We live in a time where experiences trump material objects, which is good news for the experiential entertainment sector.
People are hungry to try the latest craze and shout about it on social media, whether it’s axe throwing, zombie hunting, crazy golf or escape rooms.
This has caused a surge of economic growth in this sector, with more and more business ventures launching every day.
The problem is, experiential entertainment is unique when it comes to health and safety. It doesn’t follow traditional practices or have fixed standards because most venues have a mix of functions.
Let’s take a closer look at the health and safety measures experiential entertainment businesses need to consider. And why support from a consultancy like Vita Safety that has worked in all sectors is invaluable.
The Key Hazards for Experiential Entertainment Businesses
Companies in the entertainment sector often have multiple function rooms within a venue such as a bar, restaurant, nightclub and activity space.
This means they are catering to all kinds of different customers that come with their own set of health and safety risks. This is on top of the typical hazards associated with indoor spaces.
The main issues we’ve witnessed through working with clients in the entertainment sector include:
- Customer behaviour under the influence of alcohol
- Underage adults being served alcohol
- Children or adults misusing equipment
- Food hygiene
- Electrical safety
- Fire risks
To combat these risks, businesses need to take into account:
- The layout of the venue
- Internal conditions (e.g. darkness, loud music)
- Obstacles (e.g. stairs, sound equipment, stages)
- Dangerous objects (e.g. axes, darts, golf clubs, installations)
That doesn’t mean you should eliminate hazardous objects and conditions. There will always be an element of risk in this sector – that’s part of the enjoyment for customers. What you need to do is manage these risks accordingly.
Bringing Fun and Safety Together
To maximise your customer’s enjoyment level by minimising risk, you need to consider the following:
Experiential entertainment companies need special procedures in place for emergencies such as flooding, poisoning, fire, chemical spills, serious injuries, electrocution and explosions.
It’s imperative that your staff can take quick and effective action to safety evacuate customers. For this, they need relevant training to be competent in emergencies. You should also run regular and realistic drills as well as have clearly communicated, recorded and rehearsed plans.
You can work with a health and safety consultancy with experience in your industry to create an emergency plan for major incidents.
Structural design within your venue needs to be carefully considered for customer safety. It also plays a large role in customer turnover: the easier and safer your venue is to navigate, the faster you can flow new customers through it, therefore increasing your turnover.
You need to think about what the structure will be used for, who will use it and how. So you can create a clear specification for safe construction.
If your structure is unusual (e.g. laser quest or crazy golf obstacles) it may require additional testing by an experienced professional.
To ensure your structures are consistently stable, you also need arrangements in place to regularly inspect it for deterioration in line with your health and safety management plan.
Levels of fire protection, fire retardant materials, sources of ignition, fuel and oxygen, fire alarms and escape routes all need to be considered when fitting out your venue.
Your goal is to evaluate all fire risks and ensure your fire safety measures are adequate. You also need to put a plan in place for regular fire safety risk assessments in relation to your premises.
Identifying key hazards affecting crowd safety is your first step. Things like customers under the influence of alcohol, poor ground conditions, poor lighting, lack of suitable exits, the crossflow of people and crowd movement obstructions leading to congestion need to be considered so you can work with your team to ensure crowd safety.
Once you’ve assessed the risks, you can work with a health and safety expert to create a robust crowd management plan.
Prioritising Health and Safety Before You Open
Rushing through health and safety risk assessments to open to the public quicker puts your customers and employees’ wellbeing in jeopardy. It’s also seriously bad for business.
You’ll inevitably pick up issues that will delay opening, not to mention you’re putting the public at risk which could result in you losing your license or getting prosecuted for gross negligence.
Assess all risks properly and put an effective plan in place to manage them before you cut the red ribbon. It will help you improve customer turnover as you get more people to enjoy your facilities safely and come back for more.
Adaptable Health and Safety for Unique Risks
Do you open your venue for specific nights, such as DJs or private parties? Have you got plans to adapt your activities based on seasonal changes?
The temporary nature of entertainment venues means you must take into account new health and safety considerations on an ongoing basis. It’s easy to forget this when you don’t have experts to keep you accountable.
Vita Safety is unique in that we have plenty of experience working in the experiential entertainment sector. We also have vast experience across health and safety in all manner of sectors, which is important to a sector that crosses over so many disciplines. This means you have the specific expertise required to help you build a safe and profitable business through bespoke consultancy.
To speak to a consultant today about your businesses’ specific health and safety needs, gives us call on 0161 486 5020 (Manchester) or 0203 126 4997 (London). You can also email us at [email protected].