As the event organiser, you have a statutory and common law responsibility for the health, safety and welfare of your staff, contractors, and attendees.
You must provide suitable medical cover and carry out a specific event medical risk assessment to include:
- Event type
- Potential major incidents
- Site hazards - structures, car parks, exhibitors, demonstrations, amusements and attractions
- Attendees – i.e. children, the elderly and the disabled
- Crowd control, stewarding, venue capacity, access and egress points
- Provision for the emergency services
- First aid facilities
- Fire safety
Provision of suitable medical resources (e.g. first aiders, paramedics, ambulances) is your legal duty and should be based upon national published guidance and your risk assessment. The guidance states that for:
- Up to 500 members of the public requires 2 first aiders and 1 first aid point
- Up to 3,000 requires 6 first aiders, 1 first aid point and 1 ambulance
- Up to 5,000 requires 8 first aiders, 1 first aid point and 1 ambulance
- Up to 10,000 requires 13 first aiders, 2 first aid point and 2 ambulances
You should outsource your requirement to a competent and certified company, registered with the appropriate national health and safety body, able to meet all your event’s demands. They’ll understand the need to maintain patient dignity, privacy and confidentiality when dealing with an incident or injury, and information sharing. An events first aider needs prior training or experience in first aid at public and crowded events, not just for the workplace which is very different.
Booked well ahead, the provider must have a “Duty Order” detailing how they’ll operate and a contingency plan for potential major incidents that they’ll take control of. These plans should be approved by the Ambulance Service and include how people will be transported to hospital if there’s a major emergency. You’ll need to preserve a safe route for emergency vehicles and also consider emergency medical helicopter landings for major injuries.
First aiders need to be appropriately equipped and have suitable facilities to work in. A competent service will have their own set-up, including a static walk-in first aid base, an ambulance, and roaming/patrolling vehicles that can leave site to attend hospital with casualties.
In the unlikely event that a person dies at the event, you must take certain steps in conjunction with your professional first aiders, including:
- Informing the Police and the relevant national health and safety body
- Taking Police advice on continuing or cancelling the event
Talk to your insurers for the correct legal cover for any public or employer’s liability arising.
All events carry inherent risks, which can be compounded by the venue or the numbers of the public attending, as well as other factors. Conferences and corporate events should be more straightforward than crowded outdoor events but, if numbers of attendees are high, your medical cover need will to proportionally increase, so getting it right in advance of the event is critical.