“Focusing on minor incidents could avoid major disasters” asserts Buckinghamshire New University crowd management specialist

Emma Parkinson

Emma Parkinson

Emma Parkinson – course leader for the BA (Honours) degree in Crowd Safety Management at Buckinghamshire New University – has called on the events industry to place greater focus on reporting minor incidents in order to avoid major disasters.

Parkinson was addressing delegates at the Event Safety Alliance’s recent Event Safety Summit in Pennsylvania about the part played by near-miss and accident reporting in the development of effective safety cultures.

The crowd management specialist commented: “Disastrous incidents can often be traced back to small failings happening at the same time and mixing with unexpected incidents to lead to catastrophic outcomes. The more failings we can help to eradicate through education, training and consulting with industry, the less likely we are to see disasters. This is just as true in the events and crowd safety industry as it is in any other.”

Parkinson, who has previously worked at Oxfam (one of the UK’s largest stewarding organisations), explained that the entertainment, crowd safety and events industries had “a way to go” in order to truly understand the value of reporting near-miss events.

“Parts of the entertainment industry have excellent accident reporting systems in place,” stated Parkinson, “but among such a disparate profession this is by no means widespread. I’m looking at how we might first begin to share a common understanding of what constitutes an accident, before then reviewing how we can move the industry towards a position of understanding the value of reporting near-miss events and the part such seemingly insignificant factors have played in historical disasters.”

Parkinson continued: “I’m exploring the benefits to the industry that can accrue through the introduction of the conditions that encourage near-miss and accident reporting, as well as looking at the barriers to such reporting that exist, be they cultural, psychological or economic in nature.”

Parkinson believes her research could be adapted into organisational structures in a range of sectors.

In response, Jim Digby (president and chairman of the Board of Directors of the Event Safety Alliance), enthused: “The Event Safety Alliance is extremely grateful for the participation of Emma Parkinson, whose research and associated science relating to the necessity of near-miss reporting and crowd dynamics were an invaluable addition to the Event Safety Alliance’s second Event Safety Summit.”

Digby concluded: “Emma’s extraordinary knowledge of the subject matter and her ability to connect with like-minded individuals in the live event space represented a perfect fit.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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