An Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) poll found more than one in ten people have been hurt at a large sporting or music event in the last five years, while a third of people have experienced a crowd surge.
One in three of the 3,000 sport and music fans polled said they had feared for their safety at a large event. Of them, half blamed overcrowding while 18% cited drug or alcohol misuse, 16% blamed rowdy crowds and 13% said fighting was the main cause of their fear.
Nearly two thirds of people who took part in the survey said they had been reassured by the presence of police officers, security guards and stewards.
The IOSH today launched a new Sports Grounds and Events Group which warned that some organisers of large scale, one-off events cut corners when it comes to safety. It will campaign for formal on-site training for stewards, improved crowd management and for stadiums to offer seating rather than standing areas, which can cause more crowd problems.
Tim Roberts, director of The Event Safety Shop whose clients include Glastonbury Festival, said: "While the majority of events are run well and health and safety is the number one priority, there are a huge number of events where safety is maybe not given the level of attention it should be. Recent incidents in Germany, the USA and elsewhere show the potential for serious injury and death at mass gatherings."
Roberts continued: "The inauguration of the IOSH Sports Grounds and Events Group reflects the increasing professionalism within the UK event sector and the emergence of specialist safety practitioners to meet the particular demands of large cultural events. Our challenge is to ensure that people are not only protected from danger, but that they feel safe - even when the danger they perceive is actually quite remote."
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