I promised you a framework that will make reducing risks easy for you. I’ve been using this framework for decades and it works!
Once you’ve identified a hazard, you want to think of ways to reduce the risk of this hazard happening.
The first thing you can do is eliminate the hazard altogether by not doing what could be potentially dangerous. The ultimate solution could be, not staging the event because of weather or not having a particularly risky artistic show during the event.
But we’re here to make things possible not to stop doing events altogether.
And this is where the T.O.P Framework comes in handy. I will go into detail below but the way to use this framework is to first try and find a Technical solution, then an Organizational solution and then a Personal (protective) solution.
TOP, easy as 123! (I’m starting to sound like Michael Jackson)
Now to explain this framework, let’s use the analogy of boarding an airplane for a flight.
Think of the last time you boarded an airplane. Most of you felt safe because you know and trust that the airline has undertaken everything possible to reduce the risk of the airplane crashing. Why do they do that? Because flying is inherently dangerous for people! We’re just not made for flying or we would have grown wings. Another reason is of course accident costs and reputation.
It’s the same with events. We are not made to withstand high sound pressure levels like at a rock concert or be confined in a dark place for long periods like at the movies.
So when you get on a plane the first thing you notice are fire extinguishers, emergency lights and exit doors. Of course you don’t see all the safety systems in place that keep the plane flying. These are all technical solutions to reduce the risk of you getting hurt.
Analog to the plane we have the venue that has all the necessary fire fighting equipment, safety exits and emergency lighting necessary to reduce the risk of people in the building getting hurt. In reality, there’s a lot more that you don’t see, but that’s another story. In a licensed event venue, you can be pretty sure the operator is doing their job of maintaining this high level of safety for events.
You sit down in your seat and before take off, the stewardess does her thing showing you how to put on your seat belt, your life vest and where the exits are. Did you know the main reason for even having stewardesses is just to guarantee your safety? They have a side job of serving drinks and food. This is a good example for an organizational solution to reducing risk.
During your event, organizational solutions can be something like doing a site induction, explaining where fire extinguishers or emergency exits are before the event build takes place. Or restricting access to areas not intended for your participants.
Personal (Protective) Solutions
Seat belts, oxygen masks and life vests are the last resort, when all else fails to keeping you safe should a plane crash. This is your Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). Everyone on the plane has it for their own personal use in case of an emergency.
During an event build, PPE can be the hard hats or steel toed work shoes or the harnesses worn by riggers that protect them from falling out of the roof.
So that’s the T.O.P. framework I use for coming up with solutions for a potential hazard. I hope it gives you an idea on how to approach reducing risk at your next event.
In my next post, I’ll show you practical examples of typical risks during events and how to reduce them.