How safe are your Stadium parking plans?


JAN, 2016

Event Mangement
Sports Grounds

Event day parking at Stadiums and Arenas is a service that most of us will take for granted.

A Traffic Management plan will be in place for match day advisory routes to the venue, with clear route signing from main arterial roads. A booking systems for coach companies to reserve their parking will be available “on line” and parking areas allocated for buses and coaches.

Car parking stewards will be employed to “meet and greet”, directing the arriving vehicles to their allocated or reserved parking.

All sounds ok doesn’t it?  Well it can and does go wrong! When it does the outcomes can be tragic.

A colleague of mine, Andrew Bradbury an experienced and well travelled Event Manager reminded me recently of his concerns and fears for the safety of stewards at events.

I have for many years consulted and advised venues on their Traffic Management planning and training for their staff when engaged with directing and managing the flow of vehicular traffic to and from stadiums and arenas as well as open field events.

This article from, 1999 starkly illustrates the consequences of getting it wrong.

Statements such as;

“unsafe system of work” and “utterly foreseeable and avoidable”,

were comments made by the coroner  in this tragic death of a workman directing a reversing lorry.

This couldn’t happen at a football match surely though you may ask?

Consider the issues raised from this incident from the same year, 1999.

Bus crushed steward, inquest told..

Tuesday, March 9, 1999 Published at 12:43 GMT

An inquest has been told that a steward at Coventry City FC’s ground died after being crushed by the Arsenal team bus as he tried to stop a gate hitting the vehicle.

Ron Reeves, 55, was pinned between a gate-post and the coach as it reversed into the VIP car park at Highfield Road last October.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said his players had been deeply shocked by the death.

The inquest in Coventry was told that Mr Reeves, a widower, of Northfield, Birmingham, suffered skull fractures and brain injuries.

Simon Smith, a steward working with him at the time, told the jury that the accident happened as the coach arrived before the match.

Mr Smith, a civil servant, said: “I could see that Ron had his right arm outstretched, presumably in an attempt to open the gate further, and he had his back to the inside of the gatepost.

Pinned to gate-post

“This was literally half a second away from the actual impact. He was looking to his right, away from the coach, and then the coach hit Mr Reeves and actually pinned him between the gate-post and the coach.”

Mr Smith added that the driver must have felt the impact and stopped immediately, trapping the steward.

Earlier, another steward, Colin Gemmell, said Mr Reeves must have thought the gate was going to hit the coach “because he appeared at the side of the coach and put his arm in to push the gate.”

Do you have car parking staff directing reversing buses and coaches into spaces?

And incidents still occur. in September 2015, a man has been seriously injured after being crushed under a stationary car when a bus sent it catapulting into him. This occurred in Beckton, London.

So if you are reading this article and have responsibility for the safety and security of your traffic management staff, I would urge you to review your safe systems of work and stewarding operations for your car parking staff.

Ask your self, “have I identified and mitigated the risk sufficiently? Are my control measures effective? Have my staff been adequately trained to undertake the tasks safely?”

If you can say yes! to these questions then I am pleased that you are ensuring the safety of your car parking staff from the risk of injury and to avoid unsafe working practices.

If not, isn’t it time to do so? The next tragic accident and death could be on your watch.

Our motto is “Be Safe, Be Trained”.

Ensure that you are.

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