Kevin Thorborn: UK manager, Mojo Barriers
What aspects of crowd safety are often overlooked?
For many festival organisers, choosing the right products for your event is often a minefield and in many cases the humble crowd barrier is often overlooked. An understanding of when a pedestrian barrier or mesh fencing is not suitable and a more robust crowd barrier is required is vital to the safety of an event. Organisers may not be aware that the capacity, audience demographic, music genre, performance schedule, the culture, site topography and the ground type are all factors that should be considered with regards to their impact on the design and layout of the barriers.
We work closely with clients to analyse these specifics and design a barrier system that is best suited for that event. Understanding all of these variables allows us to ensure wherever a barrier is installed, it offers maximum protection. Planning for what kind of pressures the barrier will encounter can help avoid installing a greater risk than the ones you are trying to prevent.
Is there adequate training in health and safety in the industry?
There is a much wider range of training available now – from fork lift driving and manual lifting to IOSH and specialist degrees. There are plenty of easily available opportunities to help further capabilities.
Any challenges in 2015 and beyond you forsee?
Tight production budgets can lead to people cutting corners or being under pressure to dry hire rather than go for a full service model – so we always try to at least give some advice of barrier configuration and ideally have a team to install on site, so that barriers are installed correctly.
As there are a lot of new entrants into the outdoor event and festival market it’s important that we reach these people to share our knowledge and help them produce safe events. There are still some old barriers in the market and it’s hard to distinguish if the individual procuring the barriers knows whether they have been properly tested and if they are fit for purpose.