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Role Responsibilities

The Exhibition Director

The individual with the greatest responsibilities is usually the organiser’s Exhibition Director (or equivalent e.g. ‘Show/Event Director’) as they are the individual responsible for the allocation of resources for health and safety.  Exhibition Directors should have sufficient formal training to be able to understand the full extent of their responsibilities.  The one day IOSH Directing Safely Certificate (preferably event specific) is the recommended minimum.  Exhibition Directors who do not have an operational background may need additional health and safety training. 

In respect of the exhibition itself the Exhibition Director is responsible for:

  • Ensuring that the company health and safety policy and the law is adhered to
  • Ensuring that competent staff are appointed with regard to health and safety
  • Ensuring that risks are identified and sufficient resources are allocated to control them
  • Ensuring that a suitable and sufficient risk assessment is conducted

The Competent Person

It is essential that the organiser employs someone on site who is a competent person to coordinate health and safety. This role can be fulfilled by the Operations Manager, Event Director or Floor Manager, if suitably qualified, or sub-contracted to a health and safety professional.  They must understand the business of managing health and safety at events.  The recommended minimum training is the IOSH Managing Safely Certificate (preferably event specific) or equivalent.  Some venues now require that at least one member of the team is trained to NEBOSH General Certificate level or equivalent.

Typically the duties of the competent person would include but not be limited to:

  • Pre event planning with the venue, contractors and exhibitors
  • Appointing contractors who are competent with regard to health and safety
  • Carrying out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment (or ensuring that it is done by a competent person)
  • The coordination of all health and safety issues within the event management team and on site
  • Monitoring health and safety on the floor or appointing competent floor managers (see below)
  • Compiling and maintaining an up to date event safety file for each event
  • Ensuring that arrangements are in place to deal with emergencies such as a fire or security threat
  • Giving competent advice to the Exhibition Director
  • Carrying out the duties of a Floor Manager (below) if none is appointed

Floor Management

There is a limit to the control that can be exercised over an event by the Operations Manager and for larger events it may be necessary to appoint one or more floor managers.  The numbers required should be identified by the risk assessment. 

They normally fall into two categories: general floor managers whose duties include health and safety and floor managers appointed to fulfil the role of competent person in addition to their general duties (see above).  The broad on-site health and safety duties for both remain the same.

A recommended minimum level of training for floor managers is the IOSH Managing Safely Certificate (preferably event specific). 
With regard to a floor manger appointed specifically to manage health and safety and fulfill the role of competent person, the recommended minimum level of training is a NEBOSH General Certificate, or equivalent. 

The health and safety duties of a floor manager include but are not limited to:

  • Implementing the organiser’s event risk assessment requirements
  • Coordinating the health and safety effort between the organiser, venue, contractors and exhibitors on the event floor
  • Maintaining a safe working environment by keeping aisles and emergency exits clear, monitoring vehicle movement and other hazardous activities such as working at height
  • Monitoring the exhibition floor for hazards and unsafe conditions
  • Dealing with health and safety incidents or reporting to the organiser if they cannot be solved on the exhibition floor
  • Reporting and if necessary investigating accidents and health and safety incidents
  • Giving competent advice to the organiser’s operations team

Stand Plans

The specific requirements are covered in this guidance under this heading.  Some organisers approve stand plans in house and this falls to the operations team.  Some outsource this to a specialist company which may also be providing the floor management.  In this case this duty may be included in the responsibilities of floor managers but only if specifically contracted to do so.

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