It's been a while since the Stop the Drop campaign was launched at the ESSA Conference, a joint industry initiative by the AEO, AEV and ESSA. It is a further example of how our members have joined forces once more to help drive health and safety awareness and improvement across the industry.

At a recent exhibition held in the UK, inspectors from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) performed an announced, scheduled safety inspection during the construction phase of the event. One of the key aspects of this visit was to view working at height practices across the board.

The inspectors were judging contractors against HSE’s regulations, and any contractors found operating outside the guidelines were counselled on working safely at height and given a HSE contact card. As in previous exhibition and event inspections the HSE inspectors were more concerned with raising awareness of working at height than instigating any formal proceedings, and none of the ‘actionable failings’ that they observed were taken any further. The HSE has been very supportive in this respect, but moving forward, the HSE will take a more stringent line of intervention.

The Stop the Drop project includes information and training aids for the entire event process, from design to implementation. There will be advice for equipment, design considerations and communications with contractors and exhibitors.

Think about your own personnel, working at height, at an exhibition or event tomorrow. Would their normal practice pass an unannounced HSE inspection? If there is any doubt in your mind whatsoever, and indeed even if there isn’t, surely it's worth a refresh via

For event suppliers and contractors, the regulations stipulate straightforward and common sense practice, but without regularly revisiting them, it’s easy for unsafe practices to creep in over time. Compliance with the regulations shouldn’t compromise your speed or efficiency, and in many cases merely requires the personnel involved to be properly trained and advised on the use of suitable equipment.

The Stop the Drop campaign for me aims to reinforce the safe practices undertaken by the vast majority of people and companies within our industry, but of equal if not greater importance, it is also to help serve as a warning to those who fall short, that certain practices are unacceptable and this is where personally I want ESSA members to take the lead. As an industry we must make sub-standard practices that could endanger us all, culturally unacceptable. This starts within our own businesses and reaches all the way to the build and breakdown of events.

Gavin Bull, HM inspector of health and safety, said recently: “Falls from height are one of the most common causes of fatal injury in the UK. HSE supports the work of AEO, AEV and ESSA and the commitment they have made to improving safety for workers in the exhibition industry who frequently work at height.

This is an excellent example of how an industry is working together to improve the safety of its workforce and playing its part in helping Great Britain work well.”

Those who wish to officially support this campaign and commit to widening and promoting it's influence should contact

Remember, more information about Stop the Drop can be found at

The views and opinions expressed in these blogs are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ESSA, its members, board or staff. Our members represent a broad range of views within the event industry, and we have provided this section of the website for their opinions to be openly heard and discussed.

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