Rory Sloan: Britannia rules the health and safety wave

Rory Sloan, head of production, RPM, and Eventia board member, talks legacy, London 2012 and health and safety

I couldn’t be prouder of the summer we have just had. I’m sure people, especially in our industry, are getting bored of hearing that. However, the reason I’m so proud may not be as obvious as you all think. Yes, there was the Jubilee with all its pomp and ceremony that us Brits do so well, and then there was the Olympic and Paralympic Games; but was there ever really any doubt they would be fantastic?

There was a very specific element that had me brimming with pride. During the Games not one person involved in the staging of them died. That is huge, especially considering it has never happened before at any previous Games. Very sadly there was a death during the construction phase of a crane operator, but for the setting up, live event and break element with the thousands of events professionals and volunteers, 18,000 for the opening ceremony alone, the worst recorded incident was the loss of two fingers. LOCOG had set a target of one death as an acceptable loss, but thankfully by having none that target was well and truly smashed. In an industry that’s constantly looking for new measurement tools and sturdy ROI models, who wouldn’t be impressed with that achievement?

I’m a staunch supporter of the value and worth of events, but I’d always find it hard to justify the worth of an event when weighed against a human life. How was this amazing feat achieved? Was it luck or great planning? What I reckon and what I hope is that all the work done to bring our industry up to speed with health and safety over the past two decades has paid off. Health and safety is no longer a bolt on, an afterthought, or a box-ticking exercise. It’s an integral part of events and is, as it should be, interwoven throughout the event lifecycle.

Britain well and truly rules the events industry wave on a global level, not just because of our enviable creative thinking or the British public’s appetite for live events but also because of the professionalism and exemplary safety record we bring with us; not that we can or ever should rest on our laurels.