Total Production


7 February 2007

(Liverpool) - The People's Opening of Liverpool 2008 presented some complex health and safety challenges for its organisers the Liverpool Culture Company and Show Producer John Wassel.

With aerial artists performing high up on cranes in front of Liverpool’s St George’s Hall and 80 guitarists playing on the surrounding roofs, nothing could be left to chance, so the team opted to draw on the expertise of event health and safety specialists, The Event Safety Shop (TESS).

TESS helped design and implement policies to ensure the safety of performers and production teams at this extraordinary outdoor spectacle. The company put in place a wide range of measures to ensure that the vision of the Artistic Director Phil Redmond could take place safely.

This involved liaising with a number of authorities, property owners and event stakeholders. St George’s Hall, Liverpool Lime Street Station, the St John’s car park, The Empire Theatre and The Walker Art Gallery, were all key venues in the event and each required their own specific risk assessments and permissions.

“We needed approval from Network Rail to work on the roof of Lime Street Station,” says TESS director, Simon James. “Although they were very helpful, we had to convince them that our artists and pyrotechnics would cause no harm to team members or the public, as well as doing no damage to the building. We were able to demonstrate the effectiveness of our safety procedures and successfully acquired the necessary permissions from their legal department.”

Similarly, The Walker Art Gallery was only able to allow the team external access to their roof, meaning that all events infrastructure had to be installed through a system of mechanical lifting equipment.

At the heart of the challenge was the capricious weather, which was tempestuous in the run up to the event but clear for showday itself. “Rehearsals are a vital safety tool and we were concerned that we might have to reduce elements of the show due to the heavy rain and winds throughout the build and rehearsal,” says Simon. “However, in the end, we had enough rehearsal time to make sure the entire show could run safely.”


Related Articles