Vivid Inquest News


DEC, 2016


Safety Management

Risk Assessments


An inquest into the death of an Irish tourist at Sydney’s 2014 Vivid Festival has heard there was no emergency plan and staff had never practised for such an incident.

Brendan Hickey, 34, was on a night out with his girlfriend and two friends when he fell into the water at Cockle Bay shortly before 11:00pm on May 23.”

Reported By Michelle Brown 19 Sep 2016 for ABC News.

So the enquiry into the tragic death of Brendon Hickey has started to question how robust and effective the risk assessment and operational planning was for this event.

Strong opinion and words have been levelled:

  • No Emergency Plan,
  • The risk asesssments didn’t take account of advice from Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority
  • Inadequate briefing of safety staff
  • No table top or training practice to prepare for emergency action
  • Show Stop not instigated.

The inquest has concluded and 6 recommendations have been made by the Deputy State Coroner, Magistrate Teresa O’Sullivan.

1. That the directors of Concept Entertainment Group Pty Ltd (CEG) give urgent consideration to the retention by the company of an appropriately qualified risk management consultant to perform a review of the company’s risk management policies, practices and procedures.

2. That the directors of CEG give urgent consideration to the provision of formal, documented training to directors, officers and employees who are required, from time to time, by the company to conduct risk assessments and to prepare event management and emergency management plans. Such training should be provided by an appropriately qualified risk management consultant or registered vocational training organisation specialising in the provision of risk assessment and risk management training.

3. That the Minister and the Chief Executive Officer give urgent consideration to the establishment of an independent review of the risk assessment and risk management systems utilised by Place Management NSW (including the divisions known or formerly known as the “Operations” and “Events” divisions) in relation to the planning and conduct of events to be held on the land managed by Place Management NSW (including events organised by a third party).

4. That the independent review referred to in recommendation 3 above should include a review of the steps taken to ensure that officers in charge of Place Management NSW vessels operated in the waters of Darling Harbour / Cockle Bay are appropriately licenced and qualified.

5. That the Minister and the Chief Executive Officer give urgent consideration to the development by Place Management NSW of documented, identified and quantifiable criteria for the purpose of defining “major” or “large scale” events to be held in the Darling Harbour precinct at which the event manager must be required, for the safety of the public, to erect temporary barriers to isolate the open waters’ edge of Cockle Bay.

6. That the Minister and the Chief Executive Officer give urgent consideration to establishing a systematic review, using historical incident data, of the corporate ‘Risk Decision Criteria’ used by Place Management NSW, in particular, as used in the assessment of the risks to public safety associated with the open waters’ edge at Cockle Bay, Darling Harbour (as outlined in the Reliance Risk Shoreline Risk Assessment report dated 2 November 2015 compiled for Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority). The purpose of the review is to ensure that an appropriate balance is maintained between the design objectives associated with the preservation of an open waters’ edge to Cockle Bay and the need to ensure public safety in relation to the ongoing operation by Place Management NSW of the Darling Harbour precinct as a major local and international tourist destination.

What does this mean now to Venue owners, Event planners, Safety Consultants and Operations staff?

What now?

For any event professional this is the time to reflect on a number of key questions for any event you are involved with:

Is the event risk assessment robust, effective and comprehensive? Is the health and safety plan written and tested? Has the venue and site plan covered all physical, crowd, emergency services, facility management? Have I got an effective fire safety plan? Am I satisfied with the crowd management and transport management plans?

AND! Have I got the right skills, experience, knowledge and understanding to ensure the safe running of the event?

Well, I guess that many of you will be able to tick these boxes with confidence. BUT! for those of you who have any doubts, can you risk it?

You are responsible for you own development and if you have identified you need to update your knowledge, understanding and refresh you skills development…………… ACT NOW!!

To find out more or book a visit call: +44 (0) 1604 210500 or email [email protected]


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