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FEATURE

www.theevent.co.za

High standards of safety and compliance must be adhered to before, during, and after potentially hazardous entertainment acts.

AVOIDING DISASTER Natasha Skoryk chats to industry experts about the planning that goes into avoiding and mitigating disasters.

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outh African law is fairly strict when it comes to safety regulations. “An event safety management plan must comply with the requirements set out in SANS10366,” says George Skazikis of Event Solutions. This means that safety officers already have a pre-determined starting point when they start to plan for any event: “We have a basic template we work on and tailor it to each event. Depending on the event, we may have to do additional research in order to cover the event needs. There are many different types of events with different hazards and planning needs.” Some of the other laws and regulations to consider, according to Leniese Van Der Merwe of Gallagher Convention Centre, include but are not limited to: the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Act No. 85 of 1993), Compensation for Occupational Injury and Diseases, Construction regulations, Sports and Recreational Events Act (2009), Gas Installation Regulations, Food Safety & Hygiene Regulations, SANS10085 Scaffolding, SANS50362 Personal Protective Equipment against falls

from heights, SANS1475 Portable Fire Extinguishers, SABS0400 National Building Regulations and, of course, the extensive local by-laws. These stringent government measures ensure South African venues and event providers are always held to account – and that visitors to events are protected. Safety standards in South Africa fall in line with those in other parts of the world. “[Our] standards are on par with international standards. It is more about enforcement/compliance,” says Skazikis. While it may be hard to police some of South Africa’s more remote locales and venues, when it comes to South Africa’s bustling metropoles, like the City of Cape Town, enforcement is incredibly strict and so adherence is very high. “We have had very few close calls, and that is due to strict enforcement by the City of Cape Town of all legislation and by-law, planning from our side and experienced safety officers on the ground,” Skazikis adds. The latter is very important, because at the end of the day it is the staff on the ground that will be implementing the policy, and responding to the various threats and issues that might arise. As

part of the global trend, many local venues have recently focused on increasing the amount of attention paid to visitor and participant safety. For instance, five years ago, Gallagher Convention Centre decided to start a department devoted solely to Health & Safety and Disaster Management. This was an important move to ensuring consistent safety standards are upheld at all times. After all, Van Der Merwe says: “At Gallagher, the main consideration is the safety of all visitors to the property.” When it came to actually implementing that all-encompassing consideration, it proved vital to have a full-time staff devoted to the monumental task. “We identified that more focus should be on enforcing the relevant event safety regulations,” remembers Van Der Merwe. Having a full department means that Gallagher Convention Centre can devote time and attention to the huge range of health and safety challenges that can affect visitor safety on their premises: “Our Health and Safety department not only focusses on the important day-to-day safety on the Gallagher Convention Centre property but provides services ranging from creating

The Event Issue 07  

Issue 7 of the Event is brought to you by Film & Event Media. This month we explore the state of South African conferencing, codes and regul...

The Event Issue 07  

Issue 7 of the Event is brought to you by Film & Event Media. This month we explore the state of South African conferencing, codes and regul...

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