Event safety officers may attend a training course based on SANS 10366, and may join a public event safety registration body (UPDATED 19 JULY 2015).
The event safety registration body proposed by Anne-Marie Buys is outlined below. The SA Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act, and the OHS Act section 9 are also outlined below, followed by comments on some of the implications of the possible expansion of health and safety registration into other business sectors.
Anne-Marie Buys announced on Sheqafrica.com; “I have registered an NGO, named the Association for Events Safety Officers (AESO), and are awaiting registration documents from the Department of Social Development.
“The events industry also needs to be in some way be regulated with regards to safety officers because clients (sporting bodies, private companies, etc) are asking the questions: How much do we need to pay an event safety officer, and what should the minimum qualifications be?
“Some of these clowns charge R40 000 per event, and ten to one they do not even have a recognised qualification.
“We will also tie up with SAIoSH to provide professional status. Hopefully I will get the municipalities and OHS organisations and DoL to support me in this instance to sort of regulate the event safety industry. Any comments would be welcomed.
“Some event organisers insist on event safety officers having personal liability insurance (PLI)! Where this comes from, nobody knows.
“Event organisers must have PLI for every event, and a service level agreement (SLA) with an event safety officer, who therefore falls under the organiser’s PLI, and need not have separate insurance.
Buys told Sheqafrica.com; “The current controlling body for accreditation in terms of the SASRE Act, is only the police, and only in terms of a section 6(3) application that classifies the event as low, medium or high risk.
“Event safety officers assist event organisers with health and safety responsibilities, mainly before the event, checking temporary structures, scaffolding, towers, stages, and so on.
“Contractors must present health and safety files, workers on the event site must receive health and safety induction and a copy of the site safety rules, including food and merchandising vendors.
“As events differ, so do pre-event functions. An event safety officer should have knowledge and sufficient experience of construction sites to assist the organiser.”
Buys also responded to some earlier comment on Sheqafrica.com; “Regarding municipalities, I am not trying to regulate their health and safety managerial skills.
“Large municipalities have Event Permit Offices who apply the SASRE Act and SANS 10366: 2012 requirements with great success. Smaller municipalities require event organisers to comply via their fire and disaster services.”
Event safety law
The SA Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act, 2 of 2010 (SASRE Act), became effective in August 2010. It classifies a risk category (low, medium, or high) for different events, with big sports games in the High Risk category that requires a stringent security and public safety system.
The SASRE Act provides for any event of more than 2000 visitors, to comply with certain requirements. An event is defined as sporting, entertainment, recreational, religious, cultural, exhibitional, organisation or similar activities hosted at a stadium, venue, or along a route, or within their own site.
Venue safety certificates must be renewed annually, and be accompanied by a Grading Certificate issued by a local authority six months in advance, based on events categorisation by the police as low, medium or high risk. Experience shows that approval may be granted as late as a day before the event, said Buys.
All stadiums and venues should by now have such a certificate that stipulates the safe spectator capacity, and the level of risk of events that may be hosted there.
The Act responds to the 2001 Ellis Park soccer disaster, and findings of the commission of enquiry into this event, calling for a complete revamp of public event management.
The new law will lead to regulations that affect all organisations that host events, including local government, facilities managers, and event sponsors.
The findings of Justice Ngoepe, who led the enquiry, deal with issues such as;
 crowd control
 access by vehicles and spectators
 inspection regimes
 health and safety management
 emergency management
 a controlling body for accreditation of events organisers
 ticket sales and intelligence data
Costs of developing the proposed regulation would be borne by the departments of Sports and Recreation, and Safety and Security (police). Compliance costs would be borne by sports bodies, contractors, and hosts of concerts, festivals, raves and other large events.
Public health and safety law
Lawyer Natalie Graaff wrote on Sheqafrica.com that the broader context of health and safety liability at public venues is regulated partly by section 9 of the OHS Act. Employers have to ensure the health and safety of all persons, not only of workers.
This duty includes visitors and clients. Risk assessment, induction training, zone demarcation, signage, personal protective equipment (PPE), and site guides are among the popular public health and safety management tools.
Further, the common law principle that requires individuals to take reasonable care is also important here, and applicable to everyone, not only employers.
Employers should be able to prove that they had taken reasonable care to ensure visitors’ health and safety, and in particular that visitors are informed of the risks associated with the different areas or facilities they may use.
This includes measures such as maintenance, inspection of equipment, records, proof, and training of operators.
The responsible person is normally the CEO, who could be held personally liable for injuries and damages which may occur on site.
The organisation could also face penalties based on the principles of criminal, civil and vicarious liability depending on the facts of the case.
Comment on event safety registration plan
Edmond Furter commented; Regarding NGO registration and the Department of Social Development, perhaps the venture should instead register as a training provider, with the DHE or QCTO and/or the Sports and Recreation Seta, or as a professional institute with SAQA.
An events health and safety management course would be welcome, but regarding regulation, the Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act already provides for a controlling body for accreditation of those involved in organising events, and other mechamisms. Regulations may in future give effect to this intended body by way of the various state and municipal functions already involved in public event safety.
Consulting practice is also already regulated. Consulting fees are not regulated, and perhaps it should not be, since one size of health and safety, or Sheq, or security management, could not possibly fit all types of public events and all kinds of event safety officers.
Regarding regulating qualifications, different venues require very different safety officer skills. Clients, in this case event organisers, should check the training and experience of the events team they hire, starting with training, experience, and track records.
Regarding the charge of R40 000 for an event safety officer, those people are probably consultants, certainly not employees, and no clowns. It is cheap at the price, considering the cost and risk of managing and covering the liabilities involved. If the bill is simply for a ‘safety officer’, ask for itemisation.
Regarding Department of Labour support for regulating the event safety industry, or rather practice, the DOL, like SAQA, supports any and all self-regulation efforts. They also want a semblance of compliance, and to shift the vestiges of their enforcement functions to users. The state follows the ‘user pays and user provides’ principle.
Regarding the origin of personal liability insurance for safety officers, this comes from the construction industry, where clients, contractors, CEOs, Engineers and Agents will pass some of their corporate and personal liability for supervision of certain work and incidents, over to SACPCMP-registered Construction Health and Safety Officers in August.
The new NGO, or training, or registration, or RPL joint venture with SAIOSH, would probably extend liability in events management from organisers, employers and consultants, to employees, who may register in the hope of higher pay, and find higher costs and liabilities instead.
For example, if a tent fell on the president at a function again (as it did on former president Thabo Mbeki in the Union Buildings garden), the organiser would be charged under his or her liability, but the prospective AESO-registered Event Health and Safety Officer may then be charged as a ‘professional’, even if he or she is an employee.
Professional registration would be convenient to employers, but of no benefit to employers, and at huge cost to health and safety practitioners, as it is turning out to be in construction health and safety registration.
The proposal to “sort of” regulate event health and safety management by self-regulation and self-registration, ties up with safety ‘professionalisation’ being pioneered by Master Builders and the SACPCMP.
Practitioners know that the root causes of industrial incidents involve more than checking up on their training and experience.
Which sector is next in line in the registration domino effect? Forestry safety officers? Human resources? Facilities health and safety or Sheq officers? It could be petrochemicals, energy, transport, retail, health, education, hospitality, veterinary, or any employees performing OHS functions, depending on where the Department of Labour next lends its ear. -Edmond Furter
Act 2 of 2010, Government Gazette G 33232 of 27 May 2010
Proclamation 40, Government Gazette 33438, 3 Aug 2010
Association for Events Safety Officers (AESO)
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