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Leisure sector strategy 2012-15

Sector description

The Leisure sector encompasses a diverse set of activities, ranging from large public events and visitor attractions, through tour operators, circuses and theme parks, to children’s play and adventurous activities, such as horse riding and water sports.

Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires employers to ensure that the public are not harmed from the risks arising from their business activities. A key feature of this sector is the public interface with customers, participants - including children, and volunteers:

SME needs are intrinsic to this sector and will be incorporated into approaches to delivery, particularly those which provide customised guidance and support for individual industries.

Open farms

Open farms are commercial operations whose primary purpose is leisure / entertainment at which visitors are encouraged to have hands-on contact with livestock. There are several hundred open farms, with an additional 2000 working farms also offering access visits to schools or opening to the public at certain times of year, eg during the lambing season.

An estimated 5–10 million people visit open farms, with the majority being under 10 years old.
Due to the seasonal nature of their work, open farms employ casual staff and volunteers (some of who may be family members) who may not be aware of the safety and health risks they and the public face.

Key stakeholders

Safety and health issues

Many of the risks and characteristics associated with other parts of the leisure sector also apply to open farms. However, their prevalence is no greater than in the wider farming community and does not warrant specific or additional attention to that already received as part of the wider agriculture strategy.

Public safety is the key issue for open farms:

The Surrey incident was the largest outbreak of E.coli O157 linked to an open farm in the UK. The Health Protection Agency’s (HPA's) independent investigation committee, chaired by Professor George Griffin, concluded that the most likely causes were:

Legislation and regulation

HSE shares enforcement responsibilities with local authorities (LAs), although the majority of open farms are LA-enforced.

Four separate streams of legislation apply to health and safety hazards that can be present at open farms:

Other regulatory bodies have a role to play in controlling risks at open farms, including HPA, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Strategic regulatory and sector approach

A multi-agency group (including HSE and local government representation) is taking forward the 45 recommendations made in the Griffin Report and reports to the HPA board. The recommendations seek to address:

Industry stakeholders are best placed to increase industry competence and reduce the likelihood of another outbreak of infection:

Proportionate and sensitive regulation is required to enable the wider societal benefit arising from greater access to the farming environment. Joined up and effective engagement across regulators (HSE, LAs, HPA etc) is key to ensuring that risks are properly controlled, without imposing restrictions on public access or unnecessary burdens on business.

Aims for 2012-15

Leadership

Key industry stakeholders (eg the partners in Access to Farms) to promote good management of health and safety practices in open farms.

Competence

Wider perspective

Health and safety requirements at open farms are recognised to benefit those potentially at risk, while compliance is not perceived as disproportionately burdensome within the wider framework of regulation and societal expectations.

Events

The Events sector is a large and diverse industry, including exhibitions, sporting events, music festivals and concerts. Individual events can draw crowds in excess of 100,000 and attract high media attention. It is estimated that 350,000 – 500,000 people work in this sector, although this may be augmented by large numbers of volunteer, freelance and self-employed workers.

Key stakeholders

The sector has a large variety of stakeholders with varying influence and interest in health and safety performance. Greater understanding of the influence of these stakeholders will assist in improving the effectiveness of how the aims of the strategy are achieved.

Safety and health issues

Public safety is a key issue:

Risks to workers employed in constructing temporary stands and other large elements (eg TV screens) fall under the scope of the Construction sector strategy and are not considered here.

This strategy therefore focuses on the potential for a serious incident. The aim is for the events industry to continue to maintain high standards of health and safety through strong leadership and competent management.
Building on the success of HSG195 A guide to health, safety and welfare at music and similar events, HSE launched new event safety website in April 2012. The site contains up-to-date health and safety guidance aimed at helping organisers run events safely. Currently being promoted with and through key stakeholders, the new site is of critical importance because sector dutyholders widely recognise our guidance as the operating standard.
The intention is that HSE will be able to link the site to the industry’s new comprehensive event management guide when it becomes available. This work is vital in the transfer of the leadership of health and safety management in this sector. It is also important in increasing the competency of those in the management and regulation of events

Legislation and regulation

HSE has operational policy responsibility for events and shares enforcement responsibilities with LAs. LAs are also responsible for issuing entertainments licences, the conditions of which contain a significant public safety element.

Traditional events organised and run by volunteers, such as Gloucester cheese rolling and local fetes, are not work activities and are therefore mostly outside the scope of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act. They may, however, be subject to LA licensing schemes.

Strategic regulatory and sector approach

This strategy recognises the importance of proportionate and enabling health and safety management – especially at the smaller end of event management – and that over-zealous precautions are not erroneously blamed on health and safety law.

HSE’s role will be to support LA colleagues and the industry in achieving the sector's aims, while continuing to carry out investigations and proportionate enforcement, where necessary.

Aims for 2012-15

Leadership

To encourage and embed strong health and safety leadership in the management of events.

Competence

Event organisers and employers are sufficiently competent to identify and proactively manage their risks; employees understand the risks they face and their role in dealing with them.

Securing justice

Regulators are competent to fulfil their statutory obligations and take proportionate and enabling enforcement action, where necessary.

Fairgrounds

The fairground industry is split into two distinct parts: fixed attractions (eg theme parks) and travelling fairs:

Employment is mainly seasonal, with travelling fairs using family or casual labour and theme parks employing staff on 6–8 month contracts. Industry demographics are heavily tilted towards young people with high annual turnover, resulting in variable staff competence. During the summer months, theme parks employ approximately 8200 workers, but this shrinks by up to 40% during the winter. Numbers employed on travelling fairs are difficult to gauge, given the almost exclusive use of family and casual labour, but is estimated at approximately 25,000 workers.

Although small numbers of highly skilled engineers and technicians exist, the sector as a whole is largely unskilled. Employees are trained for individual roles, with some theme parks operating NVQ level qualifications. Training is negligible on travelling fairs, whose traders are primarily only knowledgeable about the operation of their own rides. There is a relatively high degree of illiteracy among some operators of travelling fairs, raising the need for alternative approaches to written health and safety guidance.

Key stakeholders

The sector is strongly represented by a number of influential trade organisations, including:

Safety and health issues

The fairgrounds sector has considerable potential for catastrophic incidents. Modern rides accelerate large numbers of passengers to very high speeds, subjecting them to high levels of 'G' force at heights in excess of 30 metres. Advances in technology have lead to high-speed rides that can be easily transported from site to site and quickly set up, meaning that risks relating to extreme rides are no longer confined to fixed theme parks.

Poor maintenance of rides and ancillary equipment, inadequate training of staff and poor supervision of operators are common factors in fairground incidents. This is exacerbated by the seasonal and casual characteristics of the workforce.

Legislation and regulation

The industry is regulated by HSE and the Amusement Devices Safety Council (ADSC), which operates a self-policing scheme (Amusement Devices Inspection Procedures Scheme (ADIPS)) for the design and inspection of rides. ADSC uses self-employed ride inspectors, while HSE's National Fairgrounds Inspection Team (NFIT) undertakes regulatory interventions via risk and performance based proactive inspections and the investigation of accidents, incidents and complaints.

Reported accident rates on fairgrounds have shown a steady reduction following the introduction of both NFIT and ADIPS in 2001, with employee major injuries falling. Non-fatal accidents to the public have also fallen.

LAs and their associated Safety Awareness Groups are becoming more proactive in the management of public events, including travelling fairs. Many LAs require ADIPS registration of rides and proof of public liability insurance as prerequisites for accepting travelling fairs on to Council land.

Strategic regulatory and sector approach

The strategy relies heavily on maintaining a robust and effective inspection scheme (eg ensuring competence of ride inspectors, ensuring machinery safety modifications are carried out etc), reinforced by HSE's regulatory activity through NFIT.

Aims for 2012-15

Securing justice

To secure immediate and sustained compliance with health and safety law in the fairground industry through appropriate enforcement action, holding to account those found to fail in their health and safety responsibilities.

Competence

People at all levels within the fairground industry are competent to identify and proactively manage risks to their and others’ health and safety.

Avoiding catastrophe

To reduce the likelihood of a low frequency–high consequence failure of an occupied ride.

Updated 2014-05-06