The booming events industry has seen a plethora of new premier venues for weddings, corporate events and the like. But with that comes an increase in risk. Especially when those venues are like NZ High Country – located in rural areas with difficult access. Risks such as an outbound catering truck meeting an inbound bus on a one-lane section of road. Or fog or ice making driving conditions hazardous. Or even vehicles travelling at high speed on a gravel road showering a bridal party with dust.

Venues may also have multiple event locations on their properties which makes keeping track of who is on-site difficult. Photographers and videographers are always looking for the perfect angle for the perfect shot and tend to venture off the beaten track to get them. Venue manager of NZ High Country, Samantha Stirling, says its use of the Zero Harm system ensures that anyone who comes onto the site – as a supplier or a guest – knows the rules, where they can and cannot go, and where any potential hazards are located.

In any given year there can be up to 6000 visitors to NZ High Country, so safety for everyone is paramount. Suppliers such as florists, caterers, celebrants and others, undergo an online induction before they reach the front gate. The person or organisation hiring the venue must also undergo an induction and give guests the information they need to stay safe.

Transport providers bringing guests to an event are required to read the ‘Guests Safety Talk’ to passengers before they arrive at their function. Guests, however, do not need as much information as suppliers so this is limited to general housekeeping and where to muster in the case of an emergency. Vehicles are not permitted to drive on NZHC roads during an event without permission and the induction includes a series of recommended safe driving practices.

NZHC has adapted the Zero Harm system to suit its particular circumstances, which is easy to do thanks to the way the system is set up. At first reluctant to follow the Zero Harm guidelines, suppliers have fallen into line as they have become aware of the importance and necessity of health and safety policies in the workplace, says Samantha. Some have embraced the system to the degree that they use it for sending messages to the venue manager such as when they’re running late.

Others, however, need reminding that no induction means no entry. But they need to be inducted only once, and from then on need only to sign in each time they visit the property. Access is by appointment only and arrivals require a passcode for gate access, which is provided only once they have signed in.

Samantha, who has had much experience with health and safety requirements at events she’s organised, says that the features provided by Zero Harm are essential. These include inspection of contractors’ work, road scheduling, safe work conduct, signing in and out, unacceptable conduct, responsible service of alcohol, procedures for packing in and packing out, professional transport for guests, photographers and videographers, emergency procedures and disposal of unwanted materials such as ash.

NZHC owner Mike Enright says Zero Harm has made adherence to the health and safety policies required for an events company easy. “We have systems and policies in place to ensure everything reasonably practicable is done to provide a safe event and workplace because we are committed to providing a safe workplace for everyone visiting our property. Zero Harm helps makes this possible.”

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