Event Safety - Frequently asked questions
In addition to health and safety law, some events may also require licenses from local authorities. You can get advice on Licensing from your local council and/or the Department of Culture, Media and Sport / Scottish Government, who are responsible for developing entertainment Licensing law, which is administered by Licensing authorities. Find out more at:
Street parties and small fetes
Find out how to plan a small party and what information your council will need to know by going to GOV.UK.
Public welfare and environmental issues at events
Where can I find information to help me with public welfare and environmental protection issues at events?
There are many activities at events that fall outside HSE’s areas of responsibility. These include the provision of toilets and medical care for the audience, a wholesome water supply, food safety, lost persons, child protection and pollution control, plus many equality issues. These matters are covered by powers held by other national or local government bodies.
Find out more:
- Local authority
- Food safety
- Environment Agency
- Scottish Environmental Protection Agency
- Water supply
'The Events Industry Forum has also written updated industry guidance about these matters.
Local authorities are generally responsible for enforcing health and safety legislation at events. Where an event is actually organised by a local authority, HSE is normally responsible for enforcement.
HSE has enforcement responsibility for the following activities at all events:
- the erection and dismantling of temporary demountable structures (TDS) like stages and grandstands (except for small marquees and similar tents which are enforced by local authorities)
- radio and television broadcasting
In certain circumstances, arrangements can be made to transfer enforcement responsibilities between HSE and local authorities.
HSE's Enforcement Policy Statement sets out the principles which HSE inspectors and local authority environmental health officers should follow when making enforcement decisions. In particular, any action taken by regulators should be proportionate to the risk.
Local authorities can call their Safety Advisory Groups (SAG) by different names, for example in Scotland they are known as Event Planning and Operations Groups. These are non-statutory groups of multi-agency representatives formed to promote safety at public events.
Typically, local authority SAGs exist to:
- promote high levels of safety and welfare at events by giving advice and guidance
- promote good practice in safety and welfare planning for events
- ensure events have a minimal adverse impact on the community
HS(G)195 has been replaced by the new Events Industry Forum 'Purple Guide'. HSE has provided a foreword for the workplace health and safety parts of the new guide, which may go further than you need to do to comply with the law.
Anyone in doubt about how workplace Health and Safety law applies to an event can look at HSE's website, which provides comprehensive health and safety guidance for organisations to help them comply with the law. Local Authority regulators may also find our guidance a useful benchmarking tool.