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.”