
Happy to help

Happy to help

Customer service can make or break a show, warns Media 10 event director Nathan Garnett.
Smoke and mirrors

Smoke and mirrors

James Moffat, head of event websites at LiveBuzz, shines a light on the smoke and mirrors surrounding SEO for websites.

CONFEX 2017 LIVE

Most Read Stories

I'm a believer

I'm a believer

Sam Cande, group commercial director at Centaur Media, says no secret sales technique can compete with belief in a product.
Lourda Derry: Making the connection

Lourda Derry: Making the connection

Lourda Derry, director of Easyfairs UK addresses the science behind operations and the profile of our audiences.
Steve Monnington: The Dealmaker in March

Steve Monnington: The Dealmaker in March

Steve Monnington of Mayfield Media Strategies, runs the rule over the latest global exhibition deals.

Latest News

StocExpo Europe celebrates successful 2017 edition  

StocExpo Europe celebrates successful 2017 edition  

StocExpo Europe, the international event for the tank terminal industry, is celebrating an eight per cent rise in visitors following its 2017 Rotterdam edition.
Making Pharmaceuticals to move to Ricoh Arena

Making Pharmaceuticals to move to Ricoh Arena

Pharmaceutical exhibition and conference Making Pharmaceuticals is moving to the Ricoh Arena this month, and is set to be the largest event of its kind to date.
Somerset House opens up its largest event space  

Somerset House opens up its largest event space  

Somerset House has announced it will be throwing the doors open to its largest and most exclusive indoor space this autumn, previously used for exhibitions such as Valentino: Master of Couture and Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!

Latest Features

My Working Life by David Chalmers

My Working Life by David Chalmers

The senior marketing director, Europe, at Cvent discusses how he got into the industry, his inspirational children and why he’s called The Doctor.
Feeding the five thousand

Feeding the five thousand

Exhibition catering and bars have undergone a transformation in recent years, and it’s not over yet.
A giant awakens

A giant awakens

From flying foxes to show launches, Ed Tranter tells the story of the unconventional world of MA Exhibitions.

Latest Galleries

EN Awards 2017

EN Awards 2017

The best of the exhibition industry were out in force on 30 March at ExCeL London for the 11th annual EN Awards.
Natural & Organic Products Europe 2017

Natural & Organic Products Europe 2017

The 2017 Natural & Organic Products Europe celebrated its 21st edition earlier this month (2-3 April) as well as attracting its biggest attendance yet to ExCeL London.
EN Awards 2017 Winners

EN Awards 2017 Winners

The EN Awards are over for another year. While achievements were recognised and awards were won, we managed to catch a glimpse of the moments the winners won their awards on the night of 30 March at ExCeL London. Let’s all have a look.