Communication should be a top priority at any event. Why is it so important to have slick Health & Safety operations?

Large outdoor events are becoming more and more popular; we wrote ‘Health and Safety at outdoor events – how can i improve communications’ recently but we wanted to delve in a little deeper into the problems that can arise with poor communication.

Picture the scene:

Bob, Davie, Mary and Jane along with 300+ other people, register online and pay an entry fee to take part in a 10k running event. The event itself follows a densely wooded track and has participants jumping over some obstacles, wading through water and scaling walls.

Fast forward 3 months; Bob, Davie, Mary and Jane all arrive in a field at the edge of the wooded track. They are there with the 300 other mud hungry people, full of porridge, energy and gusto.

Everyone is at the start line; stretching, star jumping, whooping and hollering

BANG!! The starter gun fires and everyone is off like a rat up a drainpipe, everyone scatters. People are determined to win, leaving their friends to eat dirt.


All is going well until the over exuberant Davie falls off the top of a wall 3k in, and knocks himself unconscious.

  • Who is going to help him?
  • Who is going to administer first aid?
  • How are they going to find out who he is?
  • How do they summon help?

Ok, so when he registered Davies name was entered online but that was as far as it went.

  • There is no way to let anyone know his identification.
  • There are plenty people around but nobody has any first aid training.
  • Everyone is in the middle of the woods with no mobile signal or means of communication.
Health and safety at outdoor events - why is communication so important?
What plans should be put in place?

As the organiser, it is your duty to plan, manage and monitor your event to make sure everybody involved are not exposed to any risks. Furthermore, top notch Health and Safety plans are essential to any kind of event.

Some things to consider:

Safety plan; how big is your event? Do you know the number of potential atendees? What is the planned duration of  your event? Where is your event going to be held?

Risk assessment; as the organiser you need to carry out a risk assessment.  Help can be found at on the Health and Safety Executive website

Speak to other people; venue owners, other event organisers and where applicable emergency services and local authorities

Get the right people for the job; Administration, stewards and medics are essential to any outdoor event

Provide adequate facilities; first aid, toilets and food and drink facilities are the bare minimum at any event

Fail safe communications; consider your location and how you are going to communicate in the event of an emergency

What communication solution will you use?

Would you use mobile phone? In this day and age they are very accessible and easy to use.

Consider what you would use if your event was in a location with poor or no signal?

Mobile phone versus two way radio

Without a reliable communication solution, Health and Safety becomes substandard and puts organisers and participants at risk. 

Oh, Davie was fine by the way; a mild concussion and a wee bruise to his ego but apart from that he will live to run again 🙂




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