Professional Diploma in Risk & Safety Management for Crowds & Events

When Learnful identified an opportunity to develop a Professional Diploma in Risk & Safety Management for Crowds & Events we made a beeline for Mark Breen, owner of Safe Events.  The specialist subject area of Safety & Risk Management has been developing apace in recent years and we identified a clear need for a course that focuses on preparing people to take on the responsibility of planning and managing safe events.

We are very excited to be partnering with Mark and his team at Safe Events, we sat down recently to discuss our 12 month journey developing the programme.  Mark shares Learnful’s passion for delivering rigorously practical programmes and we both agreed on the inclusion of a Table Top Exercise (TTX) element of the course.  Often reserved for giant events, during the live event learners will experience what it is like to have peers challenge their plans with a view to helping develop and improve them.

In this blog Mark outlines his focus & context for the programme and expands on the course curriculum content.


The focus

We have developed the content of this course directly from the work we do on a daily basis, often keeping hundreds of thousands of people safe on events.

Being both strategic and operational on events in Ireland and abroad has allowed us to learn what actually works on events.  We know how to plan for the safety of crowds of all sizes. We know what works on the ground and we know what works in Event Control.

This course is built on the key pillars of (1) real-world practicality and (2) implementation and development of effective tools that aid us in keeping people safe. 

I will be delivering the majority of the content across the 13 weeks of the course, while also maintaining my operational roles in delivering events, safely. In particular, my ongoing work as HSEQ Director for a large-scale international festival taking place at the end of the year will prove instructive and will provide a range of LIVE learning opportunities for those on the course.

We will be involving various subject-matter experts and Guest Lecturers along the way and are extremely excited to be able to include the Table Top Exercise (TTX) element of the course. We believe that there is immense benefit in testing and interrogating our Plans and we are conscious that many people working in events never have the opportunity to participate in a TTX. We will hold a LIVE TTX where learners will experience what it is to have peers challenge your Plans with a view to helping you develop and improve them.


The context

We plan and deliver safe events all around the world and have been doing so for many years. We specialise in Event and Crowd Safety and we are passionate about doing it as well as we can and we know other people think similarly.

When we began in the industry there were very few training and learning opportunities in this specific area and, as we’ve grown and developed our own careers and our reputation here in Safe Events, we have enjoyed playing our part in changing that and being able to offer opportunities to others.

We have brought internationally-renowned subject-matter experts here to Ireland to deliver courses and Masterclasses over the years. We have run seminar series where the industry can gather to discuss key challenges in our industry. We have developed and delivered countless bespoke training programmes specifically for clients including Google, Athletics Ireland, Moloney & Kelly, Event Partners, Electric Ireland, USI and more.

The development of a Professional Diploma was the next natural progression.

There is an obvious need for more learning opportunities in the Crowd and Event Safety space. We believe – we hope – that this Professional Diploma may be of interest to people looking to improve their skillsets and to learn best-practice.

You can read more about what we will cover during the course below.


The course introduction

Events of all sizes, be they local community days for 2,000 people or international festivals with 150,000 attendees, need people involved in them who are focused on reducing risks and ensuring the event is planned safely.

Risk Management for events tends to be more involved and contextual than the traditional approach to ‘risk assessing’ that we are all likely familiar with – a grid with boxes coloured in red, orange or green. There’s a lot more to Risk Management for crowds and events than that. Importantly also, risk is not solely a function of audience size and this programme will not be focusing solely on large-scale festivals and events. It is often smaller events that present the greater risks to those working on them and attending them.

Your tutor for this programme is an active Crowd & Event Safety Consultant, operating in Ireland and internationally. Learners will benefit from experiences gained, challenges encountered and solutions developed by the tutor and his Teams on both previous and ongoing / current event projects.


This is a unique opportunity to explore the real-world of planning and delivering safe events with someone actively doing exactly that for events around the world, be it as HSEQ Director (strategic) or an on-the-ground Safety Officer (operational). Learning will be consistently reinforced by and illustrated through real-world examples and Case Studies.

You will learn how to utilise some established and proven planning and Safety Management tools, developed by the world’s leading Crowd Scientists and Risk Management professionals, while also having the opportunity to develop your own simple and effective tools to help you keep people safe.


The course curriculum

 Below you will find a detailed outline of the Course Curriculum. This is what we plan to cover each week.



We will look at why we do what we do and we will explore the local and global context for Risk and Safety Management for events. We will consider what real risks we should be focused on for events as well as the hazards most often overlooked. We will provide you with a wide range of resources to explore.

  • Understanding our ‘why?’
  • Real Risks V Topical Threats
  • Exploring what goes wrong
  • Learning from when it nearly went wrong
  • Enjoying good outcomes


Duty of Care

We will explore whose job it is to keep everyone safe, where personal responsibility comes into it and what legislation and guidance is out there to help us plan and manage safe events. We will provide you with the key Guidance, where possible, and also point you towards a range of other available resources.

  • Understanding the Legal Context
  • Where responsibility for safety lies
  • Legislation & Guidance
  • Understanding what’s ‘reasonable’


The Risk Management Process

We will explore the Risk Management Process specifically for events and will introduce some key tools that we use to ensure consistency and efficacy in our planning and delivery work. We will provide worked examples of these tools being deployed on real events and will ask you to use them on your own events. Tools will include DIM-ICE, RAMP Analysis, Risk Mapping and more. Importantly, we will also critique the Tools and discuss when and why they may not be helpful.

  • Analysing  Risk and Risks
  • Understanding event complexities
  • Introducing the Key Tools
  • Critiquing the Key Tools


Crowd Dynamics & Understanding Crowds

To keep people safe, we must understand crowds, their characteristics and their behaviours. We will explore all of this, while also developing our understanding of the ‘outlier’ concept as well as investigating when and how Crowd Modelling might help us. We will interrogate general impressions of ‘the crowd’ and how they may help and hinder us in our work.

  • Static crowds V Dynamic crowds
  • Influencing Crowds
  • Crowd Management V Crowd Control
  • Crowd Psychology
  • Crowd Modelling & the ‘outlier’


Mathematics of Safety (1)

Mathematics and calculations play an important part in the role of Risk Management and Safety Professionals for events. While not requiring advanced understanding of theorems & trigonometry, there is a suite of typical calculations we need to be able to deploy, as required, to solve our event challenges. We will introduce those calculations and we will implement them on live sites and projects.

  • Ingress & Egress Flow Rates
  • Queueing Theory & Times
  • Site Traversal / Transition Times
  • Crowd Density Calculations


Working with Stakeholders

No event happens without the involvement of and coordination with Stakeholders. We will look at how best to engage with and communicate with Stakeholders. In particular, we will look at lessons learned from an instance when the tutor got it wrong.

  • Learning from our mistakes
  • Different Perspectives and Priorities
  • Communicating effectively
  • Resources rather than Gatekeepers


Mathematics of Safety (2)

As one of the key deliverables from the Safety Team on most events, we will look at how Safe Capacities for events are established. We will discuss key considerations and challenges and will work through several Case Studies in class, as a group. We will provide you with the understanding of and confidence in your own ability to assess safe capacities.

  • Key Consideration Factors
  • Contextual Determinants
  • Safe Holding Capacities
  • Emergency Egress Analysis
  • The Role of Rationale


Tool Development

As Crowd & Event Safety professionals, we undertake the same calculation tasks time and time again when planning for crowds at all types of events and venues. Developing our own simple & effective tools to help us out is one of the best things we can do for ourselves, our clients and our attendees. We do this mainly in Excel and we will show you how to develop your own.

  • Fill Predictors
  • Wind Management Action Plans (WMAPs)
  • Search Capacity Calculation Tool
  • Venue Capacity Calculation Tool



We will explore best practice when it comes to planning and delivering events. From key documentation we need through to roles & responsibilities for operational staff, we will discuss it all and provide you with real-world examples and samples for all Best Practice elements.

  • Writing an Event Safety Management Plan
  • Decision-Support Tools
  • Working with Local Authorities and Agencies Having Jurisdiction (AHJs)
  • Delivering on the Plan
  • Licensing and securing permissions


Planning for Safety

The Planning Process is critical to the safe execution of any event. We will explore what goes into a proper and effective Planning Process. We will detail the key Processes and Paperwork you should have for your event and will provide resources for same. We will use the Key Tools previously introduced and enhance our understanding of how best to deploy them and when.

  • Strategic & Technical Analysis
  • Designing out Risks
  • Selecting the Right Tools
  • Using the Key Tools
  • Processes & Paperwork


Interrogating the Plan

Ensuring our Plan will be effective, insofar as possible, is  a key element of our Planning Process. We will identify and discuss the methods available to us to achieve this goal. To reinforce learning and to provide an opportunity to engage in a real-world experience, Learners will partake in a simulated Table-Top Exercise (TTX).

  • Sense-checking
  • The Role of Stakeholders
  • Confirmation Bias
  • The Value of External Eyes
  • Table Top Exercise (TTX)


Delivering Safe Events

One of the most critical points in any event is the move from Planning to Delivery. We will go under the hood on a range of events to see how this is best achieved and we will provide you with a ‘success map’ to help you ensure the transition on your events is a successful one. Further, we will explore several software packages that might aid you in delivering a safe event, or might not.

  • Moving from Strategic to Operational
  • Equipping & Empowering
  • Monitoring & Reviewing
  • The Role of Technology


Emergency Planning

All events need Emergency Planning. It might be as simple as ensuring that the key for a certain gate is readily available, or as complicated as deploying security staff with roles solely in an emergency. We will use award-winning Emergency Plans to identify what should be in them in order for them to be effective.

  • Strategic Analysis
  • Decision-Support Tool Development
  • Ensuring the Emergency Plan is effective
  • Testing the Plan


The Professional Diploma in Risk & Safety Management for Crowds & Events in delivered virtual live, one evening per week over 13 weeks.  Further details can be found at here.

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