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Safety Officer

The Safety Officer is in overall control of operational safety management issues on an event day.

The Safety Officer should be recognised as being in overall control of operational safety management issues on an event day.

They must have the authority to make any safety-related decisions on an event day without having to refer to senior management, board members or event organisers.

On non-event days, the Safety Officer should be regarded as a principal adviser to the management on all spectator-related safety issues. They may have other duties as part of their responsibilities.

On event days, they must have no other responsibilities other than their role as Safety Officer.

No stakeholder in an event – be it the venue management, competition officials, event participants, or representatives of the media or of commercial interests – should make any decisions relating to the event that could have implications for safety without the agreement of the Safety Officer.

In the UK it is common for safety certificates to state that, in the absence of a named Safety Officer, the capacity of the venue will be reduced to zero (that is, the event can still be staged, but with no spectators present).

Whether or not such a condition applies, management should always ensure that plans are in place to cover the absence or non-availability of key personnel.

Chapter 4 of SG03: Event Safety Management outlines further information about the Safety Officer and the wider safety management structure.

In the UK, Safety Officers should ideally have the Level 4 Diploma in Spectator Safety Management.

However, as Safety Officers typically enter the profession by a variety of career paths, bringing with them knowledge and experience from other fields that are fully transferable.

As such, the Level 4 Diploma is recommended, but is not a requirement to being a Safety Officer.

Role and responsibilities

Specific duties and responsibilities for a Safety Officer include:

  • The preparation, monitoring, reviewing and maintenance of an Operations Manual, and for each event, an Event Management Plan and the Event Record.
  • Recruiting and training safety personnel
  • Internal liaison with the senior executive with responsibility for safety and relevant functional areas or departments.
  • External liaison with event organisers, relevant stakeholders, including the local authority, police and other emergency services, and stakeholders concerned with Zone Ex.
  • Directing the briefing and debriefing of safety personnel.
  • Overseeing the reporting and initial investigation of incidents during an event.

Deputy Safety Officer

All aspects of a venue’s safety management operation should have a degree of resilience. As such management should draw up plans to cover for the non-availability of safety personnel on an event day, and appoint competent deputies for key safety roles, starting with the Safety Officer.

A Deputy Safety Officer, in common with the Safety Officer, should have the Level 4 Diploma in Spectator Safety Management, or the Level 3 Extended Certificate in Spectator Safety Supervision at smaller venues, or should be working towards such as qualification.

Deputies should have worked alongside the Safety Officer for at least four events, before they take charge on their own.

It is also considered good practice for the Deputy Safety Officer to be placed in charge of events at which the Safety Officer is present, in order that they may demonstrate their competence and gain experience.

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