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Quirky British Summers!
With British Summertime well and truly here, businesses and organisations are reminded of the importance of managing the additional liability risks associated with hosting an outdoor event.

Every year for nearly 200 years, the last Monday in May saw Gloucestershire folk – and visitors – running down Cooper's Hill in pursuit of a 7lb Double Gloucester cheese. The hill is known for a gradient that in places is one in two and in others one in one. In 2009 the event unexpectedly swelled outstripping event capacity – this led to 18 people being injured in the Gloucestershire cheese-rolling event with several taken to hospital. They included two spinal injuries and a dislocated shoulder. One spectator was injured after falling out of a tree. This led to the official events in 2010 and 2011 being scrapped as they could not find an insurer for the now 'high risk ' event.

So whether you are planning a village fete, or a larger event involving hundreds or even thousands of attendees, a risk assessment should always be undertaken in advance to properly assess the additional risks. If your event includes activities of a potentially dangerous nature, such as abseiling, bungee jumping, bonfires, firework displays, the use of a bouncy castle or cheese rolling, let us know so we can advise on appropriate cover. Special events should not be considered 'business as usual' as they may pose additional liability risks to the organisers.

The primary concern of any event should be to make it as safe as reasonably practicable for all concerned. Entertainment events may be classed as work activity so may be subject to the Health & Safety at Work Act. In addition, under the Occupiers Liability Act 1957, there is also a duty of care to ensure the safety of visitors when carrying out the activities for which they were invited or permitted at the event.

Aviva, a leading insurer, recommends the assessment should include identification of all possible hazards that could occur and also include how the risk will be controlled. Event organisers should also consider requesting risk assessments from third parties such as contractors and participants. It is important to obtain copies of public liability insurance cover from third party contractors and to check that cover is in force, the indemnity limit is not less than the organisers limit and the contractors' insurances extend to indemnify the organiser as 'principal'.

It is important to employ the right level of risk management to help create a happy and safe event. In addition make sure you have event insurance cover in place to ensure you and your business, organisation or charity are financially protected.


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Dickson and Co is a trading name of Dickson and Co (NI) Limited which is registered at 54 Dromore Road, Omagh, Co Tyrone BT78 1RB with number NI072179. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the United Kingdom and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland for conduct of business rules. We are covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service. You can find out more at www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk