A recent coronial inquest has stressed the importance of ensuring risk assessments and emergency management plans are conducted by properly trained employees to identify and address hazards.
In May 2014 34-year old Brendan Hickey fell into the water at Darling Harbour and drowned while watching the Sydney "Vivid" Festival's light and sound show.
The inquest into his death found a risk assessment conducted by a company managing the event was "entirely inadequate", failing to identify the risks to spectators at the waters' edge. The employee who prepared the risk assessment had no formal risk management qualifications or training and merely based their assessment on others the employee had seen "over many years".
It was found the event was unprepared for the incident. There had been inadequate training in emergency management procedure and actions required by staff in emergency situations were found to be inconsistent with the chain of command. Employees ought to have received appropriate training regarding when the show should be stopped during an emergency.
The coroner recommended that the company's directors give urgent consideration to both:
Retaining "an appropriately qualified risk management consultant to perform a review of the company's risk management policies, practices and procedures".
Providing formal, documented training to all employees who conduct risk assessments by qualified risk management specialists.