Managing Risks for your Exhibition Stand

You probably have a Health and Safety Policy for your workplace, but are you aware that this needs to extend to your exhibition attendance? Exhibitions are hazardous environments, and are considered miniature workplaces, so it is vital that you conduct a thorough risk assessment to protect you, your staff and visitors. 

If you are self-building your stand you will need to submit a Risk Assessment and Method Statement to the exhibition organiser to cover the build, the show itself and the dismantle. If you’re using a contractor to build and dismantle your stand, they will be responsible for this period, but you still have to cover the actual show period.

Risk Assessments for Exhibition Stands

A Risk Assessment needs to cover all hazards arising from work practices on site during set up, the actual show and dismantle. These may include lifting, PPE, fire controls, exhibits and/or demonstrations, hazardous chemicals, RIDDOR (reporting of accidents), fume extraction, noise, etc, especially as it may affect neighbouring stands, visitors, etc.

As an exhibitor you could be liable for heavy fines and even imprisonment if someone was harmed on your stand and you were found not to have the correct assessments in place. By law, your risk assessment must be ‘suitable and sufficient’ - but it must also be simple to understand, implement and communicate to all your staff and contractors.

 

 

A common format for risk assessments is to take the following steps:

1. Identify the hazard

Some things to consider:

  • What equipment will be needed to build the stand?
  • What materials and/or chemicals will be used?
  • Is there a risk of contractors falling from the stand?
  • Will lorries or vans need to enter the site?
  • Is any electrical work taking place?
  • What happens to the rubbish?
  • Will power tools be needed?
  • Will visitors be able to interact with your products?
  • Does anything on your stand pose a fire hazard?

2. Identify who could be harmed and how

Assess who could be harmed from each hazard, from employees, to contractors, visitors and other exhibitors. 

3. Come up with control measures

Once you have identified the risks, you can then decide on the appropriate action you are going to take to eliminate them. Questions to ask yourself:

  • Can the hazard or risk be removed completely, or can things be done in a different way to eliminate it?
  • If the risk cannot be removed, can it be isolated, controlled or reduced and how will you go about doing this?
  • What protective measures can be taken that will protect the workforce on site?

Protective work wear should be the final option to take and may not be the only solution.

4. Record and notify the findings

Record your findings on a Risk Assessment Form and circulate it to all individuals identified in Step 2. Take all the necessary steps to minimise each risk.

5. Monitor and review

Keep the risk assessment as a working document, making sure that you update it with any changes that occur on site which might affect it. New work practices or new staff may alter the risks present.

Method Statement

A Method Statement is also required by the show organiser and should be completed by the stand manager. It is used to identify the key components of the build/breakdown so that the environment can be as safe as possible. You may not have to complete it if you have a shell scheme package, please refer to your exhibitor manual. If you are using a contractor talk through the points with them.

The length of your statement will depend on the complexity of your stand but should cover the following:

Responsible Person: The employee who is in charge of the build and breakdown of your stand and their contact details out of hours.

Stand Details and location: The features of your stand, their dimensions and where your stand is located.

Access: What vehicles will you be using, where will they enter the hall and when?

Erection and timetable: What is the timetable for building your stand? Which elements will be built first? When are any electrical components going in?

Stability: Do any elements of your stand require structural support? Calculations and inspection certificate from an independent structural engineer should be included.

Lifting: What equipment will be used, their capacities, weight, locations and floor loadings.

Scaffolding: Include information on any scaffolding, access towers or other work at height which you need to carry out.

Hazardous Substances: Will you be using any chemicals or other hazardous substances for your stand build? Include the protection being given to employees and workers on nearby stands.

Environment: Will you be making excessive noise, dust or fumes? What ventilation and other control measures will be needed?

Services: Note where electrical work will be undertaken. Will there be any welding, gases, compressed air, water or waste services required on site.

Exhibits: Provide the organiser with details of any exhibits that may present a risk to the public and/or the operator.

Summary

A risk assessment and method statement are required by all space-only exhibitors to protect staff, contractors, visitors and neighbouring stand members. If you are using a contractor, they will be responsible for a risk assessment of the build and breakdown phase, but you still need to cover the actual show. This is just a guide, refer to your exhibitor manual for full details of what is required for a particular event.

For help designing your next exhibition stand, call us on 0800 019 2141 or email design@exhibition-stands.com.

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