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March 28, 2023

Everything You Need to Know About Event Risk Management

Managing events is a risky business. However, unlike other high-risk industries, venues often lack effective event risk management, which can leave them exposed to potential threats. With the ongoing challenges of operating in a complex, uncertain and sometimes threat-filled environment, a proactive approach to risk management is essential to ensure the safe and successful delivery of events. 

I have spent more than 30 years working with venues worldwide to help them develop effective risk management plans incorporating current legislation, government guidelines and industry best practice standards. As a risk specialist, I have witnessed first-hand the benefits that venues can experience by adopting a proactive approach to managing risk at events. Similarly, I have also witnessed the devastating effects that venues can experience by not implementing effective risk management strategies. So, I’m sharing some tips for mastering risk management for events. 

What is Event Risk Management?

Event risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling foreseeable risks that could impact the success of an event. These foreseeable risks include any incidents or issues that could impact attendees, suppliers, staff, or the venue itself. Event risk management is essential to any successful, safe event. Learn more about what is event risk management  and how you can deliver safe, memorable events.

The diagram below demonstrates a best-practice approach to risk management as developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

Event Risk Management Process

Note: These guidelines are not specific to events, rather they are a universal standard for all risk management. As such, venues should adapt these guidelines to suit the context of each event. 

Why Do Venues Need Event Risk Management Plans? 

To deliver successful events, venues need to take risks. That said, successful event delivery also requires venue operators to consider all the potential risks and then find ways of preventing them or minimizing their impact to ensure all attendees, staff and suppliers have the best and safest possible experience.  

No matter how big or small the event, venues cannot afford to become complacent when it comes to risk and should always follow the ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management Guidelines. In doing so, they can rest assured that their event risk management plans: 

  1. Promote Safety: Ensure all staff, suppliers and attendees are as safe as possible while in the venue. 
  1. Provide Adequate Documentation and Training: Document and evaluate all potential risks, and train staff so they understand how each risk should be addressed if/when it occurs.  
  1. Minimize Impact: Ensure any incidents that occur can be addressed quickly to minimize their impact and ensure business continuity. 
  1. Ensure Compliance: Develop risk management protocols that comply with current legislation and relevant government guidelines. 
  1. Avoid Penalty: Effective risk management plans significantly reduce the risk of potential legal implications resulting from risk management failure. 
  1. Meet Customer Needs: As demonstrated in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (see diagram below), safety and security are basic human needs. So, event risk management is essential to meet the needs of your customers and deliver memorable event experiences. 
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for Events

Fundamentals of an Effective Event Risk Management Plan 

According to this article from Tech Target, risk management failures are often depicted as the result of unfortunate events, reckless behavior or bad judgment but, often, they are the result of systematic problems. In my experience, poor planning, complacency, and lack of commitment are the biggest factors that contribute to ineffective event risk management.  

So, to ensure your success, here are the fundamentals of an effective event risk management plan:  

  1. You must be proactive so that you are always prepared and can prevent an incident from occurring or reduce its impact. 
  1. You must take a systematic approach to ensure you have covered all bases and do not miss any critical details.  
  1. You must be committed to continuously improving your plans by measuring their effectiveness, making necessary adjustments and including any new risks that emerge. 
  1. You must ensure your entire team is committed to the plan. From junior staff to senior management, everyone needs to understand the importance of event risk management plans and procedures and their responsibilities. 
  1. Each person who contributes to controlling risks must be accountable for implementing their tasks on time and to the best of their ability.  

Primary Risks Every Venue Should Consider When Planning Events  

From financial risks to public health, legal compliance and severe weather, there are so many potential risks at events. Furthermore, unexpected risks emerge all the time and often it is these rare or unexpected risks that venues fail to understand and prepare for. For example, the Manchester Bombing at the Ariana Grande concert and the roof collapse at the Apollo Theatre in London.  

When identifying potential risks at an event, it is important to remember that risks do not exist in isolation and can often impact multiple areas of your business. The following diagram outlines all the risks that venues should consider when developing an effective event risk management plan, and demonstrates how they are interlinked: 

Venue Risk Management Diagram

Event Risk Management Support 

It’s important to be prepared and plan for the prevention of risk incidents. Make sure you capture issues and ensure risk management processes are followed, tracked, documented, and reported. Risk Manager by Momentus Technologies is a solution to help venue stakeholders manage event risks. Discover how you can leverage our purpose-built solution to improve event risk management at your venue. 

By Wayne Middleton

Tag(s): Risk Management

Wayne Middleton

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