Live events have a lot of moving parts, making it easy to get caught up in planning logistics and experience building without prioritizing one of the most critical components of any event: safety.
That’s where the Event Safety Alliance comes in. The organization is dedicated to promoting “life safety first” in event production and execution, and recruits event professionals from all across the industry to present at its annual conferences. Like Jeff Reder, owner of Clark-Reder Engineering. Following are three of Reder’s tips for ensuring your event structures are safe and secure.
1. Give Your Engineers the Specifics
Engineers bear the brunt of the responsibility when it comes to creating safe structures, so be prepared to answer any and all questions they have, right down to the nitty, gritty details, says Reder. Specs that might be requested include: exactly what materials are being used to build the structure and how much weight they can hold, if the structure will be used indoors or outdoors, details about the event site’s ground conditions and how the structure’s materials will be transported to and around the site.
2. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Lack of communication is at the root of most unsafe event structures, says Reder. To avoid any mishaps, he suggests confirming that the most up-to-date renderings of your structure are being used on-site, quickly and clearly communicating any changes to the structure’s design with you engineer and implementing an operations management plan that ensures anyone in the vicinity of the structure is safe during the build.
3. Avoid Common Errors
For one reason or another, event teams often neglect the basic rules of ensuring safe structures, but you don’t have to. Common causes of unsafe structures include hiring engineers who are not engaged in the project, straying from your on-site action plan, using outdated or inaccurate renderings and making changes without alerting everyone on the team. “Don’t let an embarrassing oversight prevent coordination with the team,” says Reder. “We need a safe event and a safe structure and everyone goes home happy.”
*This article was originally published in 2017 and is updated periodically
Photo courtesy: Nicholas Karlin Photography
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