Monthly Operational Newsletter


Monthly Operational Newsletter

04 Oct 2016

Welcome to our new monthly operational newsletter which will feature news and best practice reminders relating to health and safety, security, technology, sustainability and other topics that may affect you as members of the AEV.  We hope you find this interesting!


£5 million fine for Merlin Entertainment following Alton Towers crash.

Merlin Entertainment has been fined £5 million for the crash which caused two women to have a leg amputated.  It was judged to be a ‘category one’ offence where there was a high risk of death or life changing injury with a reduction for an early guilty plea.  The court heard that the starting point for fines for Merlin, which has a turnover of £500 million, was £2 to £6 million.  It is the highest fine imposed under the new sentencing guidelines introduced in 2015. 

There are number of lessons for the events industry.  The size of this fine compared to the £100,000 fine imposed in 2003 on a UK venue and its contractor for the death of a rigger is indicative of the scale of increase implied by the new sentencing guidelines.  The fact that the fine fell within the start point range meant that it could have been much higher.

Whilst Merlin were acknowledged to have cooperated with the authorities which mitigated the sentence, the fine was increased due to their initial poor response in dealing with the accident itself.

In the last month three £500,000 fines have been handed out for serious accidents.  In the most serious case a construction contractor was fined £550,000 for a double Corporate Manslaughter charge when two passers-by fell against a construction hoarding which gave way and caused them to fall 4m.  The fine was equal to a year’s turnover.

The lesson is clear for event company boards.  Fines will be very heavy for offences where there was an obvious risk of serious harm which was not properly controlled and will reflect both the severity of the accident and the turnover of the company.


HSE Enforcement of Venues and Events

Traditionally enforcement in the leisure, entertainment and events sector has been delegated by the HSE to local authorities as set out under the Health and Safety (Enforcing Authority) Regulations 1998.  Following the 2012 Olympics the HSE took back responsibility for enforcement of event construction and this was further consolidated by the introduction of CDM regulations in 2015 as covered extensively in previous newsletters.  Following the release of figures which show a sharp decline in the number of local authority staff and inspections, the HSE are considering expanding their remit further which could mean imposition of end to end enforcement by the HSE i.e. covering the open periods as well as construction phases.  It could also mean that venues fall directly under HSE enforcement for all of their activities.  Currently this is only an ‘informal consultation’.

The events industry has benefited in the past from a constructive relationship between venues and their local authority who tend to have some understanding of the venue and an indirect vested interest in the success of the venue and its event portfolio.  There would not be such a nuanced approach from the HSE who, following recent inspections under CDM, have shown themselves to be unsympathetic to the practical realities of building and running an event.  The AEV together with our sister associations AEO and ESSA will be carefully monitoring this to ensure venues and indeed the events industry are able to influence this proposal should it ever progress to a formal consultation.


£90,000 fine for LOLER infringement

A company that failed to check its lifting equipment has been fined £90,000 for the offence.  Responsible operators know that under Regulation 9 of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER), lifting equipment requires an annual ‘Thorough Inspection’ which must be conducted every six months if the equipment is used to lift people.  It is sometimes forgotten that this also applies to lifting ancillaries.  The case also illustrates that enforcement authorities will take action even if there has been no accident or injury.


New Health and Safety Minister

Penny Mordaunt has been appointed as minister of state for disabled people, work and health which means that she is the minister who oversees the HSE.  Ultimately she will be the arbiter on the extent to which a constructive paring back of health and safety legislation can be achieved post Brexit.


Regulating Wireless Equipment

In the most recent Technology Working Group meeting, Ofcom were in attendance to talk about private frequencies for wireless equipment and how they can work closer together with our three associations. Ultimately Ofcom wants to engage with our industry about issues surrounding unlicensed users.

The cross association Technology Working Group, along with the eGuide Working Group and Ofcom worked on getting some useful information together to be included in the latest version of the eGuide, which was published at the beginning of September.

Although we have informed all members that the latest version of the eGuide is now live, we wanted to draw your attention specifically to this new information, which is contained within the Connectivity (Wi-Fi) section of the eGuide, see below:

“PMSE (Programme Making and Special Events) licences must be obtained from Ofcom for any wireless equipment, such as radios, microphones and cameras. Organisers, exhibitors and suppliers bringing wireless equipment to an event are responsible for ensuring that it is compliant. Systems that operate in the following ranges are exempt from licensing:

  • UHF: 863.100-864.900MHz (hand-held transmitters of 10mW and body-worn transmitters of 50mW)
  • VHF: 173.700-175.10MHz
  • Audio equipment below 10 mW: 2.400-2.4835GHz

Licence exemption does not provide users with any form of protection from other users and there may be heavy sharing at certain locations. The ability of equipment to withstand interference may depend on its design, quality and robustness.

Further information on wireless equipment licensing can be obtained from Ofcom at / 020 7981 3803 (weekday office hours) / 07866 423619 (outside office hours).”

If you are interested in joining any of AEV’s Working Groups, please get in contact with Dani Bull.


New Electrical testing form now plugged into the industry

The Cross Association Electrics Technical Committee have invested a lot of time in updating the Exhibition Stand Electrical Installation Inspection & Testing Form, to make sure that this form works for all stakeholders in the industry. Since its inclusion in the eGuide, we have received welcome feedback that it is a great improvement. Please click here to see the latest version and here to see the latest version of the Exhibition Stand Electrical Installation Inspection & Testing Form.

This is a great example of how our Working Group’s not only allow members the opportunity to meet with industry peers, gain new contacts, share knowledge/experiences, but also help to improve best practice guidance for the benefit of the whole events industry.

The cross association Electrics Technical Committee’s responsibilities include discussing current technical issues, such as electrical regulations. Over the last couple of years discussion topics have covered CDM, standbys, electrical competency, updates from BS7671 & BS7909 committees, electrical integrity of exhibitors own equipment, amongst many further varied topics.

If you would like to be part of this innovative, forward thinking group, please get in contact with Dani Bull



  • "Great day hosting our first AEV working group event!..WOW did I learn a lot and some great insights into how other venues work and the challenges they are trying to overcome. If you are a venue looking to network with other like minded professionals I would recommend looking at joining the AEV".
    Danielle Worker
    Corporate Events Team Leader, Silverstone Circuits Ltd
  • "“Great essential for a successful venue. The AEV provides a platform to establish consistent best practice in this field"
    Phil Wetz
    Retail & Catering Manager, ExCeL London
  • “The AEV provides collective representation for its member venues, turning individual commitment into a group effort"
    Paul Brough
    Venue Health & Safety Manager, Olympia London
  • "Proud to be part of this Cross Association discussion. I am confident in our ability to improve and progress our working platform through conversation".
    Amir Vered
    Head of eForce and IT, Olympia London (Chair of Cross Association Technology WG)
  • “The AEV is essential to the venue sector’s ability to cooperate and collaborate"
    Jazmin Beale
    Head of Marketing & Communications, Olympia London
  • “The AEV undertakes crucial work on behalf of event venues up and down the country to ensure our voice is heard. They reinforce the important role our sector plays in delivering economic impact, increasing trade, providing jobs and driving the visitor economy.”
    Lucy Merritt
    Head of Marketing and Communications, ExCeL London
  • AEV Membership is a key part of our business strategy; it has and will continue to be a core elements of our plan to support knowledge sharing in the industry and to develop both our team and the venue.
    Kate Vandenburg
    Marketing Director - Business Design Centre
  • Our team at ACC Liverpool feel indebted to the substantial work that the AEV do for our amazing industry. As the pillar association for venues across the country it’s a real privilege for our teams to participate in many of the working groups, learning and contributing to new processes which helps drive our industry forward on a national scale.
    Colm Graham
    Senior Exhibition Account Manager, ACC Liverpool
  • We have benefited hugely from all of the insight, discussion, events and networking, but it has also meant that we have been able to give back to the industry by sharing our unique experiences and professional knowledge and allowing our employees to help lead and shape the Association from the inside.
    Mathew James
    Head of Brand, Telford International Centre
  • “The AEV has been an invaluable asset to us as a company and the wider industry, helping to lobby on the industries behalf, consolidating and distributing information and facilitating vital knowledge sharing.”
    Charlie Hodgson
    Managing Director at The Kia Oval