Section 7

Risk Management

As the Event organiser you have a responsibility to ensure that your event is undertaken in a safe manner that won’t cause any harm to people or property.

During your planning process it is essential to develop a Risk Management Plan so potential hazards are identified early and appropriate measures are put in place to reduce the likelihood of an incident occurring.

In order to create a thorough Risk Management Plan below are the key things that you’ll need to consider:

Risk Assessment

Your event Risk Assessment should be developed in conjunction with all parties involved in the undertaking of the event including paid and volunteer staff, venues and contractors.

The Risk Assessment should identify what hazards or risks are associated with the event, and what measures are in place to reduce/eliminate that hazard/risk occurring.

Risks should also be prioritised based on the most significant risks, and a staff member allocated to the management of each risk area to ensure ownership of its management. Some specific areas of attention your Risk Assessment should consider addressing are:

  • Health and Safety (identify any potential hazards that could compromise health and safety of your event visitors, suppliers and the general public)
  • Financial Risks (from poor attendance, cancellations etc.)
  • Reputational Risk (could you or your organisation receive poor publicity as a result of something happening at your event)
  • Environmental Risk (impacts your event present the local environment)

If you are looking to hold your event on public land, Council will require a copy of your risk assessment. Council will use this assessment to assist in determining whether the land is fit for the proposed activity. It is important therefore that you consider and document all risks relevant to the event and how you propose to manage those risks.

A Risk Assessment Template can be found on the Free Templates page and will help you manage and reduce the likelihood of incidents at your event.

Medical Provision & First Aid

Selecting the appropriate level of medical support for your event will depend on the nature of your event. A First Aid station should be the minimum level of support, and if your event is a higher risk event (such as contact sport, large volumes of people or in a remote area), having an on call doctor or ambulance should be considered.

First Aid Stations should be positioned in central locations with suitable access for emergency vehicles. Where there is more than one Station, distribute them evenly throughout the event site. Ensure that your first aid stations are well signed and highly visible to patrons and accessible (e.g. no stairs).

The following table gives an indication of what level of first aid is required at events; however this may change depending on the type and location of the Event.

Event Visitors First Aiders First Aid Station
500 2 1
1,000 4 1
2,000 6 1
5,000 8 2
10,000 12 2
20,000 22+ 4


St Johns Ambulance Coffs Harbour can provide further advice:

0427 037 694


You need to ensure that all components of your event are covered through Insurances. It is vital you seek professional insurance advice to ensure your event has the adequate insurance requirements. Your event management model (see Section 1 Scoping your Event) will determine the details and inclusions of your policy.

You will need to have a clear understanding of what your Insurances will cover, and any remaining area will need to be covered by the relevant parties. For example third parties such as Contractors, Entertainers, and Vendors are rarely covered in the overall Event Insurances so you will need to obtain up-to-date Certificates of Currency to ensure no activities are left uninsured.

Most typically Public Liability Insurance is required, and when hiring any Council managed venues or spaces $20,000,000 Public Liability Insurance is required, with Coffs Harbour City Council listed as an interested party on the policy.

Depending on the nature of your event and the requirements of the venue or land owner, other insurances may be required. These insurances may include (but not limited to):

  • Public Liability Insurance
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance
  • Workers Compensation
  • Property insurance

Incident Reports

Any incidents that occur at the event should be recorded and forwarded on to the relevant parties such as your insurer, the police, Council, and in the case where a serious injury or a death occurred, Workcover.

The Incident Report should include any relevant information such as dates, times, type of incident and the actions taken, and the contact details of any of those people involved.

Emergency Response Plan

An Emergency Response Plan (ERP) should be developed for your event and details how you will respond to an emergency.

It is important to identify a single point of contact in case or emergency, this may be your site manager or a designated Chief Warden. They will be responsible for coordinating the emergency response at the event and ensuring clear concise communication.

Much of your ERP may have been identified in your event Risk Assessment, however things your ERP should factor include:

  • What sort of emergencies are likely to happen
  • A chain of command in case or emergency. Starting with your Chief Warden down.
  • A site plan showing emergency exits, access for emergency services, first aid stations, firefighting equipment etc.
  • Procedures on managing the crowd and evacuation process
  • A communication plan

Copies of the ERP should be distributed to emergency services, any external agencies (such as RMS), all key stakeholders, staff and volunteers, and available at relevant points at the event venue.

A copy of the Emergency Evacuation Plan should be contained in the overall Event Management Plan.

Contingency Planning

It’s important that you think about all things that could possibly go wrong at the event and try and build contingency plans to cover yourself for the unforeseen.

For example inclement weather can be detrimental to the success of an event; your headline act may not show up; the generator providing power to your food stalls may break down etc.

In some cases, contingency plans can be quite simple, however when more significant decisions need to be made, you will need to address how patrons will be notified, and consider the logistical implications that your contingency plans present. Risks associated with the contingency plan, for example those posed by a change of venue due to bad weather, should be addressed in your Risk Assessment.

Adverse Weather Conditions

Weather conditions need to be considered when developing your Event Risk Assessment and relevant measures put into place where necessary. Add a good weather website to your browser favourites; Elders Weather and the Bureau of Meteorology both drill down to the local Coffs Harbour area and if you are forced to move venues, postpone or cancel, a combination of local radio, social media and direct emails are the best means of notifying the public of last minute changes due to weather.

If changing venues or locations due to predicted weather is not an option, consider the below issues that may arise and potential measures

Weather Issues Measures
Extreme Heat ·       Dehydration

·       Sunburn

·       Insect born disease

·       Extra drinking water

·       Provide sunscreen

·       Extra shelter

·       Insect repellent

Extreme Wind ·       Temporary Structures blowing away ·       Secure Loose items

·       Use suitable and substantial weights or pegs to secure structures

·       Remove dangerous Items

Extreme Wet ·       Slip Trip hazards

·       Electrical hazards

·       Exposure to wet and cold

·       Closing off dangerous or affected areas of the event

·       Extra shelter

·       Reconfigure/cover electrical


Courtesy Notification

Apart from being common courtesy, it is important that you notify relevant stakeholders that the Event is taking place and alert them to any potential disruptions or risks including road closures, noise, and excessive crowds. Courtesy notification should include emergency services such as Police, Fire Brigade, Ambulance and SES, as well as nearby residents and businesses. An Event Notification template can be found on our Free Templates page.