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Safeguarding your People During Major Events

Major events, such as the Paris Games and Rugby World Cup, present several unique challenges when it comes to safeguarding your people, regardless of if they are the ones organising or attending the events. Large crowds and the presence of visitors from all over the world can create a higher risk of safeguarding incidents from medical emergencies to security breaches.

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Major events, such as the Paris Games 2024 and Rugby World Tournament, present several unique challenges when it comes to safeguarding your people, regardless of if they are the ones organising or attending the events. Large crowds and the presence of visitors from all over the world can create a higher risk of safeguarding incidents from medical emergencies to security breaches. 

Additionally, the past few years have been turbulent for the live events industry – with travel restrictions and social distancing measures – which exacerbated concerns over public venue security and the need for proactive risk management. In response to this, we are beginning to see the emergence of legislations that require employers to meet their Duty to Protect to their employees at events by ensuring their safety, such as the approaching implementation of Martyn’s Law in the United Kingdom, the Live Events Safety Law implemented in California, US, and the need for a Notice of Intention to Organise an Event in Singapore. 

These legislations set out a legal requirement for organisations to ensure adequate provisions are in place to safeguard the safety of venues, staff, and guests to the fullest extent possible. We will begin to see more countries adapting new laws as major events pose more challenges as the risk landscape evolves. 

To effectively adhere to legislations while safeguarding your people and fulfilling your Duty of Care, organisations can begin with some of the steps below.

Risk Assessments

The first step in safeguarding your people attending or organising a major event is to conduct a comprehensive risk assessment that is specific to the location your people are travelling to. This involves identifying all the potential and unique risks associated with attending the event and developing plans to mitigate those risks.

Some common risks to consider include:

  • Social unrest
  • Hate crimes
  • Theft
  • Medical emergencies
  • Security breaches

Once you have identified the potential risks, you can develop plans to mitigate them. For example, you may need to:

  • Educate all staff and attendees on the local security and health risks they need to be aware of.
  • Implement appropriate security measures, such as bag checks and CCTV cameras.
  • Provide adequate training to your staff and volunteers.
  • Develop a safeguarding plan that outlines how you will respond to a variety of concerns that may arise.
  • Ensure the safeguarding plan is communicated and rehearsed with all staff and volunteers.

Event Contingency Planning

Contingency planning is just as important but differs from risk assessments. A risk assessment is a legal requirement of an event to ensure its safety and security for its organisers and attendees. 

A contingency plan, however, is a set of structured measures and procedures that proactively prepare for your people to follow if something goes wrong. It should be a comprehensive plan that considers the findings from your risk assessment and is used to ensure that the organisers team are able to react quickly to challenging situations.

This ability to react quickly stems from anticipating crises and accidents, structuring plans for all possible scenarios and training staff to ensure they know the exact procedures should an emergency occur. Some issues that you should consider in your contingency planning include: 

  • Speakers or special guests do not show up.
  • Weather taking a turn for the worst.
  • Health and safety emergencies including fire outbreaks and security breaches.
  • Vendors and suppliers not delivering as planned or unexpectedly cancelling.

Your contingency plan should also include provisions for safeguarding your attendees. For example, you may need to:

  • Identify safe places where people can go in the event of an emergency.
  • Develop a plan for evacuating people from the event safely.
  • Ensure that there are adequate medical resources available.
  • Communicate this contingency plan to all staff and volunteers.

Your Organisation’s Duty to Protect

As more countries implement legislation to ensure your people’s safety at major events, your organisation has an increased responsibility to mitigate the risks to organisers and attendees. Non-compliance may result in financial or legal penalties and potential damage to your organisation’s reputation.

Specific Safeguarding Challenges of the Paris Games and Rugby World Tournament

The Paris Games and Rugby World Tournament are two of the largest sporting events in the world which we expect will attract large crowds.

Large crowds can create a higher risk of safeguarding incidents, such as potential threat scenarios, security breaches, and medical emergencies. International visitors may also be more vulnerable to such incidents, as they may be unfamiliar with the local culture and customs. 

This highlights the importance of ensuring that your people are equipped with the accurate knowledge, expert advice and effective communication channels to safeguard them from any challenges that may arise.

How International SOS Can Support

International SOS, with decades of experience in security consulting and risk management expertise, proves a valuable partner in helping organisations prepare their people organising and attending major events. We support our clients to safely manage large scale events and conferences. 

Based on our long-standing expertise, we recommend organisations consider the following support:

  1. Security Consulting: International SOS can provide in-depth security assessments, offering tailored recommendations to enhance event security based on the unique needs of the event you are hosting and to match your organisations resilience planning.
  2. Training and Supporting Event Staff: International SOS can provided tailored training programs for venue staff, equipping them to identify and respond to security threats effectively.
  3. Emergency Response Planning: International SOS assists in developing and refining emergency response plans that align with your organisations risk profiles and local regulations.
  4. Crisis Management Support: In the event of a security incident, International SOS provides real-time crisis management support, helping organisations mitigate risks and protect attendees.

Partnering with International SOS can help your organisation navigate the legal requirements of fulfilling your Duty to Protect to your people, ensuring you stay compliant whilst keeping your event attendees and staff safe.

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