Ensuring the safety of event staff and delegates is both a moral and legal duty for event organisers and venues, with a range of considerations across all aspects of an event such as medical cover, welfare, and hygiene.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made us more conscious than ever of the necessity to keep surroundings clean and properly sanitised. Proper sanitisation is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of diseases and look after your delegates’ health. Dr. Lisa Ackerley, Chartered Environmental Health Practitioner and Director of Medical and Scientific Engagement and Hygiene at Reckitt, helped devise bespoke hygiene programmes for COP26, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, and the Platinum Jubilee Pageant.
“Simply cleaning at the start and end of events may miss the point that spaces could continue to become contaminated throughout the day,” Dr. Ackerley states. “When it comes to large-scale events where viruses and bacteria can spread more quickly, it’s important to focus on hygiene practices that are effective, but also time and cost-efficient.”
The key areas to focus on are those frequently come into contact with: “Areas to consider include cafeterias, food stalls, restrooms (door handles, taps, toilet flush handles, cubicle locks), locker rooms (door handles), grab handles and, seat arms – all need to be cleaned and disinfected at key times to assist in breaking the chain of germ transmission. It is important that cleaning protocols are supported by prominent signage in strategic locations with messaging that nudges people to wash their hands regularly. For example, placing a ‘wash your hands’ message on the interior of a bathroom door so an individual is reminded of good hygiene practices even before they leave the cubical.
“Adopting targeted hygiene practices at large events supports the delivery of timesaving and labour-efficient solutions. As part of this approach, organisers need to ensure their teams receive hygiene training to explain the science behind the hygiene protocols they are working to deliver and to stress the importance of hand hygiene in helping to reduce the spread of bacteria and viruses.”
For events where restroom or accommodation facilities aren’t available, event organisers will have to find a supplier to provide these necessities. Benjamin Rothwell, Business Development Manager of Bunkabin, details why it isn’t only the delegates’ welfare that organisers must consider when planning an event, but that of the staff, speakers, and other providers as well.
“Portable accommodation is essential for workers who do not have access to good welfare facilities onsite, or those located away from urban areas with amenities,” Benjamin tells us. “These portable units allow easy access to the facilities they need. It is a myth that portable cabins do not compare to alternatives such as hotel stays; with vast improvements within the portable building sector and modern technology, portable solutions offer many of the benefits of permanent alternatives, without the need to travel. Bunkabin is able to supply modern welfare and ensuite sleeper units which can be located nearly anywhere, from cities to the countryside. “
It is against the law in the UK to operate without providing suitable facilities so operating from a location or venue without access to toilets is not an option: “These facilities are essential for meeting welfare and health and safety requirements mandated by the UK government and can save events staff and organisers time and money when travelling to meet these needs. Whether your needs are short or long-term, portable accommodation providers can offer a better experience for everyone.”
Accidents happen, and it’s important to have the proper emergency aid resources on hand to take care of any illnesses or injuries should they occur. Point To Point Services is an Independent Ambulance Service & Event Medical Care Provider, Managing Director is Simon Jenkins.
“First aid providers don’t currently require registration,” Simon explains. “However, should a participant need to be transported off-site, then registration would be required. The requirements for medical cover at events are set out in the purple guide (Thepurpleguide.co.uk).”
Using first aid providers with thorough training and proper registration is vital. “The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the governing body for all health care providers in England. From hospitals to care homes, ambulance services to dentists, and everything in between. This is to ensure these services are operating to the highest levels of patient care.”
Given the unprecedented pressure the NHS ambulance service is currently facing, hiring a private ambulance service for your event could be a good idea, both to reduce pressure on the NHS and to avoid long wait times for your delegates. However, only registered medical care providers are able to provide this service: “A change took place in 2016, which means it is now a requirement to be CQC registered in order to have the ability to transfer to the hospital without relying on the NHS at all. However, even with the smallest, low-risk events, and with the pressures growing on the local ambulance services, event providers need to work with their medical providers to plan dealing with injuries and illness.”