Edendale Crank Up
Jeremy Pierce

Risk Management

Help to protect yourself and those attending your event

When running an event, you need to consider risk in relation to different aspects, such as health & safety, financial, logistical, and natural. 

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Assessing the risks associated with your event

The event manager today is exposed to legal redress if there is injury or accident as a result of the event activities. In any investigation, authorities will be looking for the safety process that the event manager went through to ensure everyone’s safety. Putting procedures in place to cover all risks mitigates the damage.

Ask yourself these questions to help you take the appropriate actions to minimize all risk:

  • What can go wrong?
  • What are the consequences? (insignificant or catastrophic)
  • How can I reduce the risk?
  • What if we don’t sell our budgeted tickets?
  • What if our guest artist doesn’t arrive?
  • What if it rains? – make sure you have a contingency plan for unexpected weather.

Risk assessment and risk management plans

Developing a risk assessment and an effective risk management plan, that includes hazard identification and evacuation procedures, is essential. This assessment and plan should be provided to all those working on the event, the police and other emergency personnel. In case of an emergency, the roles of the police and emergency personnel need to be clearly defined prior to the event. Some platforms and people that will help you undertake your assessments and create your plans:

The Worksafe NZ website has plenty of information to ensure you meet the basic requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. There is also a Quick guide to identifying, assessing and managing work risks. Your local Civil Defence Officer, Fire Service, or Police may help you.

First aid

Provision of first aid/emergency medical services is crucial at any event where there is a potential risk to participants, officials or the public. First aid services should be in a visible, sign-posted location and workers should wear obvious uniforms. St John is highly skilled at providing medical care at events. They can recommend the kind of coverage you will need. Payment is arranged in advance and depends on the service provided. They will expect to discuss this with you. This is a voluntary organisation and therefore cannot always guarantee their assistance. It is very important that you contact them as early as possible in your planning; St John Event Coverage contact number is 03 218 3099.


Most event organisers are operating at a financial loss until the event goes ahead and income is generated. What would happen if your event is cancelled or there is an increased cost of running? You may be left out of pocket for all the money they have invested.

You also may be held liable and in some cases, festival organisers may be personally liable if someone is injured, for any financial losses or any damages that flow from the event.

It is important to ask the following questions:

  • What will happen if the event makes a loss?
  • What will happen if someone is injured or property is damaged?
  • Who will be responsible?
  • What will happen if the event is cancelled?
  • What will happen if the property is stolen?

There are some ways you can protect yourself against liability and loss. Here are a few options to consider:

Event insurance

Event Insurance covers the financial loss as a result of cancellation, abandonment, postponement, interruption or relocation of an event due to unforeseen circumstances. Some situations or events that the insurance will cover are:

  • Inclement weather
  • Natural catastrophe
  • Extra, unexpected expenses to keep the event running
  • Power failure
  • Public transport failure or denial of access
  • Failure to vacate the event venue
  • Strikes
  • Terrorism or threat of terrorism
  • The inability of any person(s) to appear at your event e.g. speakers or performers
  • TV transmission failure

Public liability insurance

Public liability insurance is an important consideration for your event because it will no doubt involve interacting with members of the public. If your event is ordered to pay damages for causing injury or property damage, public liability insurance will cover these costs as well as any associated legal or hospital fees. For further information contact your local insurance broker, lawyer, or your bank.

Guarantees Against Loss (GALS) Fund

Community Trust of Southland (CTOS) provide a Guarantees Against Loss (GALS) Fund in support of events to provide security for organisers against not meeting budgeted ticket sales and our GALs are aimed at assisting with the initial establishment of events but are not intended to be a form of long term and/or ongoing funding.

Applications for the GALS Fund should be for events that:

  • Demonstrate broad community benefit
  • Have a realistic expectation of ticket sales and a realistic overall budget
  • Are not competing to the detriment of other events in the CTOS area
  • Contribute, in aggregate with other events, to provide a range of experiences for the community

Traffic Management

If your event/s alters how a road operates, you're legally required to have a traffic management plan. A traffic management plan is required for any event that stops, delays, or increases vehicle or pedestrian traffic. Traffic management plans for events must be provided by a registered traffic management company.

Examples of activities that alter how a road operates normally:

•    Pedestrian management may be required where attendees in a planned event are using a footpath 
•    An event which requires the regular road user to change their intended travelled path or slow down to avoid event attendees
•    Events that are considered off road, but event attendees may still have to cross a road to attend. In these circumstances organisers need to consider how they will manage these crossing points (e.g., Stop/Go where the traffic is stopped to allow competitors to cross the road) at high-risk times
•    An event that’s considered to increase the number of vehicles using the road

Events create a set of risks that are different to standard road activity.

These risks can apply, but are not limited to:

•    Attendees/Participants / Spectators
•    Road users (drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists) 
•    General public / businesses 
•    Volunteer or paid organising staff 

When a TMP may not be required:

Events where attendees are following the road rules and not varying normal operating conditions of the road. However, there remains a Duty of Care
The extent of the plan needed, and hands-on support required depends on the level of risk. If in any doubt, the organiser should seek advice from a local Traffic Management Coordinator (TMC) early in your event planning to see if you require a traffic management plan each year.

What needs to be provided to traffic management?

At a minimum, the types of input information provided by the event organiser should include:
•    type of event 
•    location (route) 
•    number of attendees/participants/spectators/personnel 
•    duration/timing including setup and pack down requirements
•    interfaces with roads, pathways, and public transport infrastructure 
•    parking requirements, and property and business access requirements

Southland Events