6 Methods for Creating an Effective Crowd Control Plan

Effective Crowd Control Plan
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What is crowd Control?

Crowd Control is the systematic and detailed planning and direction given to the orderly progression of activities involving large numbers of people.

Measures can be taken as part of crowd control to direct or limit the behavior of groups of people. This is referred to as crowd control. Everything you do is aimed at ensuring public safety.

Crowd control is important for more than just events. It’s also employed in various places, such as plazas, airports, and retail malls, to keep people secure.

Every business owner knows how important it is to keep customers and employees safe. Not only is this the right thing to do, but injuries are expensive. The National Safety Council calculated that injuries in 2019 cost employers and employees roughly $171 billion.

This is an astronomical number that should have any business owner shaking in their boots and motivated to create a quality safety plan, but some industries are more prone to injuries than others and may want to prioritize these safety plans even more.

This, in fact, brings us to the first method for creating an effective Crowd Control Safety Plan.

1. Know your industry’s unique risks, and design a safety plan tailored to those hazards.

The NSC has important information about which industries are the most dangerous and which risks tend to show up in which industries. Familiarizing yourself with the hazards unique to your industry is important so that you can equip yourself with the proper crowd control and safety products for your safety plan. 

For example, using the tool on this page, construction site managers can see that “contact with dangerous equipment” and “falls, slips, and trips” are both leading causes of injuries within the construction industry. Construction site managers can use this information to inform their safety plans. This may require expanding barriers to close off ledges and loading dock areas, or machinery guards to protect workers from dangerous equipment. 

People who work in health and education industries on the other hand are at a greater risk of exposure-related illnesses, such as exposure to COVID-19 or other viruses. Instead of barriers and machinery guards, these worksite safety managers might want to consider hand sanitizing stations

2. Think strategically about foot traffic, making sure walkways are clear of obstacles.

Queue Management for Businesses

Trip and fall incidents are a risk in nearly every industry, especially where spaces may become crowded. It’s important to know the common walkways within your event space or business so that you can ensure these paths are clear of obstacles.

For this reason, you should not store materials in these areas, or have excessive or obtrusive displays. Displaying products on shelves or wall racks helps to keep the products up off the floor. 

When purchasing stanchions or floor stands, consider options with flat bases, or even fixed bases so that these bases do not get in the way of foot traffic or cause trip and fall accidents. 

Watch pedestrians within your facilities for common errors, and use signage to help clarify the confusion.

Usability expert Steve Krug has a famous anecdote for identifying errors saying, “Imagine you work in an office, and there is a piece of frayed carpet just outside your cubicle. A co-worker walks by and trips on the carpet. 10 minutes later, another co-worker trips. And an hour later, another co-worker trips. Do you really need a large sample size to know there’s a problem with the carpet?” 

While this may literally apply to carpeting in some instances, Krug did not mean the anecdote to end there. While extensive research about human behavior can be useful, error prevention is often as simple as watching for the errors happening right in front of your eyes. 

For instance, if you frequently have ticketed attendants who don’t know how to find their proper seat, or you frequently hear the question “Is this where the line starts?”, these are indications that your environment is not addressing all potential points of confusion.

Just as identifying these sticking points can be fairly simple, so too can the solution. Let’s take the “is this where the line starts?” question as an example. Since many lines use stanchions to section off the boundaries of the line anyway, stanchion sign toppers can easily be added to indicate where a line’s entry point is. 

4. Think of a visitor’s experience from start to finish, making sure entries, exits, and parking areas are all organized.

Crowd management signs

These small, clarifying measures are important for each step of a visitor’s experience, and business owners or event planners should make sure they’re not ignoring any piece of the experience. Remember, after all, that a visitor’s experience begins before they even walk in the door.

Make sure the parking area of your event or business is also clearly understood and that navigating from one to the other is not confusing. This is especially important for events that may be set up outside or in temporary spaces. Simple traffic cones can go a long way towards indicating the perimeters of a makeshift parking lot, for example. 

Entryways and exits should also be clearly labeled and free of clutter so that visitors know where to go. Site managers should also make sure there are sufficient entry and exit ways for the size of the crowd expected. Confusion at these junctures can quickly cause chaos or bottlenecking in large crowds, which is not safe. 

5. Make a plan for unexpected incidents and maintenance needs.

Just as businesses need to create fire safety plans, it’s also important for them to be prepared for unexpected maintenance needs or incidents  Even things that might pop up in the middle of operations when crowds are in full force.

For incidents like these, businesses will want to keep stanchions or delineators on hand which are easy to set up and highly visible so that pedestrians know to avoid these areas until the problem is resolved.

6. Consult an expert.

The Crowd Control Specialist is a part-time seasonal support staff member who reports to the Office of School Safety and Security. By performing crucial roles in the culture and climate, they are accountable for the overall safety and security of CPS special events.

In order to deliver your event safely, you must first understand crowd control. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all template for all occasions.

Whether you’re planning a small corporate event or a large greenfield festival, our team can assist you in putting on a memorable event for you and your guests. With our established capabilities spanning many years and many festivals, leading event brands pick Sword as their partner. We bring the best worldwide practice to the table to minimize risks at your event.

Many of these best-practices overlap with the requirements set out by OSHA for each industry. This is to say, if you and your manager are already keeping up with your OSHA requirements. It’s likely that you’re already managing Crowd control to some degree. 

If you need to contact an expert, OSHA does allow for ways to contact them for questions and more. And if you have specific questions about which Crowd control products are best for you and your space, other Crowd control product experts can help you with these questions as well. 

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