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The purpose of this report is to critically analyse and evaluate the risk management of the venue, the Giants Stadium. This paper will also suggest recommendations to enhance the venues risk management.
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The Giants Stadium is a venue located within the Sydney Olympic Park Precinct (Austadiums 2019). The site was opened in 1998, originally used as Australia’s premier baseball venue and the main baseball arena during the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games (Austadium 2019). Today, the venue is now a multi-purpose facility, catering to iconic Australian events such as the Sydney Royal Easter Show, X Games, Nitro Circus, Football and RnB Fridays (Australiasian Special Events 2019).
Mahoney, Esckilsen, Jeralds and Camp (2015) contend that governmental entities that finance and construct public assembly venues are publicly owned. Similarly, the Giants Stadium is publicly owned by the NSW Government as part of the Olympic precinct. In terms of management, the venue is governed by the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW, which is a not-for-profit organisation.
1.3 Risk Management
Public assembly venues exist to host a multitude of different events, thus each event has different elements of risk and liabilities (Mahoney et al. 2015). Venue managers and staff fall under the definition of a ‘Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking’ (PCBU) (SafeWork NSW 2019), therefore have a duty of care and legal obligation under the Work Health and Safety Act (WHS) 2011 in ensuring the safety and security of all stakeholders. Rigorous preparation and communication are fundamental to the anticipation of potential problems, as well as mitigating the effect of those that cannot be avoided (Allen, O’Toole, Harris & McDonnell 2011). Therefore, it is crucial that the venue management comply with the WHS Act (2011) as well as an application of the industry’s best practice, AS/NZS ISO 3100:2009 Risk Management Principle and Guidelines (Standards Australia 2009). Ultimately, in order to prepare for the possibility of any risk, an effective risk management plan is fundamental, requiring; the forecasting, identifying, analysing, managing and evaluation of risk, coupled with the implementation of procedures to avoid or mitigate losses (Allen et al. 2011).
2. Findings & Discussion
2.1 Emergency Management Plan
The primary goal of the venue’s management is to have the ability to respond efficiently to emergency situations (Allen et al. 2011). Therefore, an implementation of an Emergency Management Plan (EMP) is crucial to a venue’s success and viability. An EMP can be defined as a comprehensive plan that defines the steps and actions to minimize or eliminate harm to the occupants or the venue itself (Mahoney et al. 2015). Furthermore, the Giant Stadium benchmarks itself against the AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 Risk Management Principles and Guidelines to evaluate the venue’s performance and standards. Thus, to best reduce the exposure of emergency situations, the AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 requires to provide the following:
2.1.1 Terrorism Prevention
Due to recent acts of terrorism, such as the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013 and Manchester Arena Bombing in 2017 (ABC News 2017), the prevention of terrorism has increasingly become more important. Hall, Marciani and Cooper (2008) suggest that terrorists generally look for opportunities to inflict mass casualties, hence large scale sporting events or spaces provide a potential target for terrorist activity (Schwarz, Hall, Shibli 2010). Moreover, in 2017 the Australia and New Zealand Counter Terrorism Committee released guidelines for crowded spaces, suggesting a significant onus on the implementation of target hardening measures (Commonwealth of Australia 2017). The venue’s coordinator of stadium events, A. Adrian (2019, pers. comm., 15 May) contends that the Giants Stadium currently utilises large concrete barriers as permanent infrastructure to protect the area and prevent ram-raids (Appendix A). Also, additional measures such as concrete bollards surround the precinct (Appendix A).
However, a German vehicle manufacturer, Dekra, conducted a crash-test in 2017, finding that the barriers are less effective at preventing ram-raids at safe driving limits (Reliance Risk 2017). The study involved a ten-tonne truck colliding with concrete bollards at 50km/hr, this resulted in bollard penetration, yet little impact on the truck (Reliance Risk 2017). Ultimately, this raises questions about the effectiveness of the Giants Stadium form of vehicle mitigation as a control.
In addition, the Optus Stadium in Perth has implemented airport-style full body scans to detect dangerous goods (PerthNow 2018). These portable walk-through metal detectors are utilised as a supplement to the well-established wanding program. The metal detectors ensures a more thorough scan than hand-held wands and assist in detecting potential issues before they escalate (Emerson 2017). In comparison, the Giants Stadium employs standard bag checks with the assistance of hand-held wands (Sydney Showground 2016). Whilst the need to continuously adapt to the security environment is challenging, the Giants Stadium must consider appropriate measures to improve the security and safety of the public.
2.1.2 Effective Communication
During high stress situations, a communications plan assists in reducing the possibility of the venue management failing to advise important stakeholders (Schwarz, Hall & Shibli 2010). Furthermore, under the WHS Act (2011), provision of any information that is necessary to protect all persons from risk is mandatory.
Abbott and Geddie (2000) suggests that control centers are essential communication preventative tactics to mitigate and reduce risk. Similarly, in 2018 the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust (SCG) received the global Stadium Business Venue Technology Award for its state-of-the-art venue operations centre (Australiasian Leisure Management 2018). The new security operations is monitored 24 hours a day, featuring video analytics and facial recognition to help identify banned patrons and persons of interest, ultimately making the precinct a leader in stadium security for major events (Australiasian Leisure Management 2018). Comparably, the Giants Stadium also operates a 24 hour security control room (Sydney Showground), with a representative of each department of operations present, including the presence of the NSW Police (Appendix B & C). Additionally, the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (2019) notes that the stadium’s security control room has access to feeds over 120 CCTV cameras across the precinct (Appendix D). In comparison to the SCG, the Giant Stadium has implemented the baseline requirements and standards of a control center. Therefore, significant room for improvement is required to meet the best safety and security standards.
Mahoney et al. (2015), further contends that communication controls such as displaying proper signage to address policies and list prohibited items is imperative to help secure the venue. Similarly, the Giants Stadium utilises security and signage to illustrate prohibited items (Sydney Showground 2016). Exemplified by Edward (2008), suggesting that it is fundamental best practice to achieve a cohesive and well managed patron entry. Additionally, policies and procedures regarding conditions of entry are accessible to all stakeholders online (Sydney Showground 2016).
2.1.3 Alcohol Management
Excessive alcohol consumption, particularly in large scale events can result in personal injury and property damage (Abbott & Geddie 2000). This is heightened by an intoxicated Irish tourist, who drowned in Darling Harbour during the Vivid Festival in 2014 (Olding 2016). The event managers of Vivid Sydney, had carried out risk assessments prior the event but did not acknowledge any risk of patrons falling into the water (Olding 2016). Consequently, under the Law of Negligence and Limitation of Liability Act 2008, any injury a third party incurs as a result of intoxication, places the management of the venue or event in a critical position. Thus, an effective alcohol management plan is imperative to reduce risks. Under the NSW Liquor Laws, as a licensee, managements must ensure to; serve alcohol responsibly, prevent intoxication, and provide a safe venue for patrons and staff (Department of Industry 2019).
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In terms of the Giants Stadium, the Sydney Showground Chief Operating Officer, D. Jeffrey (2019, pers. comm., 15 May) claimed that the venue has specialised liquor licensing, with all alcohol done in-house by concessionaires. Furthermore, all vendors operating within the stadium have a Responsible Service for Alcohol Certificate, which is a compulsory form of training and education that aids in reducing alcohol related problems, on and off licensed premises (Service NSW 2019). Additionally, the venue’s alcohol management plan is developed in accordance with the Liquor Act 2007, and is signed off by the police. Compliance with legislation and standards is further reinforced by the venue’s conditions of entry (Sydney Thunder 2019).
2.1.4 Crowd Management via Ingress & Egress
The purpose of crowd management is to ensure the safety movement of crowds and stakeholders (Mahoney et al. 2015). Under the WHS Act (2011), a PCBU must ensure that the management of a workplace, enables a safe and secure entrance and exit. Therefore, due to a venue’s mandatory obligation in protecting patrons, an effective crowd management plan is required. In regards to the management of ingress and egress, D. Jeffrey (2019, pers. comm., 15 May) contends that the management remunerates $2.6 million to Transport NSW, to encourage attendees to utilise public transport services, therefore preventing traffic congestion. Furthermore, the venue manager contended that the RAS works together with the Olympic Park Precinct to enable road closures, thus prevents heavy traffic (Sydney Showground 2019). Additionally, A. Adrian (2019, pers. comm., 15 May) notes that unlike nearby competitors, such as Qudos Bank Arena, the Giants Stadium does not have turnstile access systems. Due to the range of events the venue caters to, the lack of turnstile access systems is perceived advantageous due to the flexibility of setting up custom entrances, with heavy reliance on signage and security (Austadiums 2019).
2.1.5 Emergency Personnel
The readiness for dealing with disastrous circumstances such as injury or death during an event is critical for effective venue management. Further, external emergency services must be utilised if the situation is beyond the capabilities of the venue and staff, therefore requires specialised attention (Mahoney et al. 2015). In accordance with the AS/NZS ISO 31000: 2009 Risk management standard, A. Adrian (2019, pers. comm., 15 May), notes that the venue effectively provides life safety and protection through the presence of law enforcement officers, first aiders and ambulance at all events.
2.1.6 Safety & Security Training
According to the AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 Risk management standard, good risk management is facilitated through the continuous review of its processes and systems (Standards Australia 2009). Similarly, Mahoney et al. (2015) suggests that all staff members must be trained, particularly regarding emergency circumstances. Comparably, according to D. Jeffrey (2019, pers. comm., 15 May) the Giants Stadium have an annual risk and WHS training week, full of presentations and discussions in regards to enhancing the safety and security of all. This practice is reinforced by the WHS Act 2011, noting that it is due diligence for PCBU’s to provide training, information and instruction of WHS practices.
Due to the increasing significance of terrorism, and the ineffectiveness of the utilisation of bollards (Reliance Risk 2017), it is important to utilise other forms of mitigation. The Australia- New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee suggests to employ layered security, which involves applying multiple layers of protective security measures (Commonwealth of Australia 2017). The purpose of layering security measures is to reduce the likelihood of a terrorist attack on a crowded area by building multiple layers of redundancy into a sites security architecture (Australian National Security 2019). In conjunction with the Giants Stadium current concrete and bollard target hardening measures, additional deterrent and detection measures should be employed such as; fencing indicating demarcation, vehicle screening and searching, as well as utilising drones as an additional form of CCTV (Australian National Security 2019). Furthermore, replicating SCG’s and the Optus Stadium’s enhancements in security through video analytics, facial recognition of banned patrons and employment of portable metal detectors can help enhance the safety and security of the venue.
3.2 Crowd Management
To better enhance the venue’s crowd management, venue managers could implement a more efficient means of entry through the use of barricades or retractable barrier posts. Retractable barrier posts provide an element of flexibility as not only can it be used to alleviate long lines for entry but in concession stands as well (Abbott & Geddie 2000). Further, additional entrances to the Giants Stadium may be required to reduce congestion.Miller (1997) further suggests that effective strategic positioning will help manage crowd behaviour. Therefore, the positioning of security and personnel within the venue can aid in identifying or dissipating a dispute (Abbott & Geddie 2000). Additionally, Berlonghi (1994) contends that all staff must be able to communicate effectively, including nonverbal means of communication, as this may assist ushers in requesting assistance from security. Finally, another recommendation is to develop a stadium evacuation app. Australiasian Leisure Management (2017), contends that the Japanese Government are currently developing an app that enables spectators to automatically receive evacuation routes and avoid getting lost in the crowds or harmed in case of an emergency situation.
In summary, this report has critically analysed and evaluated the Giants Stadium’s effectiveness and compliance to risk management standards and practices. Feasible recommendations were developed regarding terrorism and crowd management to heighten the safety and security of the venue for the future.
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