There are many details that go into the planning of any event, but selecting a supplier for your marquee is one of the most important. Health and safety is important, especially since you want your guests to arrive, frolic and leave, carrying the right memories with them. Below is a detailed guide to the most important health and safety considerations when hiring marquees for any event.
Assembly and disassembly
During assembly and disassembly, think about risks to the staff members and any passers-by. If you're hiring marquees as a business (for corporate events for instance), you are obliged under law to ensure your own employees have a safe working environment. As a private client, while the legal responsibility is placed on the marquee supplier, you have a moral obligation to ensure that everyone working on your project is safe. To minimize these risks, you should do the following:
- Ask the marquee hire representative for their method statement and risk assessment documents. Find out how the marquees were produced and if you can see the product spec sheet to ensure it is up-to-standard
- Insist on seeing their Liability Insurance letters. They should have both Employers' and Public Liability Insurance and these should be current.
- Ask to be given the name of the on-site manager in-charge during assembly and disassembly of the marquee. This is the person to whom you should direct your health and safety concerns
- If mounting the marquee in a public place with significant public traffic, find out what precautions the company takes to ensure safety of passers-by during construction
- Ask if you can visit a site where they're setting up for another client: do they appear organized? Is their equipment systematically placed to reduce risk of injury?
If some of your concerns are not satisfactorily addressed, consider looking for another supplier. Raise all your concerns in writing and save their responses so that you have evidence on your side should anything go wrong. You can also raise your concerns with a trade body that the company is accountable to.
Health and Safety during the event
Health and safety is most important at this stage because you may bear liability if your guests are hurt, and also because your guests are not trained staffers. The following are potential risk areas:
The floor – ensure the floor is stretched and nailed down properly, rucked up edges can cause trips with serious consequences. Consider marquees that have Natural Dandydura Matting as opposed to Coco matting, since the former causes fewer trips/slips.
The roof – this must be installed tautly to prevent pooling, especially in wet weather. Water pools on the roof can eventually cause it to collapse. A Bar Tensioning system uses metal that is mechanically tightened, as opposed to the bungee cord system which uses elastic.
Electrical installation – this is especially important, and you should be around for the safety checks, which must be carried out by a certified professional. Wrong wiring can have dire consequences, including death.