Welcome Guest! The IOSH forums are a free resource to both members and non-members. Login or register to use them

Postings made by forum users are personal opinions. IOSH is not responsible for the content or accuracy of any of the information contained in forum postings. Please carefully consider any advice you receive.

Notification

Icon
Error

Options
Go to last post Go to first unread
Mark-W  
#1 Posted : 05 August 2020 09:21:09(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Mark-W

As a keen motorsport fan, I am keen to see events opening up again. There was an event in S Wales at the weekend which I found strange due to the current guidance still in place of no gatherings of more than 30 people outside. Social media pics show big crowds at the event, some wearing masks, some not and no social distancing.

I asked on the organisers social media about it and they informed me they had an exemption issued by the Welsh Assembly and the local council.

This I didn't believe but then received an email from the organiser, so we had a bit of back and forward in emails and I asked for a copy of his exemption, explaining I was a H&S professional and it intruiged me professionaly how they managed it.. He refused point blank to let me see the exemption as it was private and confidential. Surely a document issued for a motorsport event in contravention of current guidlines cannot be private and confidential?

Anyway, as I was bored and at home, I emailed the council to request a copy of the exemption and RA they produced. Strangely enough they didn't know anything about an exemption, despite the event organisers stating it was certificated.

Which makes me even more determined to understand how they have managed to put on an event despite other bigger organisations being refused.

They were proud of the fact they were taking temps with IR thermometer at the enbtrance gate to the site, when I said skin temp has little to do with core temp and was unreliable, they started refering me to WHO guidlines about skin temps and making an allowance to get correct core temp. This all sounds like BS to me.

I think the organisers were driven by money to run the event.

So the point of the post, has anyone ever heard about the Welsh Assembly/local councils issuing exemptions and certificates to allow big events to go ahead?

AcornsConsult  
#2 Posted : 05 August 2020 09:30:52(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
AcornsConsult

ON what little you have said, it does sound as if the organiser you dealt with may have been a little light on the truth and heavy on the unthruths! I would agree that there is no reason why they would have to or even want to share a copy of the cert with you, especially now the event is finished.  

Assuming you spoke / contacted the correct person at the local authority and they say that no such certificate is issued,  what more information are you seeking?   On a practical and these days a social media basis, you may have thought that to have such a gathering by so many as an exemption may well have been more widely publicised, even a national news feature!  

Edited by user 05 August 2020 09:33:03(UTC)  | Reason: text

Mark-W  
#3 Posted : 05 August 2020 09:36:47(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Mark-W

Originally Posted by: AcornsConsult Go to Quoted Post

Assuming you spoke / contacted the correct person at the local authority and they say that no such certificate is issued,  what more information are you seeking?   On a practical and these days a social media basis, you may have thought that to have such a gathering by so many as an exemption may well have been more widely publicised, even a national news feature!  

The person at the council did say he was surprised there was an exemption and he would do some investigation. He worked in the Environmental Health department, he did say there was no specific guidance for motorsport and quoted me the 30 person rule. So I don't see how they can achieve this when there were 40 cars competing with a crew of 2, plus service crew, plus organising team pus marshals and recovery on course. They all came back and camped in the same area.

As you say, if they had an exemption certificate from the Welsh Assembly they would be shouting from the rooftops. But all this "it's private and confidential" makes me think they have nothing in writing from any Govt body. And are flying by the seat of their pants.

I'm genuinely intrigued as to how they have the exemption when other sporting events have been denied.

Mark-W  
#4 Posted : 05 August 2020 09:40:57(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Mark-W

Originally Posted by: AcornsConsult Go to Quoted Post

I would agree that there is no reason why they would have to or even want to share a copy of the cert with you, especially now the event is finished.  

 

I asked for a copy of the cert during day 1 of the 3 day event. They didn't respond until after the event finished. Which again makes me think they have something to hide or as you say, being economical with the truth.

Mark-W  
#5 Posted : 02 September 2020 07:33:30(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Mark-W

Just to close this off, I now have my answer. They operated the event under the "elite sportsmen" clause. So they just classed all of their drivers as elite sportsmen. Which is a bit strange.

So after a bit of digging, to be classed as elite sportsmen for an event in Wales during lockdown the drivers would have to be regisered with a sports body, which I assume they were as the Ultra4 team are an international sport. So they meet that criteria but then that body had to be recognised by the Sports COuncil of Wales. So a FoI request was sent. Response back, we don't deal with motorsport in anyway shape of form.

So a FoI request was sent to the local council and the Welsh Assembly asking for a copy of the exemption.

All 3 organisations have no knowledge or issued an exemption but all 3 aren't interested in the fact that someone ran an event that broke lockdown rules and used their names in vain.

toe  
#6 Posted : 04 September 2020 00:29:43(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
toe

OK… Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the world, and people have suffered. In the UK we have been in lockdown for many months and some people have had to isolate for an even long time.

There has to be a risk-based approach to going back to what will be some kind of norm, including maintaining Jobs and the economy whilst keeping safe. So... balancing up the risks, did this outdoor event contribute to the spread of covid? Or, are large family gathering a greater risk? I suspect the latter.

Don’t get me wrong, if this event had resulted in a local spread of infection, here we have an issue, and I would bow down gracefully. If it didn’t, why your concern? As a motorsport enthusiast I suspect that the event was a success and a great day out for many. Maybe no need for digging in to the welch assembly, no need for FOI requests and unless breaking lockdown rules contributed to the pandemic, I don’t understand why you have posted here, apart from making your point.

Edited by user 04 September 2020 00:30:53(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

thanks 1 user thanked toe for this useful post.
DHeptinstall on 04/09/2020(UTC)
Mark-W  
#7 Posted : 04 September 2020 09:20:00(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Mark-W

Originally Posted by: toe Go to Quoted Post

OK… Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the world, and people have suffered. In the UK we have been in lockdown for many months and some people have had to isolate for an even long time.

There has to be a risk-based approach to going back to what will be some kind of norm, including maintaining Jobs and the economy whilst keeping safe. So... balancing up the risks, did this outdoor event contribute to the spread of covid? Or, are large family gathering a greater risk? I suspect the latter.

Don’t get me wrong, if this event had resulted in a local spread of infection, here we have an issue, and I would bow down gracefully. If it didn’t, why your concern? As a motorsport enthusiast I suspect that the event was a success and a great day out for many. Maybe no need for digging in to the welch assembly, no need for FOI requests and unless breaking lockdown rules contributed to the pandemic, I don’t understand why you have posted here, apart from making your point.

It was not making a point but more to the fact as H&S professionals we should take a keen interest in all aspects of our profession.

I politely requested to see their paperwork out of professional curiosity. When I was stonewalled it made me think something was not quite right.

How can a US based motorsport, (I know this was an EU subsiduary organising the event) run an event when the current at the time regulations prohibited any gathering of such numbers.

So I sent the FoI to get the officicial answer from the Govt bodies that the organisers were quoting and saying quite publicaly were endorsing their event even stating they were certified. It seemed that the local council, Welsh sports council and the Welsh Assembly had not issued any exemption and in some cases didnt know the event had taken place, despite the organisers claiming to be in regular contact with all bodies.

It transpired that the organisers stated that all drivers and crew were elite athletes and could run the event under that exemption. I have written confirmation from the local council and the organiser that this is the route they went.

Now they have been questioned about their permit on social media on another motorsport page. It did descend into a bit of a bun fight but the organisers publicaly stated that they didn't use the elite sportsman exemption to run the event. Sadly it was all deleted quickly as it all got a bit personal.

So my point is that if you think you are above the law and are brazen enough to throw a few big names into the mix you can basicaly run an event and make a tidy sum of money.

To justify afterwards that it was a success because there were no covid cases in the areas the drivers came from is stretching a bit.

But we'll see, they have another event planned in the next month or so. No doubt no one will question them about that either. 

biker1  
#8 Posted : 04 September 2020 10:35:10(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
biker1

I think you were right to be concerned Mark. Even my BS detector was twitching over what you had encountered. Restrictions on social gatherings are there for a reason, to try and limit virus spread. If this event didn't result in infections, it sounds like this would be more by luck than judgement. This issue may sit towards the fringes of what our remit as OSH professionals is, but such matters can affect us all, and arguably much of what went on could qualify as a work activity, at least for some of the people there.

peter gotch  
#9 Posted : 04 September 2020 10:46:23(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

Mark

Perhaps you should get the questions started well in advance of the next event! (including on the social media that you refer to).

Toe 

I don't understand your apparent willingness to bin the "precautionary policy" approach.

There are significant efforts being made to try and resume professional sports with the expectation that the precautions put in place will be relatively transparent.

Without transparency, we are unlikely to have a clue whether running this event caused an increase in transmission in South Wales or elsewhere. So, just because we don't know that it did, certainly doesn't prove that it didn't.

"the absence of evidence of risk is not evidence of the absence of risk"

I don't detect even a whiff of suggestion from Mark that the decision should NOT be based on a risk assessment that could consider the economic and social impacts along with those on health.

thanks 1 user thanked peter gotch for this useful post.
biker1 on 04/09/2020(UTC)
alexmccreadie13  
#10 Posted : 04 September 2020 11:22:00(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
alexmccreadie13

I don't disagree with anything you have said or done Mark. The only point that mystifys me is that in Wales they do not wear masks.Shops ,Pubs ,Cafes possibly hospitals but I did not visit any whilst there.

Mark-W  
#11 Posted : 04 September 2020 12:58:15(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Mark-W

Well the plot thickens. The organisers have either made no plans or submitted  nothing to the council. Extracts from emails

Organiser

You asked me for the plan that gave us the approval needed to run the activity at Walters Arena.

This is not public domain information and as you are not part of my core working team you are not privileged to see it. The plan submitted to Neath & Port Talbot Council was approved by the director herself and then it got the blessing of the local councillor for the Glynneath area.

Response from Neath Council

Good Afternoon,

 

I’ve just spoken to our Director and she has had no involvement regarding this event. I have provided you with all the information I have regarding the event, 

So it seems 1 party in this fiasco is telling untruths.

The organiser also states that his plan that he submitted that no one has seen is protected. That even if a FoI request is submitted it will not be dislcosed due to it's protection.

Now I know there can be documents withheld as they are for National Security or espionage but a risk assessmnet for an offroad event surely doesn't fall under that?

The more I dig the more I discover

biker1  
#12 Posted : 04 September 2020 14:55:21(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
biker1

Well, my BS detector is twitching even more now.

Mark-W  
#13 Posted : 04 September 2020 14:57:45(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Mark-W

Originally Posted by: biker1 Go to Quoted Post

Well, my BS detector is twitching even more now.

Same here. I can't believe the audacity of the organisers and their blatent disregard of the rules.

But I can only highlight to the relevant authoritys, it's up to them to chase. But it seems like they aren't interested.

At the end of the day, I don't blame the drivers/co-drivers. They just want to race, but if the organisers aren't going above and beyond to ensure their safety in these trying times then they should be held accountable

Todai  
#14 Posted : 06 September 2020 17:00:40(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Todai

Originally Posted by: Mark-W Go to Quoted Post

As a keen motorsport fan, I am keen to see events opening up again. There was an event in S Wales at the weekend which I found strange due to the current guidance still in place of no gatherings of more than 30 people outside. Social media pics show big crowds at the event, some wearing masks, some not and no social distancing.

I asked on the organisers social media about it and they informed me they had an exemption issued by the Welsh Assembly and the local council.

This I didn't believe but then received an email from the organiser, so we had a bit of back and forward in emails and I asked for a copy of his exemption, explaining I was a H&S professional and it intruiged me professionaly how they managed it.. He refused point blank to let me see the exemption as it was private and confidential. Surely a document issued for a motorsport event in contravention of current guidlines cannot be private and confidential?

Anyway, as I was bored and at home, I emailed the council to request a copy of the exemption and RA they produced. Strangely enough they didn't know anything about an exemption, despite the event organisers stating it was certificated.

Which makes me even more determined to understand how they have managed to put on an event despite other bigger organisations being refused.

They were proud of the fact they were taking temps with IR thermometer at the enbtrance gate to the site, when I said skin temp has little to do with core temp and was unreliable, they started refering me to WHO guidlines about skin temps and making an allowance to get correct core temp. This all sounds like BS to me.

I think the organisers were driven by money to run the event.

So the point of the post, has anyone ever heard about the Welsh Assembly/local councils issuing exemptions and certificates to allow big events to go ahead?

just go enjoy the motorsport mate. if you dont like the risk then also dont go. :) 

Mark-W  
#15 Posted : 06 September 2020 17:11:28(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Mark-W

Thats exactly my point. No spectators are allowed but I know for a fact that they admitted spectators, someone I know went to the venue on the Sat, parked by the gate and jumped over and entered and spectated for the day. Came back the next day and they opened the gate and let him in to spectate.

So if they are breaking this fundamental rule what else are they not complying with. Well I know social distancing wasn't abided by.

Plus someone has sent me a copy of a letter from the Welsh Sports minister telling a Welsh MP that sports events are not to proceed and they would be trialling with 3 outdoor events in the near future.

thanks 1 user thanked Mark-W for this useful post.
biker1 on 07/09/2020(UTC)
biker1  
#16 Posted : 07 September 2020 09:31:24(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
biker1

I think Todai has missed the point. Such blatant disregard for the rules designed to prevent transmission of the virus can have an effect on a lot of people, and certainly not just those participating in the event. The pandemic is not over, far from it, and there is a responsibility on all those organising events to control such issues. How would participants feel if their actions resulted in one of their elderly relatives contracting the virus? It just comes across as organisers sticking two fingers up to their responsibilities.

peter gotch  
#17 Posted : 07 September 2020 11:26:32(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

I could possibly understand if the organisers were to say that they couldn't monitor every place where a spectator might cross a fence and be a spectator in a place where they were difficult to notice but opening the gate to allow them in does smack of a two fingers approach, either because the organisers are directly complicit or because they haven't made it sufficiently crystal clear to those manning the gate as to who is and isn't allowed in.

I do understand that the local authority may not have sufficient resources to enforce Welsh Assembly policy but the First Minister of the Assembly probably wants to know if a further event has been planned.

Some on these Forums will perhaps point out that Covid regulations (and guidance) are not products of occuaptional health and safety legislation, so beyond the usual day to day scope of these Forums, but nowhere in the Forum rules does it tell us not to stray beyond the remit of occupational health and safety legislation!!

If I had e.g. an elderly relative living in South Wales (and presumably well beyond) I would be furious by what appears to be a very "free market" approach to public health.

thanks 2 users thanked peter gotch for this useful post.
biker1 on 07/09/2020(UTC), Mark-W on 14/09/2020(UTC)
Users browsing this topic
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.