Festival Season – Health and Safety the Glastonbury Way

Here is a recent article on how the event organisers at Glastonbury deal with health and safety management

“Months of planning has gone into looking after the safety and health of everyone at the five-day festival, which starts on Wednesday 24 June. Organisers also ensure those involved in preparations are kept out of harm’s way. Setting up work includes installing numerous temporary structures including stages for performers. It also includes sanitation, power and site services.

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’s (IOSH) Sports Grounds and Events Group visited the 1,100-acre site at Worthy Farm, Somerset, today to see how those plans are put into action.They heard a presentation at the Pyramid Stage from Festival Operations Director Tim Roberts and his safety and health team.

They then had a one-hour tour of the site – normally an award-winning dairy farm, which scooped the prestigious Gold Cup in 2014. The tour gave them a chance to review the temporary structures and facilities, paying particular attention to public and worker safety.The visit was intended to show visitors, IOSH members who have an interest in event safety, how organisers of one of the world’s largest outdoor festivals put systems in place to avoid incidents so they can now apply it to their own work. Tim Roberts said the systems they use at Glastonbury can be transferred to other events, no matter what size.He said that the public perception of Glastonbury is often one of a “crazy, unregulated environment” but the reality is far different.

He said: “It is a professional operation that is going into its 45th year of delivery. If it was anything else but a professional operation it wouldn’t have survived this long.”

In the lead up to the festival, as well as during it and after it, 45,000 people are involved in getting the site ready and clearing up.Mr Roberts said major challenges they face to health and safety include structural safety, fire safety and the weather. But the site has an excellent health and safety record, with only four RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations) incidents reported in 2014. Mr Roberts added: “We build, feed and entertain a city with no permanent infrastructure. I feel we have pretty good figures on health and safety when you take into account that we invite over a hundred thousand people onto the factory floor.”

Hannah Charlton, health and safety coordinator at the site, told delegates that planning for the festival is a year-round activity, with organisers already looking ahead to next year.She said: “We are always learning and improving what we do. We will have early conversations with contractors each year, in February and March, rather than waiting until the final moment on site when it may be harder to carry out any necessary remedial works or changes to design or operation.”

IOSH. (2015, June 19). Glastonbury Festival organisers show how they safeguard fans and staff. Retrieved July 15, 2015, from IOSH/Home/News: http://www.iosh.co.uk/News/Glastonbury-Festival-organisers-demonstrate-how-they-safeguard-music-fans-and-staff.aspx