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Contemporary approaches to planning for the safe management of crowds at mass gatherings

conference contribution
posted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Aldo RaineriAldo Raineri
Mass gatherings are planned or spontaneous events where the number of people attending is sufficient to strain the planning and response resources of the host. They are characterised by the concentration of people on a predictable basis, in venues or precincts that are open, or enclosed. Examples include sporting (e.g. Summer and Winter Olympics, FIFA World Cup) and religious (e.g. Hajj, World Youth Day) events, cultural festivals and outdoor music festivals. Mass gatherings can also occur at train stations (e.g. London Underground, Paris Metro), shopping complexes (e.g. IKEA opening in London, annual store sales), business precincts and tourist attractions. Proper planning for mass gatherings involves an assessment of the attendant risk and the traditional risk assessment method is invariably used to identify and treat risks. Risk assessments for mass gatherings generally tend to deal with the traditional hazards and risks usually found at most workplaces without taking into account the dynamics of the crowd or those factors that influence its behaviour. Due to the sheer number of attendees, the nature of activity and potential patron behaviour, risk is always shifting and changing throughout the course of a mas gathering event. How risks can change over time is difficult to both visualise and articulate in the conventional risk assessment process, and the assignment of a single value can be both inappropriate and misleading. In addition, conventional risk assessment documents, particularly those that relate to crowd safety, are fundamentally flawed. Contemporary approaches to risk management, which consider the relevant phases of a mass gathering event such as ingress, circulation and egress and adopt techniques such as a Routes-Areas-Movement-Profile (RAMP) analysis and diagrammatic risk mapping, provide a more relevant, meaningful and valuable contribution to the assessment of (dynamic) crowd-related risks


Parent Title

23rd Annual Occupational Health & Safety Conference (Visions Conference), hosted at CQUniversity, Gladstone Marina Campus, 19-21 October, 2015.

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Start Date



Gladstone, Queensland


Safety Institute of Australia

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Peer Reviewed


Open Access


Era Eligible


Name of Conference

Occupational Health and Safety Conference