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ZND SmartWeld Barriers with barrier covers providing crowd management at the London 2012 Olympic Games

Guide to Barrier Regulations and Safety for UK Event Organisers


It is crucial to adhere to legislation and guidance when setting up barriers for crowd control and demarcation at events. Ensuring a safe and secure event experience for all attendees is of utmost importance. This comprehensive guide outlines the key legislations and best practices for barrier installation, providing you with the necessary information to plan and execute effective barrier setups that comply with UK regulations and prioritise safety at events. Designed specifically for event professionals, this guide will be an invaluable resource for managing barrier regulations and safety at your events.

Key Legislation


The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) is a fundamental piece of legislation that governs workplace health and safety in the United Kingdom, including events. The act is based on the principle of employers and event organisers having a duty of care towards their employees, contractors, and the public attending their events. It requires the implementation of appropriate safety measures, such as barrier installation, to prevent accidents and ensure a safe environment for everyone involved.

Key takeaways for event organisers from the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 include:

  • Duty of Care: Event organisers must ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety, and welfare of their employees and anyone else who might be affected by their activities, such as contractors, volunteers, and attendees.
  • Risk Assessment: Organisers should carry out comprehensive risk assessments to identify potential hazards and implement suitable control measures, including the use of barriers, to mitigate risks and ensure a safe event environment.
  • Consultation and Cooperation: Event organisers are required to consult and cooperate with employees and contractors on matters related to health and safety, ensuring that everyone is aware of their responsibilities and the safety measures in place, including barrier installations.
  • Provision of Information, Instruction, and Training: Organisers must provide adequate information, instruction, and training to their employees and contractors to ensure that they can perform their tasks safely, including the proper installation, maintenance, and management of barriers.
  • Maintenance of Equipment and Facilities: Event organisers are responsible for maintaining a safe environment, including ensuring that barriers and other safety equipment are in good working condition and fit for their intended purpose.
  • Reporting and Record Keeping: Organisers must maintain records of accidents, incidents, and near misses that occur during their events, including any issues related to barriers, and report serious incidents to the relevant authorities, such as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR) build upon the principles of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and provide a more detailed framework for managing health and safety risks in the workplace, including event environments. These regulations emphasize the importance of proactive risk management and the implementation of control measures, such as barriers, to ensure the safety of employees, contractors, and event attendees.

Key takeaways for event organisers from the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 include:

  • Risk Assessment: Event organisers must carry out systematic and thorough risk assessments to identify potential hazards, evaluate the level of risk, and determine appropriate control measures, such as the use of barriers, to mitigate risks.
  • Risk Management: Organisers should implement a risk management process that involves regular monitoring, review, and adjustment of control measures, including barriers, to ensure their continued effectiveness in maintaining a safe event environment.
  • Competent Persons: Event organisers must appoint competent persons to assist them in meeting their health and safety obligations, including the planning, installation, and management of barriers.
  • Health Surveillance: Where necessary, organisers should implement health surveillance measures to monitor the health of employees and contractors, particularly those involved in the installation and maintenance of barriers and other safety equipment.
  • Emergency Procedures: Organisers must establish and communicate clear emergency procedures, ensuring that employees, contractors, and attendees are aware of their roles and responsibilities in the event of an emergency, including any actions related to barrier management.
  • Training and Information: Event organisers are required to provide adequate training, information, and instruction to employees and contractors on health and safety matters, including the proper handling, installation, and maintenance of barriers.
  • Cooperation and Coordination: Organisers must cooperate and coordinate with other employers, contractors, and stakeholders involved in the event to ensure a consistent approach to health and safety management, including barrier installations and crowd control.

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM) are specifically relevant to event organisers as they govern the planning, management, and monitoring of construction work, including temporary event structures and installations such as barriers. The regulations aim to ensure health and safety throughout the entire lifecycle of a project, from design and planning to construction and maintenance, focusing on effective communication and coordination among all parties involved.

Key takeaways for event organisers from The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 include:

  • Applicability: The CDM regulations apply to all construction projects, including temporary structures and installations for events, such as stages, marquees, and barriers.
  • Client Responsibilities: Event organisers, as clients, have a duty to ensure that projects are suitably planned, resourced, and managed, and that health and safety measures, including barrier installations, are integrated throughout the project lifecycle.
  • Appointment of Duty Holders: Organisers must appoint competent duty holders, such as a Principal Designer and a Principal Contractor, to manage health and safety aspects of the project, including the design, installation, and management of barriers.
  • Design Considerations: The CDM regulations emphasize the importance of considering health and safety during the design stage of a project, ensuring that structures, including barriers, are designed and built to be safe and fit for their intended purpose.
  • Construction Phase Plan: Event organisers must ensure that a detailed construction phase plan is developed and followed by the Principal Contractor, outlining the health and safety arrangements for the construction work, including barrier installations.
  • Communication and Coordination: The CDM regulations require effective communication and coordination among all parties involved in the project, including designers, contractors, and suppliers, to ensure a consistent approach to health and safety management.
  • Monitoring and Review: Event organisers must monitor and review the progress and effectiveness of the health and safety measures implemented throughout the project, including barrier installations, making adjustments as necessary to maintain a safe environment.

The Crowd Management Guide by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is a valuable resource for event organisers, providing best practices and guidance on effective crowd management, including the use of barriers for crowd control and demarcation. While not a legislation, this guide serves as a practical tool to help event organisers create a safe and enjoyable experience for all attendees by ensuring proper planning, organisation, and management of crowds at events.

Key takeaways for event organisers from The Crowd Management Guide by the HSE include:

  • Planning and Preparation: Develop a comprehensive crowd management plan that takes into account factors such as event size, venue layout, anticipated crowd behaviour, and potential hazards. This plan should include the strategic use of barriers to manage crowd flow and ensure safety.
  • Barrier Selection and Design: Choose appropriate barriers for your event, considering factors like crowd density, anticipated pressure on barriers, and the need for emergency access. Barriers should be fit for purpose, structurally sound, and designed to minimise the risk of injury.
  • Barrier Placement: Position barriers strategically to facilitate smooth crowd movement, prevent bottlenecks, and maintain clear access to emergency exits, first aid stations, and other essential facilities.
  • Emergency Procedures: Develop and communicate clear emergency procedures that address potential crowd-related incidents, including situations involving barriers, such as overcrowding or barrier collapse.
  • Communication and Signage: Use clear and visible signage, as well as public announcements, to inform attendees about barrier locations, restricted areas, and any changes to crowd movement patterns or event layout.
  • Staff Training: Ensure event staff, including security personnel and stewards, receive appropriate training on crowd management techniques, barrier installation and maintenance, and emergency procedures.
  • Monitoring and Adjustments: Continuously monitor crowd behaviour and movement during the event, making adjustments to barriers and crowd management strategies as needed to maintain a safe and enjoyable environment.