Tighter crowd controls must be introduced at many music and sports events in the UK to safeguard spectator safety, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has warned.
Formal safety training for stewards, the retention of all-seater stadiums and better management of crowd flows are among measures urged by IOSH after its poll of sports and music fans revealed many had been hurt at an event or involved in a crowd surge.
Most big gigs or matches are well-organised with health and safety the number one priority, said IOSH, but there are still events being held across the UK every year which fall well below the necessary safety standards.
Nearly one in three people feared for their safety at a major sports or music event, according to the poll of 3,000 fans. Of those who felt unsafe, half blamed overcrowding, while many cited drug or alcohol misuse (18%), fighting (13%) and rowdiness of crowds (16%).
More than one in ten said they had been injured or hurt at an event, and a third had been caught up in a crowd surge – where people push forward en masse.
The Institution wants to see music event organisers provide competent on-site training for all stewards employed, and better management of crowds once inside a venue.
IOSH’s call to action comes in the wake of a number of disasters over the past decade in which people have been crushed to death in crowds. IOSH’s Sports Grounds and Events Group also reiterated its call to maintain all-seater stadiums in Premier League and Championship football stadia – a call backed by the Hillsborough Family Support Group.