VENUE INDUCTION COURSES – A WELCOME ADDITION?
Induction courses run by venues are becoming more popular. But do they really contribute to better H&S knowledge? Here, Heath Freeman, managing director of Pinnacle Crew, looks at the pros and cons.
Every company operating in whatever element of the live event industry has a responsibility to ensure good health and safety practice and training, and most will have in-house training associated with a regulated accredited body.
But the importance of a co-ordinated effort in maintaining health and safety standards cannot be over-emphasised. It is up to all of us in the industry – venues, production companies, organisers, contractors – to work together ensure that there is comprehensive knowledge of the health and safety implications at each and every event.
So it is good to see that more and more venues are taking the issue seriously by running health and safety induction courses before events. Anything that contributes to good health and safety practice is to be welcomed.
We have always said that even a five-minute walk-round the venue adds to health and safety awareness, so with some of these induction courses being quite long and very comprehensive there is bound to be a benefit to be had.
However, having had experience of a variety of these induction courses, I do question whether “health and safety induction course” is something of a misnomer. It often seems that they offer guidance on house rules such as “do not drag materials on this expensive marble floor”, rather than precise health and safety guidance that should have been “this is how you carry materials across this floor to prevent injury or accident”.
In a way, this is understandable and inevitable. The courses are bound to be venue-focused when run by the venues. They do, after all, have a vested interest in maintaining the standards of their buildings. But this means that the courses are not necessarily aimed at the people with responsibility for health and safety, and that the basic rule of health and safety – “look after your own safety first, and then look after the safety of those around you” – is ignored.
This is a missed opportunity and as a result, it is often left to the production or event organisation companies, very few of which run health and safety induction courses, to make sure that health and safety hazards are explained to everyone in the team.
Given all this, one cannot help but wonder whether venues are being forced into running health and safety induction courses by their insurance companies.
Such courses may be a welcome addition to the health and safety mix, but with the way many are presented at present they would be better termed “venue induction courses” rather than “health and safety inductions”. In this case, venues should also take on the responsibility of pointing out the specific hazards that the venue poses to the individual rather than exclusively the other way around.
A version of this article may be seen in the October issue of The Main Event. www.themaineventmagazine.co.uk