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Talking the Talk or Walking the Walk?

It was only this morning whilst trying to explain to a client that Risk Assessments are a legal requirement for any event that I was brought back to my experiences over the last month – in particular now that the UK event space has picked up the CDM2015 requirements from the construction trade.

I don't wish to dwell on the details of the requirements so much (we've discussed this in the past, Lee Holloway has summed up some of the key points and ESSA are hosting a roadshow with Simon Garrett– both Simon and Lee were expert panellists for our own CDM information evening) but since 6th April 2015 we've been involved in some projects all of which now fall under the new H&S banner for the build-up and teardown.

At the end of April, GMG Network were contracted by Hamilton Rentals to manage their provision of AV at press centres across two sites for the Virgin Money London Marathon (VMLM). The first site was a traditional hotel event space – staging, sound systems and plasma screens. Nothing too out of the ordinary and as a restricted site, with plenty of time and few suppliers concurrently on site, H&S was easy enough to manage with the risk assessment and a responsible approach to work.
Marathon press conference.JPG

Later in the week the press centre was relocated to a temporary marquee next to the Mall. This was a much more involved event with marquee construction and forklift movement happening alongside our own work. Even without the CDM requirements, it could legitimately be described as a construction site. As you would expect, VMLM had appointed a site manager to oversee the space alongside Capita who had responsibility for the whole course. Safety boots and high vis were mandatory yet after a short initial toolbox talk with the staff I'd consider it one of the most relaxed spaces I've worked in – the management hierarchy was clear and everyone had their part to play in making it a safe and productive environment.
Marathon Press Conference - Marquee.JPG

Conversely, at the start of May we were working in a well-known London Exhibition Centre, and whilst PPE was mandatory on site it became clear that nobody was in a position to enforce such a rule. It didn't feel like an unsafe environment but certainly the hierarchy of control wasn't as clear. The end client not on site until late in the afternoon, production and venue representatives working together but each with a differing agenda to the client, the venue and ultimately their own employers. Clients should really be outlining their principal contractors to clarify situations like these, but who is there to advise them?

Hamilton write succinctly in their H&S policy "We welcome any process on-site that protects the safety of the workforce."

With the advent of the much-discussed CDM2015 regulations and awareness increasing, I think that it's time for people to stop talking about health and safety requirements and begin acting upon them.

For further information contact:
John Gibson
T: +44 (0) 20 3713 0032
T: @TheGMGNetwork