Festival Safety: Your Guide to Staying Safe as a Lone Worker this Festival Season

It’s that time of year again where people of all ages are enjoying the sun and possibly attending some of the many festivals happening all over the country.

It’s no secret that these festivals can often pose threats to the attendees, something which many newspapers, websites and police forces try to mitigate by launching campaigns aimed at keeping the attendees aware and safe. But what about the lone workers at these events? What threats are they faced with? And how can we reduce the risks?

Many workers at these festivals are often volunteers or temporary workers hired just for the event. However, it is not uncommon to also see police patrolling these events as an extra precaution to ensure the safety of the attendees. At 2017’s Notting Hill Carnival, The Independent reported that 31 police officers experienced injuries due to acts of violence, such as objects thrown at them, when simply monitoring the general safety at the event. These incidents are not uncommon, so it is important to know the risks and know how to manage them safely and effectively.

Common Risks to Lone Workers & How to Manage Them:

Trips and Falls

Between 2016-2017, slips, trips and falls were the cause of 29% of non-fatal injuries within the UK workplace, making it the most common reason for injury, as reported by HSE. When lone working at a festival it is likely the worker will have to manoeuvre around cables and equipment; they may also have to combat muddy, slippery surfaces depending on where the festival is being hosted and the likelihood of rain in the UK. Because of these factors it is important to be well-equipped with suitable footwear and a torch to see when in poorly lit areas. Consider carrying a personal safety device, so that help is easily obtained if a serious injury were to occur due to a trip or fall.

Aggressive Behaviour

Festivals are normally heavily alcohol fuelled, which can result in some people becoming irritable and, in some cases, aggressive. When this happens, it is often down to the worker to handle the situation and to either calm the individual down or escort them from the premises. Below are a few tips to help with handling aggressive individuals and how to keep yourself safe in the process:

Stay Safe – Your safety is priority. If you are not comfortable in the situation then do not attempt to handle it on your own. Seek help from a supervisor or colleague if necessary and they will contact the emergency services if the situation escalates further.

Stay Calm – When faced with aggressive or verbally abusive behavior, it is a common reaction to want to fight back. Doing this only escalates the situation and can make the individual harder to reason with.  Instead, do the opposite, remain calm and talk to them coolly. Then you will avoid escalation and be able to make better judgements and assess the situation properly.

Keep it Impersonal – As mentioned before, many of these aggressors will be intoxicated and so it is important not to take any of their comments to heart. This will also help you to remain calm. However, if the situation is escalating and becoming violent then make sure you seek back-up immediately.

Fire Safety

It is the responsibility of employers to provide information on the relevant fire safety procedures that are in place at the site. There will usually be one or more nominated fire safety marshals that will be on hand to help manage any incidents that occur. However, it is always good to have a basic knowledge of fire safety as there may be situations when lone working where help is not easily obtained.

Fire Escapes – The top priority is to keep yourself and the attendees safe. If a major incident were to occur, it is important to know where the fire escapes are to be able to direct people to the nearest fire escape or place of safety as soon as possible.

Raising the Alarm – It is important to be aware of the procedure of raising an alarm in case of a fire that could potentially become widespread and cause injury to people.

Be Proactive – Prevention is best. Keep your eyes open to potential risks by making sure that combustible materials are kept away from sources of heat to avoid a fire happening in the first place.

Fire-Fighting Equipment – Know where you can access fire-fighting equipment if necessary such as extinguishers, fire blankets and hose reels to put out minor fires.

Call the Emergency Services – If the fire cannot be easily dealt with and could pose a great risk of injury then ensure you follow your fire safety training and if necessary, call the emergency services. They are the experts and have the training to be able to deal with such situations.

Remember to Have Fun!

Even though you may be working, you are working at a festival! Many employers will encourage you to get involved and have a good time as the positive attitude you emit will be received by others. So, ensure that you enjoy the experience but remain alert to possible risks also.

If you would like to find out more about how we can help to protect your staff this festival season, then why not look at the lone worker solutions we offer.

If you are thinking of attending a festival this summer, then check out these personal safety tips at the Suzy Lamplugh Trust: https://www.suzylamplugh.org/Pages/Category/personal-safety-advice