Target Hardening - Barriers in Crowded Places

Target Hardening - Barriers in Crowded Places

The threat from a vehicle being used as a weapon in an act of terror has been growing in western countries in recent years, as the relative ease of access to vehicles in public spaces becomes a more obvious option for radicalised violent extremists, or for non-terror motivated violent individuals. This has been reinforced with the recent vehicle attacks in New York in October 2017 (BBC News), in London in June 2017 (The Telegraph UK), in Melbourne in January 2017 (ABC News), in Berlin in December 2016 and in Niece in 2016 (The Telegraph UK).

In 2017 the Australia and New Zealand Counter Terrorism Committee (ANZCTC) released a set of ‘Hostile Vehicle Guidelines for Crowded Places.’ These Guidelines are available on the ANZCTC website (https://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au), and set out the various obligations of stakeholders responsible for hosting mass gatherings in public spaces against ‘hostile vehicle’ attacks.  The Guidelines put a more significant onus on event organisers to work with police and other relevant authorities to implement appropriate ‘target hardening’ measures to mitigate or eliminate vehicles being able to travel at speed into crowds. 

The Guidelines encourage event organisers to utilise venues with existing natural or man-made barriers or to install additional infrastructure around mass gathering areas that are vulnerable.

Currently in Australia and other comparable countries, the use of large concrete barriers are being utilised as a highly visible, physical deterrent for not only temporary public events, but also as temporary/permanent infrastructure protecting public spaces.

Whilst such barriers act as a useful vehicle mitigation control, it was reported in a crash-test conducted by German vehicle manufacturer; Dekra in April this year, the barriers to be less than effective at preventing vehicles driving at speed (World News RT). The test conducted under controlled conditions involved a ten-tonne truck ramming concrete bollards at 50km/hr, resulting in bollard penetration with little effect on the speed of the truck.  

According to the study, this raises questions about the effectiveness of this form of vehicle mitigation as a standalone control, and that it may be required to be used in conjunction with other forms of target hardening mitigation methods.

As was also reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, Scotland Yard in the UK are developing new strategies to combat vehicle attacks with a product called a ‘Talon’ – a large piece of netting with metal barbs, designed to puncture and grip to the vehicle tyres bringing it to an abrupt stop. More information about this product can be found at: http://news.met.police.uk/news/new-protective-equipment-used-at-central-london-event-259161.

The threat of terrorism appears to be with us for some time to come, and these additional considerations in a venue or event’s risk assessment will continue to grow in importance.

Terror Threat Continues to Influence Major Event Planning

Terror Threat Continues to Influence Major Event Planning

As the Christmas event period fast approaches, Government authorities across Australia have been placed on high alert as the threat of terrorism continues to be a way of life for both organisers and participants in public events.

In addition to recently released Hostile Vehicle Guidelines, the “Active Armed Offender Guidelines for Crowded Places” has also been released in 2017 by the Australia- New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee (ANZCTC) in response to a growing number of ‘active shooter’ crowd-related terrorism threats around the world.

In October 2017 Las Vegas became the location of the deadliest firearm attack on US soil in modern US history, killing more than 50 people and injuring over 500 according to The Guardian. The incident occurred at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival, held on a 15 acre outdoor venue with approximately 22,000 patrons attending. As was well reported, the shooter was in a nearby hotel building on the 32nd floor.

While active shooter scenarios are rare events in Australia and New Zealand, they occur more regularly in the US; and much can be gained in terms of response strategies for event organisers to Active Shooter incidents.

The principles of Run – Hide – Fight; (and ‘Tell’ in Australia/New Zealand), are well documented responses that individuals can be instructed to do as part of basic response procedures.  However, as the Vegas incident demonstrated, the choice of venue location is also important; as is the effectiveness of access control of the venue and its surrounding vantage points.

There is no simple solution here, as event organisers are not always availed of countless venue options. The likely outcome of a continued deterioration of the security environment will be, increased security-related infrastructure and labour force costs.  Ultimately, the eventual conclusion being cancellation of public events – and nobody in our industry wants this!! 

To apply a risk management approach to security planning, consider both preventative and preparedness measures such as:

  •          Engage a competent and qualified security advisor;
  •          Take heed from the ANZCTC resources;
  •          Consider site locations carefully (for outdoor events and mass gatherings);
  •          Develop a detailed Security Risk Management Plan and Emergency Response Plan;
  •          Undertake workforce training in preventative and response measures;
  •          Build close relationships with local police and seek their guidance regarding risk control measures and the status of                 threats; and
  •          Rehearse response protocols using desktop exercises and scenario planning.

Falls Festival 'Fine' Fails as Class Action Commences

Falls Festival 'Fine' Fails as Class Action Commences

As was reported in The Sydney Morning Herald, on Friday December 30th 2016, the Falls Festival was held in Lorne, Victoria. The Falls Festival is a major Australian Music and Arts Festival recognised globally. The festival is a multi-day event hosting contemporary music performances, dance, comedy, theatre, circus and other art performances.

Around 11pm, following the end of a performance, a surge of patrons exited out of a tented performance area, causing a crowd crush with approximately 80 people being injured. Following the incident, upcoming performances within that venue were suspended with Emergency Services and WorkSafe Victoria conducting investigations into the cause of the incident.

According to ABC’s Triple J "Hack" program, almost eleven months later, the investigation has found, “there is insufficient evidence to prosecute the event organiser, Ash Sounds Pty Ltd. in relation to an incident at the company's Falls Music and Arts Festival in Lorne last year”.

The investigation conducted by WorkSafe Victoria revealed; “that all the conditions imposed by various bodies in relation to the event, such as crowd control, crowd size, and positioning and size of exits, had been met”.

They further reported that: “As a result, WorkSafe found there was insufficient evidence to establish any offence under the 2004 OHS Act and no further action will be taken.”

However, there has subsequently been a potential Class Action announced by Maddens Lawyers’ Brendan Pendergast, (ABC’s Triple J "Hack" program), where patrons are claiming compensation for pain and suffering resulting from injuries sustained in the incident. 

So as we enter the music festival season for the Summer of 2017, event organisers need to pay close attention Crowd Management planning.  

Footballers Feet Foiled in Risky Recovery

Footballers Feet Foiled in Risky Recovery

With football season drawing to an end, methods of muscle recovery have come into question after a young U16 AFL footballer got more than he bargained for during a post-match recovery session at Dendy Street Beach in Brighton, Victoria last month.

The footballer was standing still in freezing water and was attacked by what was thought to be sea lice; eating through the epidermal layer of skin on his ankles and feet. It wasn’t until he had got out of the water and walked for about 20 meters that he realised he was actually bleeding.

The victim told 3AW, "[I couldn't feel anything] because the cold water basically numbed my legs, I felt what I thought was pins and needles". 

Further studies of the meat loving creatures actually revealed them to be scavenging crustacean’s known as lysianassid amphipods which usually feast on decaying sea life.

Many footballers take to the ocean for recovery and there are several benefits that show how effective cold-water baths are for muscle recovery; such as in an article published by Intelligenttriathlontraining.com that states it can;

  • Improve blood circulation to help remove waste products from the muscles
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Improve muscle activation
  • Reduce DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)
  • Improve next day training ability
  • Allow optimum fuel recovery
  • Psychological benefits –improved well being
  • Overall improved muscle function

Whilst this incident may be rare, it isn’t uncommon for swimmers to exit the ocean with a sea-lice rash. Perhaps now we now need to put sea-lice on the risk register for muscle recovery.

High- Octane Vapour Leak Infects GP Press Conference

High- Octane Vapour Leak Infects GP Press Conference

Big smiles and pleasantries turn into grimaces and tears at the post Singapore GP press conference, as Australian Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo filled the air with a foul odour from his leaky exhaust.

Fellow rivals Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were left breathless and struggling for words during a live interview with the press following their podium finish. While the pain and suffering from those of others was evident by their facial expressions; the health benefits of flatulence are well documented.

Scientists from the University of Exeter in the UK have found that the smell of rotten eggs and human flatulence may someday be useful in mitigating the cell damage responsible in part for certain diseases.

The study, published in a recent issue of the journal Medicinal Chemistry Communications, examined the impact of hydrogen sulfide gas—which humans produce in small amounts during digestion—on cells' mitochondria. Although the gas is harmful in large doses, scientists found that cellular exposure to smaller amounts of the compound may prevent mitochondrial damage. This could have future implications in the prevention of strokes, arthritis, heart disease, among other things, the researchers say.

Other articles such as littlethings.com also pipe the merits of exhaust release such as;

·         It’s good for your colon health- holding in your gas can potentially cause medical troubles for your colon, according to Women’s Health Magazine.

·         It’s an excellent early warning system – If you let it happen you and/or your colleagues might actually be able to predict any potential major health. Extreme smells, increasing gas frequency, and strange gas pains can alert you to conditions as mild as lactose intolerance, and as extreme as colon cancer.

·         It can help you balance your diet – Flatulence can help teach oneself about foods our body can handle, or what your colleagues can’t! For example, rare passing of wind, may suggest you need more fibre and foods such as lentils, beans, and kale in your diet. Eating too much red meat, meanwhile, can produce a deeply unpleasant smell later, which tells you that you may need to cut back your consumption.

With so many benefits from passing wind you can understand why Daniel Ricciardo is always smiling.

“It’s a No-Wind Situation “

“It’s a No-Wind Situation “

August has definitely lived up to its “Windy Month” status. NSW has experienced much wild weather with incidents affecting the integrity of structures and buildings across the state.

On the 16th of August 2017, two separate incidents affected construction sites from wild wind in Sydney.

In one incident on a residential construction site, a man was killed after a wall, that was under construction was blown over, crushing him and resulting in cardiac arrest.

In the second incident, similar failures occurred with a wall being blown over on a construction site causing a worker critical injuries.  

According to ABC News, Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union NSW State Secretary Brian Parker said what happened today was "absolutely appalling"…"Everyone knows about August winds, things have got to be braced,' he said.

Meanwhile on the 21st of August 2017, the winds were again caused havoc in Sydney causing traffic chaos on roads and footpaths. Two people were injured near Wynyard train station after a piece of cladding was blown off a building on Clarence Street striking them.

At newly developed Barangaroo, a large sheet of double-glazed glass fell onto a pedestrian alleyway from the fourth floor of International House. It is unknown if anyone was injured or what caused such a strong and heavy piece of glass to fall.

Event risk management planning must also take into account the impact of adverse weather such as wind. There are numerous examples historically where failures to adequately erect structures to cope with wind gusts have resulted in fatalities. The Indiana State Fair is one high profile example that comes to mind. www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2025832/Indiana-State-Fair-Horrific-moment-stage-collapsed-screaming-crowd.html

For larger structures such as marquees, grandstands and temporary fencing it is critical to ensure that they are adequately secured for the worst-case foreseeable weather conditions and that they have been signed off an appropriately qualified engineer.

Ashes at Risk over Aussie Cricket’s Pay Dispute

Ashes at Risk over Aussie Cricket’s Pay Dispute

On my way to work last week, I popped into our local coffee shop in Randwick, Sydney, and there was Steve Smith- Australia’s Cricket Captain; the man with the second most important job in the country, having a cuppa in his tracksuit pants and reading the paper.   For fear of stalking, I didn’t sit too close, but we were reading the same paper; and there was no avoiding the article on cricket’s pay dispute.   As he sat there calmly I felt like saying: “Mate – just fix it!  Your country needs its cricket!!”

As the summer of cricket looms, the ongoing pay dispute between Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian Cricketer’s Association (ACA) are today reportedly close to avoiding  Arbitration and resolving the impasse. 

The dispute involves CA wishing to break away from an arrangement that has been in place for 20 years.  Under that deal, players have been paid from gross revenue from matches.  According to Fairfax Media, CA says it needs to change the model as the sport needs more than $200 million over the next five years to help develop the game, support local clubs and deal with threats from other sports.  CA wants to break with the way cricketers have been compensated which involved players receiving a set share of CA's revenue.

Under CA’s new proposal, CA bosses would pay players an amount not linked to the revenue of the sport, which the ACA believes could be as much as $2.6 billion over the next five years. But that figure has been disputed by CA which points to a "soft" TV market that could cost it up to $200m in its next TV deal for international cricket and the Big Bash League. The players, however, favour the current model because it effectively gives them partner status rather than being mere workers for hire. 

Over 200 players contracted to CA ran out of contract at the end of June and are now effectively out of work.  So as it stands, the summer’s Ashes tour is at risk.    

While it is improbable that the Ashes would get cancelled, it is quite possible that a splitting in the ranks could see a second-tier side being fielded, resulting in a white wash of the series back to England.

In 2013 I had the good fortune of travelling to the UK for a conference just after the English won the Ashes.  I would be a very wealthy man if I had $10 for every time a ‘gloating local’ took the opportunity to ‘rub my nose in it’.  Of course we Aussie’s would never sink to those lows; and are far more respectful of our sporting foes……… (I hear you choke).

England currently hold the Ashes, but at the time of my visit in 2013, England had won the last two series beforehand.   Australia however has won the most matches since the biennial series started in 1882.  Now with the series evenly poised at 32 each, I’m sure there’s many Aussies who couldn’t stand more horn blowing Brits, blowing their own!   

And as a friend of many cricketing venues, I’m sure they’re not keen on a sub-standard Test Series.  So -  in the interest of our deep ceded Colonial rivalry – PLEASE SORT THIS OUT!!!!

Fanning Waves at Great White Drop In

Fanning Waves at Great White Drop In

Every surfer’s biggest fear is being second on the food chain.  Any surfer that has survived an encounter with a Great White and survived, would be excused if they politely called “time” on their sport, and moved on to another land-based pursuit.  But not Aussie Legend, Mick Fanning who in 2015 now famously punched out his toothier opponent while competing in the finals of the World Surf League at Jeffrey’s Bay in South Africa; and survived.

In some parts of the world, lightning does strike twice.

During the quarter finals in July this year, in the exact location, Fanning again had a close encounter with a beast returning to settle the score.  Fortunately however, officials had adopted significant improvements to shark monitoring and response protocols and both on-water competitors were rapidly extricated from surf zone to safety on jet skis.

But Jeffreys Bay is not the only World Surf League event affected by sharks.  In April 2016, ABC reported that during a WSL event in Margaret River, a large Great White also made its presence known. US surfer Kanoa Igarashi described the size of the shark seen at Margaret River on Thursday at sunset as "like a submarine".

In risk management terms, such near misses are important Key Risk Indicators that demand close attention. 

These events have caused event organisers to take action.  New protocols at these surf events include: shark monitoring jet skis, drones fitted with cameras, and the banning of in-water cameramen. 

These were implemented at Jeffreys Bay and helped mitigate the risk.

However two near misses in two years begs the obvious question; is it worth holding competitions in known shark locations, given the risk?  According to competitors……….yes!

Clearly the rewards of conquering the ocean far outweigh the risks.

Amusement Ride Safety under the Spotlight

Amusement Ride Safety under the Spotlight

Last month South Australian safety regulator Safe Work SA, successfully prosecuted a Queensland based company for breaches of the SA Workplace Health and Safety Act, following the 2014 death of a child at the Adelaide Show on an amusement ride. 

The incident involved a child being ejected from her seat and killed whilst riding the ‘Airmaxx 360’ at the Adelaide Showground.  The ride was owned by a Queensland based company, C J and Sons Amusement.  The company and its Co-Director, Ms Jenny-Lee Sullivan; were notionally fined $157,500 for failing to uphold their duty of care.

Ms Sullivan pleaded guilty to negligence by failing to safely maintain the ride to appropriate standards.  According to news reports, it was proven that the company had knowingly allowed show goers to ride, despite their being previous complaints and injuries from other shows in Melbourne and Sydney.  The operator had also failed to keep appropriate maintenance logs of repairs.

The case was heard in SA’s Industrial Court.  Adelaide Now reported that Magistrate Michael Ardlie had commented that the company was insolvent with debts of almost $1 million since the tragedy. As such the defendants had little prospect of paying the penalty or compensation.  The Court ordered a payment of $20,000 compensation however given their financial circumstances, they were only required to pay a crime levy of $420 each.  It was however reported that the child’s mother received a significant compensation payment from the Show’s liability insurer.

Public venues and event organisers hosting amusement rides on their site, need to be aware of the due diligence obligations required under Local Health and Safety Laws to ensure they are upholding their due diligence.  This article is not suggesting that any such failure occurred with the Adelaide Showground. 

Work Health and Safety Regulations and Australian Standards cover the use of amusement devices.  Australian Standard AS 3533.2 – sets out the key requirements to register, maintain and operate the devices.   Due diligence of amusement operators requires that they check to assure that the operator can demonstrate conformance to these Standards and compliance requirements.

Do YOU Check Your Fire Stairs?

Do YOU Check Your Fire Stairs?

The recent discovery of a body in the stairwell of a fire escape at Westfield Bondi Junction has highlighted the importance for venues to be fitted with clear signage about ways out and that they are regularly checked for safe egress.

Mariah Carey: “Test-Test One-Two”

Mariah Carey: “Test-Test One-Two”

While New Year’s Eve is usually celebrated around the globe, there wasn’t much joy for Mariah Carey at her Times Square performance last year.

On-Set Stunt Tragedy Backfires

On-Set Stunt Tragedy Backfires

Film production sets can be dangerous places as evidenced by the recent accidental shooting death of stuntman Johann Ofner in Brisbane. As reported in the Courier Mail, the strongman and budding reality TV star died after a stunt involving firearms went horribly wrong on the set while filming a music clip for hip-hop duo Bliss N Eso.

What is the risk profile for your city?

What is the risk profile for your city?

A recently released report published in the Sydney Morning Herald – ‘Resilience Sydney’ – identified a series of risks in two categories that the harbour city may face and included a number of chronic stresses and acute shocks.

The Cost of Non Compliance

The Cost of Non Compliance

A number of H&S non-compliance cases have resulted in heavy - and sometimes historic - fines for companies in the entertainment, leisure and construction industry.

The Surge of Thunderstorm Asthma

The Surge of Thunderstorm Asthma

Melbourne’s recent thunderstorm-driven asthma incident is now under investigation by the Victorian Coroner, to review the systematic issues associated with the event.  Eight people died after the weather turned suddenly on 21 November.

 Conference Update – YouRope

Conference Update – YouRope

YouRope is the Festival Association of Europe.  It has 90+ members across 27 countries representing music festivals, venues and suppliers to that industry. In September this year, the group held its 22nd annual Safety Seminar.

The Politics of Social Media

The Politics of Social Media

While this email is arriving in your inbox, the United States will be voting for their next President. In one of the longest and most hostile campaigns for the White House ever, the final two parties have given us a masterclasses in social media use.

Trust Me - You Need a Back Up Generator

Trust Me - You Need a Back Up Generator

Melbourne Cup Day - The race that stops the nation.  Workplaces shut down, pubs pause and televisions across the country (and around the world), are glued to the broadcast.

When Safety Meets Hollywood

When Safety Meets Hollywood

While on the set filming of the latest Star Wars film, it seems Harrison Ford had more to worry about than the Empire after a hydraulic door on the iconic Millennium Falcon failed and crushed its captain, “Han Solo”.