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Durham County Cricket Club under pressure

Durham Cricket Club

Durham Cricket Club. © John Sutton

Durham County Cricket Club has said it’s reviewing the safety procedures after the partial collapse of a temporary seating stand during the Twenty20 International between England and the West Indies at the Emirates Riverside stadium on Saturday night. The accident injured three spectators.

Access understands that the temporary structure was originally part of the seating used in a beach volleyball competition at the London 2012 Olympics, which took place at Horse Guards Parade. Durham acquired the structure in 2013 and since then it has been used for international fixtures.

Arena Group, the supplier of the stand, said that responsibility for its maintenance lay with Durham.

“Arena sold the system to Durham and installed the seating conforming to all relevant regulations. From that point on, all maintenance was the responsibility of the club,” Grahame Muir, chief executive of Arena Group UK and Europe, said in a statement.

Muir continued: “Durham CCC elected to undertake their own maintenance rather than contract Arena for the maintenance. We supply sporting grandstands of the highest standards for hundreds of international sporting events every year.”

With over 250 years of experience, Arena Group specialises in temporary event services, designing and delivering complete environments for sporting, commercial and cultural occasions around the world.

Durham has reiterated that all relevant safety procedures had been followed. The Telegraph reported that the stand in question “had been inspected in the week prior to the match, during the recent County Championship fixture against Kent”.

The club is expected to release the findings of its internal investigation early next week.

Research commissioned by the Health and Safety Executive in 2011 identified that poorly defined management chains and the so-called “last-minute approach” taken by many contractors to temporary structures was a potential threat to safety.

The accident put the spotlight on the topic. By definition, temporary structures have a limited lifespan, however what’s the level of commitment from contractors and organisers for this situation?

Access All Areas will be exploring this theme in coming issues, check back for more information on this topic.  In the meantime, The Festival and Outdoor Events Show, Festout, (27-28 September Sandown Park) features a panel discussion that looks into this topic. HM Inspector Health and Safety Gavin Bull takes part in a Q&A session to be held on Thursday 28 September. Register to attend Festout and find out more.