A growth in law and policy over the last twenty years has significantly changed how managing crowded places is approached. Years of research and data about crowded places has been translated into meaningful and practicable guidance to promote health and safety.
A crowded place can be defined in simple terms: a number of people who intentionally, predictably or spontaneously find themselves gathered in a physical space. Small and large crowds are everywhere – in shopping centres and stadiums; around transport hubs and main thoroughfares; in pubs, clubs, and hotels; at sporting and cultural events and places of worship. The congregation of people in different public places is an important and positive aspect of many societies.
The handbook is structured to provide managers of crowded places an overarching framework for risk management, communication and incident and emergency planning. This gives context to advice relating to security, site safety, and health issues including food and water security, waste management and disease control. The handbook includes reference to crowd behaviour and psychology, preparing managers of crowded places to understand and anticipate different elements that may produce or result from an incident or emergency. The guidance also reflects the heightened focus in Australia and globally on deliberate and hostile acts, including terrorist incidents.
The responsibility of management to protect their crowd is enormous. The model Workplace Health and Safety Act adopted by states and territories places responsibility on the duty holder – the management team of a crowded place. This handbook collects diverse resources to provide the best information at the time of publication. Underlying all chapters is an assumption that management teams shoulder responsibility to interpret the information and seek additional resources where necessary.
Finally, it is important to keep in mind that bringing people together to enjoy themselves in a public place is an important and positive influence on society.