Safety and security for your event
Guidelines on how to run a safe and secure event.
You should have a system in place at your event to record any incidents, accidents or near misses that occur.
It is important that everyone working at the event has a clear understanding of how to record incidents and what to do with this record at the end of the event. This can be done during site inductions and briefings.
The information you will want to capture in your incident report depends upon the nature of your event. A template you can adapt to suit your own needs can be found in ‘Sample: Incident / accident report’.
You are required under work health and safety legislation to notify SafeWork NSW of any serious injuries or deaths that occur at your event.
Emergency Management Plan (EMP)
An Emergency Management Plan (EMP) — also known as an Emergency Response Plan — outlines how you will respond to an emergency at your event.
- be developed in consultation with the venue/s and/or landowner/s, for example, local council or government/private landowners
- be developed in consultation with NSW Police Force, NSW Ambulance, Fire and Rescue NSW or the NSW Rural Fire Service
- identify the person or role that is responsible for managing the emergency response at the event (often the site manager or someone who has extensive knowledge of the site and its layout)
- be distributed to all agencies and relevant parties
- include the chain of command should an emergency occur
- have clear instructions on how the person in charge will be contacted should an emergency occur.
- the location, hours of operation and role of the event coordination centre (where your event’s real-time progress and communications are monitored, and key decision-making takes place)
- which agencies will have representatives and what technology will be available within the event coordination centre (such as computers, software, phones, phone lines and radios)
- a site plan that identifies access and evacuation routes and the location of first aid facilities (with grid map references for congested footprints or larger spaces)
- a chain of command identifying who is responsible for decision-making and when decision-making will lie with emergency response agencies rather than with the event organiser
- description of roles performed by those involved with an emergency response. Note that it is a good idea for the event’s emergency response manager to wear a high visibility vest that clearly indicates their title in the chain of command, so responding agencies can identify this person immediately
- the evacuation procedure, which should identify those personnel who can authorise an evacuation, and the location of evacuation exits and meeting areas
- an emergency medical plan, which includes details of hospitals prepared for a major incident and has been developed in consultation with your local NSW Ambulance office, first aid providers and/or local hospital representatives
- the arrangements for minor on-site emergencies not requiring external help
- details of any tools such as What3Words or the Emergency Plus app in use for the event and any emergency location marker signage to be installed at the venue or event precincts (any tools or systems should be agreed and integrated with venue/land manager, first aid and emergency services agencies)
- an emergency communications plan (details below)
- version control and approvals listed on the front page so people can see they are referring to the latest version of the document and it has been approved by relevant stakeholders.
If your event is being held at a single venue or landholder site, you may be able to utilise or adapt existing emergency management and evacuation procedures to develop your event-specific EMP. Please work this through with the relevant venue or landowner in the first instance and in consultation with all relevant agencies.
If your event includes temporary event spaces, adaption of existing venues, road closures, additional infrastructure and multiple landowners, your EMP will need to be specifically customised to include all of these relevant conditions and elements. While specific venues and precincts may have emergency management and evacuation plans developed for ‘business as usual’ scenarios (for example, evacuating workers or residents from a building or commuters from a train station), such plans are unlikely to allow for temporary event arrangements and changed conditions. For example, an emergency evacuation plan for the Sydney CBD under ‘usual conditions’ would not address road closures, or might direct people to an assembly area that is barricaded as an event site and/or already contains large event crowds.
- how to contact emergency services (all parties should always dial Triple Zero (000) in the first instance where an ambulance is required or for any other emergency requiring an emergency services agency urgently). For larger events, you may need to issue a 2-way radio to the emergency services, so they can operate on a dedicated emergency channel. Note that events in national parks or rural / remote areas may have black spots where neither mobile phones or radio services will operate, without additional support from a telecommunications provider
- communication protocols during an emergency, including how to communicate, who to communicate with and how to log and report incidents
- details of any agreed emergency tools such as What3Words or the Emergency Plus app and any emergency location marker signage in use at the event/venue
- public communications protocols (including pre-set key messaging, and framework of channels and responsibilities) for communicating with event audience and any other parties (for example, local communities) as appropriate
- expressions to avoid, such as “bomb” or “fire”, to help minimise panic in any event patrons who overhear a report being made
- colour coding* to assist the accurate and immediate communication of types of incidents and emergencies occurring, for sites with a high level of public interface (* in accordance with Australian Standard AS3745 – Planning for emergencies in facilities – available for purchase, this outlines minimum requirements for establishment, validation and implementation of an emergency plan for the safety of occupants of that facility and its visitors leading up to and during an evacuation).
- emergency services
- local council (an EMP may be required when submitting an application to stage your event)
- any agencies providing services in support of the event
- staff, volunteers, contractors and performers (during a pre-event briefing)
- suppliers who will be present at the event.
The NSW State Emergency Management Plan (EMPLAN) and the State Emergency and Rescue Management Act outline the Principles of Emergency Management and the governance and coordination arrangements for emergency response in NSW. Government agencies should reference EMPLAN in their planning, and event organisers may find it a useful benchmark for any event or venue related emergency plans.
Consider Emergency Management Training options and requirements for your event staff and key contractors, suppliers and personnel.
Work health and safety
You have a duty of care to provide a safe environment in which staff, volunteers, performers and contractors can work.
The provisions made for people working at your event will depend on its various components. Some of the issues you may need to consider include:
- handling of power, gas, and other hazardous materials
- supplying ear protection for people working in noisy areas
- operating equipment and machinery and whether licensed operators are required
- supplying sunscreen and other personal protective equipment for people working at an outdoor event
- the preparation of safe work method statements (SWMS) and job safety analyses (JSAs) and/or obtaining them from contractors
- providing drinking water for staff and volunteers working at the event
- providing adequate training to safely carry out assigned tasks at the event such as handling money, moving heavy items, managing and directing traffic and crowd management.
Accreditation and role recognition
You must be able to clearly and quickly identify authorised personnel to:
- ensure only the right people enter areas they should access
- allow for vehicle access in scenarios involving road closures or restricted parking
- prevent members of the public from accessing high-risk areas, such as money collection and food preparation areas, places where there are hazardous materials and so on.
Methods that identify authorised personnel through accreditation can be simple or complex depending on the nature of your event. They include providing staff, volunteers, suppliers, contractors and the media with:
- coloured t-shirts or hats, branded with your organisation’s logo
- colour-coded identification tags that are worn around the neck or on the wrist and are visible at all times
- vehicle passes to be displayed on dashboards
- coded clothing or tags related to the areas they are allowed to access.
You need to consider how to ensure that non-authorised people do not access restricted areas and, if by chance they do, how they will be removed from these areas. Measures for restricting access could include fencing, using security guards, briefing staff and volunteers, and using signage.
You will likely need signage, although the quantity required will depend on the nature of your event. Consider the information people at your event will need to know and whether this should be displayed on a sign. Ensuring that signage cannot be obscured but is visible from different heights, written in a large, legible font and placed in a well-lit area will assist your accessible guests.
Consider signs that include information about the location of:
- parking and no parking areas
- accessible facilities, including ramps, entry and exit points, accessible viewing areas and parking
- entrances and exits
- first aid
- lost children
- meeting points
- information booths.
You may need signage to:
- showcase your event brand
- indicate performance timings
- communicate conditions of entry
- meet or add value to sponsorship agreements
- ensure effective waste management, including use of differentiated waste receptacles for recycling and organic waste
- meet legal requirements if selling alcohol at your event, such as a notice stating the offence of supplying liquor to a minor
- enforce smoke-free laws, such as smoking not permitted within 10 metres of a food stall or within 4 metres of outdoor dining areas
- identify Emergency Locator Points, so someone seeking assistance can easily identify a specific location to emergency personnel (this signage should also include appropriate instructions for calling 000, and potentially referencing use of systems such as What3Words or the Emergency Plus app
Consider your sustainability goals when planning signage, including the:
- choice of materials and inks
- transportation of signage
- ability to reuse or recycle signs
- sustainability practices of your chosen provider.
Check with local council, the landowner and/or venue management whether there are any restrictions on the placement of signs.
To sell or supply alcohol at your event, you must obtain the appropriate liquor licence from Liquor and Gaming NSW. Of the 7 licence categories available, the 1 most likely to be relevant for the purpose of an event is the limited licence.
Applications for a limited licence should be made, at the absolute minimum, 28 days before your event. Police, local council, residents and other interested people can lodge a submission in relation to a liquor licence application, so it is advisable to submit your application as soon as possible.
Immediately before or within 2 working days of applying for a liquor licence, you must submit a notice to your:
- NSW Police Force local area command
- local council or other consent authority for the land where you propose to stage your event.
Responsible Service of Alcohol
The NSW Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) certification is mandatory for any person serving liquor at an event, including volunteers and security staff working at the venue.
The liquor laws require alcohol to be sold and served responsibly.
Alcohol management plan
You may wish to develop an alcohol management plan. Consider:
- legal requirements of the licensee, such as ensuring serving staff and security officers have their current RSA certification card on them, trading hours are adhered to, and responsible service of alcohol signs are clearly displayed
- proof-of-age checks and procedures, including providing wristbands for over-18s
- whether alcohol and/or glass can be brought into the venue by event patrons
- procedures for security checks, such as bag checks for alcohol and glass
- secure areas for the storage of confiscated goods, such as alcohol and glass
- provision of clear signage showing where alcohol can and cannot be served
- any limits on the number of alcoholic beverages that can be purchased at one time
- whether alcohol will only be sold in non-glass containers
- provision, location and easy availability of free drinking water
- availability of food and non-alcoholic beverages, including strategies to ensure their pricing is competitive
- procedures to shut down the service of alcohol in the case of an emergency
- design and layout of queuing areas to reduce crowd frustration
- additional toilets
- plans to ensure neighbours are not disturbed by your event
- confirming that adequate public transport is available for people leaving your event.
Please note this is not a comprehensive list of issues that may affect the selling of alcohol at your event.
Liquor and Gaming NSW provides industry best-practice guidelines for the responsible service of alcohol.
It is vital to consider crowd management. Even an event with a small attendance can become crowded — it depends on the capacity of the venue or area where the event is held, in relation to the number of people expected.
An event may only become crowded in particular areas, or at certain times. For example, crowds can gather in front of a stage, or if a VIP arrives in an area that can only hold a small number of people.
You should seek advice from the venue manager or landowner about the capacity of the venue/site as a whole, and any designated viewing areas with line of sight to the activity, as well as establish whose responsibility it is to count patrons, if applicable.
The venue manager or landowner may also have templates or guidelines regarding crowd management plans for their venue/site. You should consult them to confirm this before drafting or commissioning your own plan.
If you are expecting large numbers of people it is strongly recommended you employ the services of a professional consultant to advise you on how to address crowd management issues, and on how to develop a crowd management plan. You should consider developing a crowd management plan to cover:
- entrances and exits at venues — are they clearly marked, adequately lit, and large enough to allow an evacuation if required or a mass exit at the end of your event
- stage and barricade design — consider whether you need to engage professionals/experts with a proven track record of safety at your type of event
- management of crowds around focal points such as stage or performance areas
- provision of sufficient facilities to ensure the health and safety of a crowd, including accessible facilities and water provision
- sale of alcohol and BYO alcohol
- use of security guards who are licensed for crowd control
- communication with event participants. including ability to communicate directly with event attendees prior to and during your event
- potential risks such as overheating, crush, fire, and how these will be minimised and managed
- whether you should ticket your event to control crowd numbers, especially if attendance is free
- ensuring your crowd management plan and communication considers people with disability, people who may not speak or read English, and any other relevant considerations.
There are numerous strategies that can help manage the flow of crowds, especially during event entry and egress when noise and behavioural disturbances are likely to impact on neighbours. For example:
- staggering the finishing times of acts/performances, and the closing times of bars and other facilities
- programming entertainment in a way that minimises intersection of crowds flowing around the event site
- locating exit points with sufficient space between them to avoid crowd crush when patrons are leaving
- ensuring that public transport and taxi services are available at the time of event closure.
Remember the “straight line rule” — people will always travel the quickest route to get where they want, and they are likely to resist measures (such as barriers and signage) that attempt to direct them elsewhere.
If you are expecting large numbers of people you will also need to:
- seek permission from your local council or consent authority to hold the event
- consult the NSW Police Force, NSW Ambulance, NSW Health, Fire and Rescue NSW or the NSW Rural Fire Service
- consult local council and Transport for NSW about disruptions to traffic, local services and 'non-event communities'
- consult those services supplying public transport, particularly in case extra services need to be provided (see also Traffic and transport issues)
- consider availability of parking
- ensure any person carrying out a security activity — including acting as a bouncer or crowd controller — is appropriately licensed to do so. This does not necessarily include marshals and wayfinders.
Live Performance Australia (LPA) publish an Audience and Crowd Management Hazard Guide (PDF download) as part of their Resources and Guidelines for the Live Entertainment and Events Industries.
Large major events that involve venues and event sites managed by multiple landowners may require an integrated crowd management plan. For further information and guidelines related to integrated plans, contact the Premier's Department.
A site plan provides an overview of your event, clearly shows where it will be staged, and displays the entrances and exits, facilities and more.
Developing a site plan will be invaluable when you are:
- applying to the local council for permission to stage your event
- applying to government agencies and other regulatory authorities for special licences and approvals
- identifying potential risks
- providing information for emergency services, such as the location of potential hazards or how emergency vehicles can access the venue/site
- considering crowd management.
The content of your site plan should reflect the various aspects of your event. Consider the locations of:
- the stage and other structures, such as barricades and screens
- the event coordination centre and emergency response room
- first aid area (preferably undercover)
- entertainment areas
- restricted access areas
- liquor outlets, approved liquor consumption areas and no-alcohol (dry) areas
- food vendors and stalls
- toilets, including accessible toilets
- sound and lighting control points
- emergency access routes
- all entrances and exits, including separate access points for staff and entertainers
- routes around and through the event used by vehicles
- paths and lighting for pedestrians
- parade route
- accessible points for people with disability, including ramps and wheelchair-accessible routes
- area for media working on the event
- fire-fighting equipment
- free drinking water points
- areas for lost children
- secure areas for storing lost property, prohibited and confiscated goods
- areas for staff and volunteers
- power and stand-by generators
- gas cylinders
- seating arrangements
- shelter and shade
- security guards
- waste receptacles and recycling facilities
- first aid facilities
- facilities for people with disability
- public address systems
- information stalls and wayfinders
- carpark attendants
- crowd controllers
This list above is not exhaustive. Your site plan should reflect your event’s particular characteristics.
The venue manager or landowner for your event will likely have specific guidelines for their venue/site and may be able to provide existing site plan templates or examples from past events. You should consult them to confirm this before developing your own site plan.
You should consider having people with particular expertise at the event site to deal with situations that might arise. The staff you require could include:
- experts in handling hazardous materials, such as fireworks
- electricians, gas fitters and plumbers
- security guards
- medical and first aid staff
- qualified sound and lighting technicians
- qualified personnel if the event is to be held on water, such as life guards.
Child-safe and child-friendly events
Implementing effective child-safe policies and practices is the best way to protect the children involved in or present at an event.
It is important to make arrangements for lost children.
This could include:
- setting up an area where lost children can be looked after and where carers can find them
- communicating arrangements to event attendees before and during your event
- briefing staff and volunteers on the procedures to be followed for lost children, such as incident report forms, use of public announcements, and circumstances under which the police should be contacted.
Qualifications for staff
The lost children’s area should be staffed by appropriately qualified employees or volunteers.
A Working with Children Check is mandatory for people working in certain child-related positions and employment.
Volunteers are exempt if they work for less than a total of 5 days in a calendar year, have minimal direct contact with children, or are under supervision when children are present.
You should consider available volunteer positions and assess legal requirements and any other procedures you may wish to use. For example, a non-mandatory Statutory Declaration can be used by those who are exempt to declare that they are not prohibited from working with children.
For resources to help organisations become child-safe and child-friendly, visit the NSW Advocate for Children and Young People website.
For more details about the Working with Children Check, visit the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian website.
It is illegal to operate fireworks in NSW without a licence from SafeWork NSW.
There are 2 types of licences – a pyrotechnicians licence and a fireworks (single use) licence – depending on the type of fireworks you intend to display and the length of your event.
If fireworks are planned for your event, you are required to advise or obtain written approval from the following organisations:
- SafeWork NSW at least 7 working days before the event
- local council at least 7 working days before the event
- local fire brigade from Fire and Rescue NSW or NSW Rural Fire Service at least 2 days before the event
- local command from NSW Police Force at least 2 days before the event
- Transport for NSW for an aquatic license if firework displays are to occur on navigable waters
- the land or property owner where the display will be carried out, as some venues/sites may have their own requirements regarding the use of fireworks
- Civil Aviation Safety Authority, depending on the height fireworks may reach and the proximity of an aerodrome or flight path neighbours who may be affected by the fireworks display, including hospitals, aged care facilities and stables, kennels or veterinary clinics
- any other applicable agencies or interested parties (SafeWork NSW can advise which agencies need to be contacted).
SafeWork NSW requires these notifications to be made in writing and for no objections to have been raised as part of their approval process.
Ensure you keep a copy of your permits and approvals for future reference.
Note: The notification timings above are minimums and more advanced notice is advised to ensure that all the appropriate approvals are obtained prior to the event.
Erection of structures
Before building any structures at your event you need to seek permission from the venue or landowner. Depending on the structure you may also be required to lodge a building or development application with the local council or provide certification by an engineer. The certification should address both for the design concept and the on-site sign-off to ensure the structure will be built as designed and meets all engineering requirements. Ensure you lodge any required documentation within the timeframes set by council.
All structures have wind ratings. A wind management plan should be in place outlining at which wind speeds certain items should be secured, and when to evacuate the area or site.
For safety reasons you should engage the services of an expert with relevant experience to build any structures required at your event. Structures might include:
- amusement rides
- lighting rigs
- audio towers
The weather is an important consideration for the safety, comfort, and enjoyment of attendees at outdoor events.
The impact of weather on your event will depend on the activities you are coordinating.
It is important to consider:
- potential weather impacts and to include them in your risk management plan
- the impact of adverse weather on the bump-in and bump-out of your event
- the climate of your location when choosing a date for your event (some months are typically hot, cold, wet, dry, clear or cloudy)
- average sea surface temperatures and high and low tides for marine events
- solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation levels for day time events
- arrangements to deal with adverse weather conditions, such as shelter, water, first aid, sun cream, mosquito repellent and heating
- how to secure structures and dangerous items
- how to protect leads and wiring
- provision of pathways over muddy areas
- insurance to protect you against financial loss in the case of cancellation.
In the case of extreme weather it may be necessary to cancel or postpone your event to ensure the safety and security of those present. Before the event, you should establish:
- conditions for cancellation/postponement and how you will share these with attendees (such as on the event's website, social media pages or the reverse of tickets)
- who is responsible for deciding to cancel/postpone
- at what time you need to make a decision about cancelling or postponing an event
- how you will advise staff, volunteers, performers and attendees of the cancellation or postponement
- contingency plans if your event is still able to go ahead (document these plans and provide to staff and volunteers during the pre-event briefing).
It is advisable to monitor weather forecasts in the lead-up to your event so you can plan for the predicted weather conditions.
Refer to the Bureau of Meteorology website, or app, for long and short-range forecasts and rain radar, as well as hazardous surf, marine, severe weather and thunderstorm warnings. Review forecasts regularly as your event approaches, remembering that forecasts are available 7 days out and are updated twice each day, becoming more accurate with each update. If you’re on Twitter, follow @BOM_NSW.
Enter your event location into MetEye for localised forecasted probability of precipitation, wind speed and direction. A paid Registered User Service is available to specialist users who require more detail or tailored delivery of products, including an FTP pull service offering a rich source of information. Weather briefings over the phone may be possible for larger events. Ensure you contact the bureau ahead of time to discuss availability of these services.
Refer to the NSW Rural Fire Service website for the latest information on fire danger ratings, total fire bans, hazard reduction burns, and fire updates.
Refer to Sports Medicine Australia’s Hot Weather Guidelines if you’re running a sport related event.
If a forecast is causing concerns about public safety, contact BOM’s NSW (Sydney and Regional) Decision Support Services unit on (02) 9296 1616 for advice. This line is staffed by a local NSW team during business hours, call may be diverted to a national team at other times. Please also note that whilst there are meteorologists and support staff on shift at all times, they are often extremely busy during severe weather events, and your patience will be appreciated.
For life threatening emergencies, call 000 immediately. For emergency assistance call the NSW State Emergency Service on 132 500.
On the day, consider sharing up-to-date weather information and any aspects of the event that may be affected (for example, paths and facilities) through social media and other communication channels. This can help attendees make informed decisions about attending, particularly your accessible guests.
It is essential that you ensure there is enough light to see walkways, obstacles and exits, especially in the case of an evacuation or if your event will be held at night or in a dark venue.
Australian legislation requires that exit signs must be clearly visible, even in the event of a power failure of the main lighting system. You should also ensure you have back-up generators to provide adequate lighting in case of blackout. It is advisable to have a qualified electrician on site in case problems arise with lighting equipment.
It is illegal for offensive noise to emanate from a public place, so it is important to consider the impact that noise will have on the surrounding environment. Consult with the venue/landowner and local council about managing noise at your event, and ask if noise restrictions apply.
- times of use
- position of speakers
- direction of speakers
- sound checks
- who will monitor noise and how
- ability to adjust noise levels immediately in the event of a noise complaint or a request from authorities (to avoid fines)
- protection for staff and volunteers working in noisy areas, for example, ear protection
- whether qualified sound/audio technicians are required to operate specialist equipment.
If using a public address system or sound amplifying device on community land, you must seek approval from your local council and/or landowner.
Even small events can generate large amounts of waste. You may be required to submit a waste management plan as part of your application for event approval to your local council or landowner.
Before, during and after your event consider:
- promoting your event as “waste wise”
- sustainable practices
- using waste receptacles — the type (such as those with lids or covers), quantity and placement
- emptying of receptacles—frequency and operational issues (such as whether waste trucks will be able to access necessary areas at your event)
- managing waste which has not been placed in receptacles
- policies that encourage vendors to reduce packaging, and contractors to adopt waste reduction strategies
- recruiting volunteers to clean litter during and after the event, and providing them with the appropriate training and protective gear
- procedures for the secure storage of dangerous goods and hazardous substances
- safe and secure procedures for the storage and disposal of clinical waste, including sharps containers for needles and syringes
- procedures for the ongoing storage and disposal of sewage waste
- adopting recycling and composting measures (in line with waste management capability), including public messages and signage to encourage recycling, including food waste, reusables and container deposit schemes
- conducting a post-event site clean-up, including of the zone just beyond the event perimeter.
Note that waste can only be sent to a recycling facility or landfill that can lawfully receive that type of waste. For advice on waste management, contact your local council.
Visit the NSW Environment Protection Agency’s website for information on the steps you can take to ensure a “waste wise event”.
Power, gas cylinders and other hazardous materials
It is vital that you seek expert advice about the safe use and storage of power, gas, chemicals and fireworks.
Safety procedures should be communicated to all staff, volunteers, contractors and others who could come into contact with the materials.
You should ensure that:
- reputable suppliers are used
- items such as gas cylinders and generators are tested, are in good working order and safely stored
- gas cylinder tags are clearly displayed
- back-up plans exist in case equipment such as generators fail
- all electrical cords and extension leads are tagged and tested
- appropriate fire extinguishers are provided and staff are trained in their use and aware of their locations
- placement of any hazardous material is clearly marked on your site plan
- a system exists for checking equipment of contractors on site, especially caterers.
It is a good idea to have qualified personnel present at the event in case of equipment failure or an emergency situation. Often the venue manager or landowner can recommend someone who has knowledge of your event site.
Licences and certifications
It is extremely important you have all licences and certifications in place prior to commencing bump-in for your event. Licences and certificates include:
- written permission to hold the event, granted from the venue or landowner
- approval to serve food from local council
- crane permit (often issued by the local council)
- oversize load permits (often issued by Transport for NSW for the movement of oversized loads on public roads)
- Road Occupancy Licences (often issued by Transport for NSW for traffic control duties on public roads)
- sign-off from engineers for temporary structures.
A security guard service licensed for crowd control and with event experience can provide invaluable expertise to help manage potential risks at your event, and may be legally required.
It is mandatory that any person undertaking a “security activity” is appropriately licensed to carry out that activity. These activities include:
- acting as a crowd controller, venue controller or bouncer
- guarding cash or valuables (including cash in transit)
- protection of assets, guarding infrastructure and servicing security equipment.
Your risk management plan may identify high-security risks that are likely to occur at the event. For most large events where alcohol is served, the licensing arrangements will require a minimum number of security officers be employed, who have been trained in the responsible service of alcohol.
If you do contract a security company, it is advisable to liaise with them during the event planning stage. One way to do this is to develop your security plan with your provider.
Your security plan should include:
- type of security being used for the event, such as private security personnel
- details of the private security firm (including company name, master licence details, lead contact person and phone numbers, and the number of personnel at the event)
- relevant contacts in the local NSW Police Force command
- the role of any user pays police compared to that of private security
- security, transport and storage procedures for cash, valuable items, prohibited items, dangerous goods, hazardous substances and equipment
- sufficient and appropriate barriers, fences, gates and turnstiles
- ticketing arrangements and procedures for checking tickets
- examples of identification used by staff, contractors, artists and media, as well as a register of those with accreditation
- location of control points for searching for prohibited items ensuring that they do not impede entry to the event
- secure area for storage of confiscated goods
- arrangements for lost and stolen property
- arrangements for lost children
- separate entrances and exits for staff and entertainers.
A briefing should be given to security personnel before the event and cover:
- venue layout
- emergency evacuation plans
- people who may require access to the event (such as council staff, building surveyors and inspectors, environmental health officers, fire safety and prevention officers, and workplace safety officers)
- what accreditation should be sighted
- each security operative’s role and responsibilities on the day
- responsibilities relative to the NSW Police Force
- responsibilities during an emergency.
If police are present at the event, whether on general duty or on a user pays basis, event organisers are not entitled to direct the activity of police or to have inappropriate influence on operational commands. However, you should liaise with the NSW Police Force in the lead-up to your event and agree how issues or concerns can be raised on event day.
The NSW Police Force is responsible for regulating the security industry. For more information about security licensing, visit the NSW Police Force website.
Dealing with money
Whether you are fundraising or running a for-profit event, consider:
- gaining a fundraising authority from the Fair Trading NSW
- arrangements for the collection of money at your event, including whether fencing is needed at gate collection points
- how to ensure staff are safe at money collection locations
- where money can be stored securely
- when and how often money should be transferred to secure locations during the event
- procedures for transferring money to safe storage locations.
Any staff handling large sums of money at your event must be trained in correct procedures. Refer to SafeWork NSW for more information on correct procedures for handling money. It is also advisable to use security guards in this instance.
You should consider whether you will still make a profit at your event after the necessary money-handling precautions have been put in place. You may decide it is not worth your while to collect money at the event.
Flying remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) are regulated in Australia by the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998.
For the most current rules, resources and information relating to RPAs or ‘drones’ visit the Drones section of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) website.
While RPAs less than 2 kilograms do not require a ReOC, you must notify the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) 5 business days prior to your event. Operators must also adhere to CASA’s standard operating conditions (or apply for approvals or exemptions).
RPAs over two kilograms, or operating outside of the standard conditions, legally require a ReOC, which provides additional privileges over uncertified operators to where and how you can fly. You are also unlikely to be able to access insurance without a ReOC.
Flying an RPA for fun and recreation does not require CASA approval, but specific safety rules must be complied with.
Private landowners may be permitted to carry out some commercial-like activities on their own land if certain conditions are met. Check with the landowner or venue manager if additional restrictions on the use of drones apply.
Search for certified suppliers who hold Remote Piloted Aircraft Operator’s Certificates on the Civil Aviation Safety Authority website.
Lasers and laser light shows
You must notify the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) if you intend to hold any laser or high-intensity light show. Specific consideration must be given to hazards such as known aircraft flight paths, emergency aircraft, reflections, safety of event attendees, and the type and power of lasers or lights to be used.
Different lasers require different safety measures. In general, safety measures include:
- specifications for laser placement and aiming must be followed
- the laser system must be securely attached
- not pointing lasers towards any person or a fixed point
- ensuring lasers are only operated by properly licensed personnel (appointment of a Laser Safety Officer is recommended)
- maintenance of a display safety record log book
- briefing health care personnel on duty of any potential hazards.
Hand-held laser pointers are regulated by the NSW Police Force under the Weapons Prohibition Regulation 1999. It is an offence to carry or use a laser pointer in a public place without a reasonable excuse. Laser pointers with a power level greater than one milliwatt require a permit, issued to those with a genuine reason for use. Approved astronomical organisations are exempt from requiring a permit.
Visit the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency website for information on laser use.
Visit the Safe Work Australia website for details about the work health and safety aspects of laser use.
Visit the Civil Aviation Safety Authority website for information on the use of lasers in regards to air safety and to obtain a notification form.
Live Performance Australia (LPA) has information and guidance on lasers in the 'Special Effects Hazard Guide' within the series Safety Guidelines for the Live Entertainment and Events Industries under Resources on LPA’s website.
Visit the NSW Police Force website for information on the use of laser pointers.
It is vital that you seek professional advice about the insurance required to cover your event. The type and amount of cover you need will depend on the nature of your event and the requirements of the landowner or venue where you propose to hold your event.
The insurances you need might include:
- public liability
- workers’ compensation
- motor vehicle insurance
- professional indemnity liability
- property (to cover your own equipment)
- supplier insurance (to cover all contracted equipment onsite)
- other insurances tailored to the event and entertainment industry, and to the not-for-profit sector (if applicable).
The list above is not comprehensive. Always seek professional advice about the insurances required to meet the specific needs of your event. For example, if you are using vehicles for vehicle mitigation or an on-road event, check whether their insurance covers this activity.
Public liability insurance is required by a number of government agencies and venues and is usually a condition of approval to hold an event. In most cases $20 million is the amount of cover required by the relevant agency or agencies listed as “interested parties” on the certificate issued.
You should also ensure any contractors you use have appropriate insurance to cover their activities at the event. You should keep a copy of their Certificate of Currency in your records.
For further information, the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) is the representative body for the general insurance industry of Australia. The ICA publishes the General Insurance Code of Practice, which is a voluntary code which sets out the standards that general insurers must meet when providing services to their customers, such as being open, fair and honest. Please note the code sets out (Part 2) which insurance products the code applies to, and which products are excluded.
The complexity of event organisation means there may be legal issues to address before, during and after the event. It is important that you seek professional legal advice before you begin planning for your event.
Some matters that may require legal advice are:
- contracts with staff, volunteers, suppliers, performers, sponsors, contractors, venues and any other relevant parties
- use of intellectual property including copyright material such as music or photographs
- conduct of revenue-raising activities, such as fundraising
- correct wages and superannuation, as well as other employee entitlements
- taxation issues, including GST where applicable
- licences and approvals for the event, including planning approval, liquor licence and Working With Children Checks
- environmental protection laws, including those for noise and waste management
- work health and safety obligations to contractors, volunteers and staff working on your event site
- compliance with other applicable laws.
Consumer laws: ticketing
If you sell tickets to your event, the Australian Consumer Law requires you to promote your event accurately so attendees are not misled when buying tickets. This includes providing accurate information about:
- ticket prices – a single total price must be promoted for each ticket type/category that includes all essential components and preselected options
- inclusions for each ticket type/category, and
- access to food and drink – whether attendees can bring their own and any conditions for a payment scheme that attendees may be required to use to purchase food, drinks and/or merchandise inside your event. For example, electronic wristbands that attendees load with credit. Make sure you include how attendees can get refunds of any leftover credits.
When consumers do not receive what they were promised, automatic consumer guarantees under the Australian Consumer Law require you to provide remedies. When an event is not supplied as promised and cannot be remedied at the time, you may need to offer a partial or full refund to affected consumers for the drop in value of the event actually provided, compared to the event promised or promoted. Full refunds must be given for cancelled events and you should plan for how you would fund those.
Use a reputable ticketing agent or platform. Talk to potential providers about your specific event needs, including their processes for rescheduling or refunding attendees if there are last-minute changes or cancellations to the event. For best-practice ticketing guidance, consider the approaches used in the Live Performance Australia Ticketing Codes of Practice for Industry and Consumers.
Consumer laws: safe merchandise
Any merchandise you supply needs to be safe for attendees, whether it is included with the ticket price or sold separately. Check the Product Safety Australia website for the safety requirements of many types of consumer products. For example, there are mandatory standards for products using coin/button batteries to ensure young children are not able to access and swallow the batteries (even when the product is taken home after the event). If you supply a product later found to be potentially unsafe, there are guidelines for voluntarily recalling the products.