Public event safety registration plan

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; “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; “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; “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.”

A public event disaster in Nigeria, where a church collapse killed several South African and other visitors. Events involve a wide range of skills and risks.
A public event disaster in Nigeria, where a church collapse killed several South African and other visitors. Events involve a wide range of skills and risks. (See a post about this event disaster by Mabila Mathebula on

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;
[] security
[] crowd control
[] communications
[] access by vehicles and spectators
[] prohibitions
[] inspection regimes
[] health and safety management
[] emergency management
[] a controlling body for accreditation of events organisers
[] ticket sales and intelligence data
[] insurance.

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 event safety management and facilities management involves a very wide range of skills and processes, requiring good teamwork and communication.
Public event safety management and facilities management involves a very wide range of skills and processes, requiring good teamwork and communication.

Public health and safety law

Lawyer Natalie Graaff wrote on 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)

• See also these posts;

State explains school safety programme

Schools have sheq obligations

Schools must manage security, health and safety

Hospitality insurance guide

Table Moutain upgrades public safety management

Churches promote H&S values and culture

African pilgrims need a pilgrim train

How to manage site traffic safety

SA sets up emergency and disaster grant

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10 thoughts on “Public event safety registration plan

  1. Yes, registering with the Department of Social Development (DSD) is definitely the first mistake. DSD are not concerned about “groups” of specialists, but organisations that uplift communities via training, skills transfer and awareness. So good luck with that one.

    Secondly, failing to understand the need for professional indemnity insurance for “professionals” is another big mistake. An event where a stage or an advertising structure is built, requires input from a professional with sound knowledge of temporary works and scaffold design. A typical incident of this nature is the Linkin Park concert in March 2012, where a scaffold collapsed during strong winds and killed one person, while injuring 20 others.

    The Sheq profession is already wearing thin, being split up into three primary groups, Health and Safety (SAIOSH), Safety (IoSM), Mining (MSC /CoM);and Construction Health and Safety (SACPCMP). And while we are at it, also split the events, aviation, shipping, railways, and oil and gas specialist fields.

    Perhaps it is time that we admit that the various fields of expertise require a special set of skills and start breaking up the Sheq profession into these fields?

    ==== Editor notes; Anne-marie Buys would agree with you on some points. The consulting body NIOCCSA wrote on its website some time ago: “According to Annemarie Buys, owner of a Cape Town based company, there is no need for H&S to be represented by NIOCCSA, as there is already enough associations to belong to. “How many more advisory boards and associations must be started in SA for H&S? Who must we belong to and who not?” she responded to an invitation to the third contractor management workshop.”

    Academia agree with you by allocaing health skills to the medical faculty, environmental skills to the biology faculty, safety and quality skills to the management faculty.

    Master Builders and its affiliate organisations, such as SAIOSH, understand indeminity and insurance very well, and make a fine art of it. The iniquities of registration are born of a multi-purpose strategy.

    Mining OHS is served by the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA), and they were kind enough to convene general OHS people to draft a general OHS practitioner curriculum standard, soon to be registered with the vocational training authority, the QCTO.

    That is where we could expect specialised OHS courses to be registered in future. Our help shall come from the QCTO, not from universities, high schools, bodies, boards, or development agencies.

    The event health and safety registration plan is proposed as a development agency, such as, for example, the Master Builders emerging contractor arm, or ACHASM, or DASH, or soccer development project. Registration is presented as part of skills development, which inherently it is not. In practice it would add as much to event health and safety, as South African speedcops and their contractors add to road safety. Just additional, adjustable tax and slush fund revenue, and a bureaucracy, with jobs and contracts for certain people. -Edmond Furter

  2. Well said, Danny and Edmond. In my opinion this type of venture smacks of opportunism in that it will create an income stream, milked from gullible wannabee “public event health and safety Officers”. I am sure that at this very moment a public event health and safety course is being cobbled together.

    ==== Editor notes; If there were such a course, I would take it, and add it to my CV. However I suspect that this event OHS registration initiative will follow the SAIOSH route; just verify the candidate’s training and experience, and sell a designation. Or the SACPCMP /IOSM route; spot check every 15th applicant’s training and experience, require lower level applicants to write an extra little cobbled-together exam, and higher level applicants to interview a panel of uncles and auties.
    And appoint a contractor to cobble together some CPD videos. And staff to charge the application, exam, verification, designation, certification, CPD, re-exam, conference, RPL, upgrading, interview, and annual fees.

  3. I agree with the above comments, but the split [into industries], I forsee that will not happen, as we already have enough registration bodies and legislation.
    The problem with the events industry and venues is that they do not even comply to the Osh Act what is the root cause of all the problems.
    at every event build up you will get contractors who is not compliant and with no proper knowledge of the Act or any other legislation or standards applicable.
    Perhaps if they stop using people without the correct qualification to try and save money we will be able to get the industry issues resolved.
    Another body is definitely not going to solve the problem.

  4. And where is all of this going to end up? In my opinion it would be good to have one regulating body with specific specialization fields where you can register in.

    On a lighter note: If you write down all you registrations it is going to look like this:
    Jan Hartzer
    RosProff/Rosprac/Master Builders /Buildsafe /Safebuild /CBE /SAIOSH /IOSH SA /IOSM /OHSAP /NOSHEBO /SFA /SAIOSH /SACPCMP /DPW /DOL/etc.

    1. Thanks Jan Hartzer, you have penned my thoughts. Everybody wants to form bodies to make a quick buck.

    2. The worst part is that none of those registrations are actual qualifications.

      I witnessed the start of the pigs sticking their noses into the health and safety trough in the late 1980’s. Now it’s a full-on mud bath, with every mampara with a two week training course that has safety in the title, claiming professional expertise based on registration. The problem is now that the pigs are running out of food and have resorted to eating each other.

      ==== Editor notes; The event safety officers targeted in the new registration plan, are construction health and safety officers. They are already forced to register with the SACPCMP. The new call is to venue owners and event organisers, to in future ask these offiers also for AESO registration, and “linked up” to SAIOSH registration. A triple decker bus running on too few training pistons?

  5. Koos, exactly why I am getting out after 3.5 decades at the age of 56. Absolute mess with every Dick, Tom and Harry and their aunts, in on this unregulated game.

    ==== Editor comments; Self-regulation, by way of professional bodies, boards, and institutes, is regulated by the SAQA policy on professional bodies.
    SAQA’s approach with its new authority over the new dispensation, about three years old since Dr Blade Nzimande passed them this ball, is to allow any and all proposed bodies, and to let them fight for members, collude, or merge, until the fittest eventually survive. The process is open to abuse. Meanwhile education and training is in decline, adding more pretext for bodies to replace training with window dressing.

    1. There is no specific course in event safety, you are to follow the Client’s safety specifications and comply with the OSH Act, Construction Regulations, Sports and Recreation Act, and SANS 10366.

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