Making creative staging safer within the new CDM regulations

Aisling Cox, SHEQ Officer at EventServ, says CDM regulations should be embraced by the staging community.

Take away the 100-foot screens, blasting lasers, holographic projections and elaborate sets and what do you have left? Thousands of people with nothing much to do but look at a solitary figure standing on a platform.

Creative staging can be almost as crucial as the music or show itself – transforming concerts and festivals into an unforgettable, transcendent, multi-sensory experience.

In order to create these jaw-dropping spectacles and staging structures event organisers and suppliers must all work together seamlessly following a coordinated and managed process which is sometimes easier said than done.

With multiple suppliers and third party contractors all working on the same live events and all having their own working methods and processes, having a  coordinated approach to health and safety practices is sometimes virtually impossible.

Therefore it was great to hear that the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has advised that, from next month, the new version of the construction design and management regulations (CDM) regarding demountable structures on event sites, will now apply to the events industry.

It is no surprise to us that this regulation is now being enforced in our industry. When considering the sheer scale, diversity and quantity of temporary event structures on the market that are built each year with little or no enforced regulations – only industry guidelines which we know are only followed by just a handful. At EventServ we completely support this new legislation.

The associated costs with carrying out construction work safely in order to produce bespoke structures and creative stages safely now have a fair chance when competing against those who are inevitably cheaper by cutting corners.

EventServ adheres to strict health and safety practices with our award-winning SHEQT culture (safety, health, environment, quality and training) meaning that it will always flex to the needs of an event but safety is non-negotiable. The new regulations will now make this the case for everyone.

CDM regulations will inevitably mean more training, education and more investments and, but surely this can only be a good thing?

The new regulations not only mean changes for those building the event structures but will also apply to how sites are managed, events run and affect most aspects of the event industry.

This will be a giant learning curve across a broad spectrum of event types and event professionals, affecting the biggest and smallest of players from huge music concerts to large exhibition stands.

Out of this, the industry will now have one unified way of working under the same common code of practice making it easier for suppliers, lead contractors and enforcing officers to have clearly-defined parameters to work within. The changes will no doubt ruffle a few feathers but change should not be painful only the resistance to change is painful.