Exhibition health and safety is extremely important and as an exhibitor, you have a vital role to play in ensuring that full compliance is in place around your display. Before you even start to showcase your product or promote your brand exhibition organisers will require a risk assessment to be completed before you can wow the crowds.
If you employ or contract out work on your stand – including stand staff and stand building contractors – you are deemed to be their employer. Therefore, UK Health and Safety legislation states that you have a responsibility to the health, safety and welfare of all employees.
But where do your exhibition display stands fall within the myriad of health and safety rules? Well, essentially modular display stands are mobile workplaces. They are places that your team work, customers view and, in many cases, people actively interact with. Therefore, they need to be covered by relevant health and safety legislation
Event health & safety before the event
Before booking yourself into an event, you need to consider whether you plan to build the exhibition stand yourself or if you are going to employ a contractor.
At Nomadic, we design our modular display stands so they can be easily self-built however if you decide to do this you will need to submit the relevant Health and Safety regulation forms yourself.
For larger more complex displays or for clients who have limited time or resources we have a dedicated exhibition stand Installation team. As a result, we will handle the health and safety documentation for the build as well as the breakdown, but you will be responsible for any H&S regarding your event display whilst the show is in progress.
Event risk assessment requirements
The detail of the risk assessment will be led by the complexity and size of the display. A smaller display for example will possibly present a far lesser risk than a more complex and larger exhibition display.
When creating your risk assessment, you may find that the venue requests additional information, a fire risk assessment for example or information relating to display stand structure – your Exhibitor Manual should provide details of what is expected.
Check this over more than once to ensure you do not miss anything. Once you are confident that you are fully aware of what the venue expects from you, ensure you communicate with your exhibition stands supplier to ensure you have everything covered. They can then work with the combined briefing of what you want and what the venue needs to ensure maximum compliance is met.
Once your stand is built and the relevant checks have been made by your stand builder you should look at what your company already has in place concerning events and exhibitions.
Your company will already have a Health and Safety policy in place, but it may not cover temporary workspaces such as exhibitions. It might seem like unnecessary admin, but it’s important to draw up a risk assessment that specifically covers your time at events and exhibitions. There may be additional hazards in exhibition venues that are not in the usual workplace and it is these that, if ignored could present a significant danger to you, your team and the visitors to your display.
The Risk Assessment should cover all activities taking place during the installation and dismantling of the stand(where being done by yourself), as well as activities taking place during the open period of the show.
Considerations for event risk assessments
As mentioned above, the risk assessment will require details relating to the installation and dismantling of the stand unless you have requested the Nomadic team to do this for you. It will also include anything about the use of the stand during the event.
Our list below shows what should be included in the risk assessment for both the installation and breakdown as well as during the event itself. You should look at all the possible hazards and who could be harmed as a result of them. You can then make each one of these its own page of the risk assessment detailing the who, what, when, where and why for each one as well as the level of potential risk each may pose. Particular items to consider are:
- What equipment is required to get the display to the hall? Forklifts or cranes.
- What contractors are going to be on your stand and what construction work will they be carrying out?
- What equipment will be required to set up the stand?– i.e. ladders or scaffolding
- What electrical work will be carried out?
- Will contractors be using power tools?
- Consider fire regulations on the material being used?
- Will there be refreshments on your stand visitors?
- Will you be demonstrating products or providing any activities on your stand?
Assess the level of risk for each category
For each of the above assess the level and likelihood of risk on a scale from very unlikely to very likely and the severity of the risk from minor to serious.
As an example, if we took the last item on the list above. You should expand the assessment of this category into sections. What are you demonstrating? How often are you demonstrating? Where are you demonstrating it? Who is demonstrating it? Some of these will pose a minor and unlikely risk, a fully trained member of your team for example is at less risk than an untrained member. What you are demonstrating though may move into moderate severity of risk but still an unlikelihood of that risk happening. In some cases, depending on the venue, your stand and the audience, you could see the other categories being used.
Where risks and severity are high, action will need to be taken and you will need to develop controls to eliminate the risk.
Developing and implementing controls from a risk assessment
Where risk is high you need to consider options to eliminate it. This may mean you need to use a different construction method or employ more people. You may need to substitute a product or provide extra protective equipment for staff. Whether that be first aid kits or certain clothing. You may need to alter how you present or perhaps how many people you allow around your stand.
One element that is often forgotten at the start of the show is to brief staff. It is important to tell your staff of any risks to the visitors or themselves before the show and this may need to continue throughout the event.
Make sure you record everything and circulate information to staff in writing where necessary so that you have everything covered. To further enhance the chances to minimise risk and severity of risk, include an incident book and first aid kit within your exhibition display stand. Staff training pre-show can be the difference between achievement or accident!
Review your event risk assessment
With the best will and intention things do sometimes go wrong. Make sure you spend time reviewing and learning from your experience to make sure the next event is free from worry.
All venues are different and present different challenges and have different rules and regulations so don’t be afraid to ask questions to the venue or check with other exhibitors what they have discovered on their risk assessment.
Should you be looking for a team of event and exhibition experts that can help you get your show the way you want it to be, Contact Us. With years of experience across a variety of event types, the Nomadic Display team can make your exhibition the highlight of the event. With pop up stands as well as branded kiosk advertising screens that are full of interaction, we can make your brand the talk of the event