Crowd Safety Lessons for Event Organizers from the Hillsborough Tragedy of 1989 to improve the safety at Large Events
Hillsborough tragedy was the crash that happened in 1989 at the event of football sports. The football match was held between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool in the Hillsborough stadium. According to the report of Taylor (1990), the lack of police and security control was the major cause of the disaster that resulted in the death of around 100 people and injury of around 800 people. Taylor was assigned to deliver an investigative report to make recommendations and suggestions of how to control the crowd, mainly at larger events. Therefore, the paper is going to analyze the report of Taylor to understand the lessons of crowd safety for the event managements for how to improve the crowd safety, more particularly, at large events.
The criticism, investigation and studies have been continued about the crowd management and safety since the incident of Hillsborough has happened. Gibsson & Conn (2012) have analyzed the causes and reasons of the Hillsborough disaster and have found that the failure of the event management was the major cause of the event. According to their analysis, the poor cost management, lack of security and safety and unmanaged venue were among the major failures of the event management of football match. Fruin (1993) has stated that most of the crowd incidents and tragedies had happened in the past due to the poor crowd management system. He has further stated that it is very important for the management to collect sufficient data and information and manage the effective communication system between different authorities and departments to deal with the issues and risks at the event. Taylor investigations have found that there was a lack of communication between senior officers, police and management of the event at Hillsborough and the police was unclear about its role and responsibilities. It means that the information and communication management is very important to deal with the crowd at large events.
Furthermore, emergency, medical and security services did not fully respond to the crowd panic. The ambulances and emergency medical panel were slow at Hillsborough crowd tragedy. Still (2014) has stated in his book that integrated team of management to response to the large events are very important for crowd safety and success of the event. Such as International Olympic Committee organises a management team based on Police, securities, medical services, management of waste, cost and financial management, etc. It means that the management of the large event must properly plan for the roles and responsibilities of different authorities involve in event management team and must control and monitor them to manage the risks and issues.
According to the report of Hillsborough Independent Panel (2012), Hillsborough stadium was based on small space and only 23 tunnels were provided to the fans and crowd of around 24,000 to enter the stadium that resulted in the finding own levels among the fans. Fruin (1993) has found that spacing at the venue is very important to deliver a successful event along with crowd safety. Space must be capable in terms of entry, seating, standing including proper doors, stairs and elevators.
Analysing the lessons from the Hillsborough misfortune about Crown safety, it is concluded that the management of the large events must be properly integrated with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. Moreover, the management should come up with the prior planning and information management system to control the risks, issues and challenges that may arise during the event.
List of References
Gibsson, O, & Conn, D. (2012). Hillsborough: the truth about the causes of the disaster. The Guardian. Available from http://www.theguardian.com/football/2012/sep/12/hillsborough-truth-about-causes-of-disaster [Accessed 13 January 2016]
Hillsborough Independent Panel. (2012). The Report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel.
Fruin, J.J., 1993. The causes and prevention of crowd disasters. Engineering for crowd safety, Vol. 1, pp.1-10.
Still, G.K., (2014). Introduction to Crowd Science. CRC Press.
Taylor. (1990). The Hillsborough Stadium Disaster 15 April 1989: The Inquiry Report.