Bonfire Night is quickly approaching, meaning the night skies will soon be filled with whizzing lights, sparkles and bangs. For many it represents a time of celebration and fun, with a high number of companies and organisations hosting a fireworks event to bring together employees and boost morale. Yet Bonfire Night also presents the potential for danger where there is a lack of planning to mitigate the hazards involved. Unless your event is being run by a professional company, your organisation will need to take account of health and safety regulations and also legal issues. It requires organisations to act responsibly.
Here is my advice on how to run a safe and enjoyable event:
Before the event:
- Appoint the right person to manage the event and handle the fireworks. Ensure they are well trained. Think about appointing on site stewards who will marshal the crowd and keep them away from danger.
- Ensure there is enough space to hold the event, including a safety zone that keeps the crowd away from the fireworks and bonfire. This zone will require marking out and signage instructing the crowd where they are allowed to go.
- Provide a good emergency response to any accidents that may occur at the event, including the close proximity of trained first aiders and a method for alerting the emergency services.
- Make sure you obtain fireworks form a reputable supplier and that they are certified as safe.
On the day of the event:
- Check the site and weather conditions. Ensure the site is well laid out, including appropriate signage and markings.
- Restrict access to the site to all but those connected directly to the event, such as marshals and controllers.
- Check the structure of the bonfire to ensure it is sturdy and robust. Inspect inside the bonfire to see whether animals are dwelling within it, or children are using it as a play shelter.
The morning after:
- nspect the site and make sure any fires have extinguished.
- Dispose of use fireworks safety.
It is important that adequate planning for an event such as this takes place. A risk assessment would require to be undertaken to ensure such matters as those detailed above are identified and completed with identified control measures as component aspects of safe systems of work to achieve these ends.
Public liability insurance would also need to be in place to make provision for claims as a result of any misadventure that comes about to spectators as a result of the organiser’s activities at such an event.