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Opinion: Why health and safety is key to great experiences at events

by Emily Wallin

Andrew Harrison, of the Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA), explores why it’s essential to get the basics right to ensure visitors have a great experience and remember your exhibition for the right reasons. 

The end of all Covid-19 restrictions in England is without a doubt a positive step for our industry. Live events and exhibitions are back in full swing and event organisers and suppliers are gearing up for an incredibly busy few months ahead.
But while there are no legal obstacles standing in our way anymore, Covid-19 has not gone away, and some delegates may understandably still have concerns about returning to live environments.
Creating a positive visitor experience will be paramount to enticing audiences back to exhibitions. There is increased pressure to stand out and make live events more immersive and engaging, with organisers turning to the latest cutting-edge technologies and tools to enhance interactivity and networking opportunities.
But there is no point in investing in all the bells and whistles if you don’t get the basics right. If attendees don’t feel safe, they will remember that, and not the great experience that the organisers have strived for.
One positive to come out of the pandemic has been the renewed focus on health and safety. We have all learned a great deal over these past two years, and it remains vital that the entire event supply chain continue to demonstrate the highest of health and safety standards to boost public confidence and put organisers and delegates’ minds at ease.
Working with safety-conscious and accredited suppliers who take care of those all-important basics allows organisers to focus their attentions on making their event extra special and creating the best possible visitor experience.
Health and safety are a key focus for ESSA – we recently launched the ESSA Individual Induction, a series of bite-sized induction courses that cover a range of safety-related areas to provide a key understanding of different health and safety requirements when working at an exhibition or event.
From Risk Assessment and Health & Safety Law to Electrical Safety and Environmental Awareness, each short module provides a clear and concise understanding of why certain rules are in place, the requirements needed to follow them and how individuals can help make exhibition halls a safer and more efficient place.
This training enables members to put the stepping-stones in place towards ultimately achieving ESSA Accredited status – a robust and independently audited company-level qualification. We have seen strong interest and take up of the scheme, which demonstrates a readiness and understanding from our supplier and service provider members of the importance of health and safety.
Organisers and venues working with ESSA members to support their next exhibition can rest assured that they are working with companies that take health and safety seriously, giving them that all important peace of mind. And with peace of mind comes the freedom to go back to doing what they do best – delivering outstanding experiences that will live long in the memories of attendees, for the right reason.

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