Travelling circuses involve the regular erection and dismantling of big top structures, seating and associated equipment which can take place in varying weather and ground conditions. The idea behind the Circus safety toolkit was to create continuity with safe working practices throughout the UK for the Association of Circus Proprietor Circuses.

The Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL), was commissioned by Crawley Borough Council, under the Science and Technology initiative of the 'Local Authorities (LA) and HSE Working Together Strategic Programme’, to develop a circus safety toolkit to assist LAs with the consistency of enforcement in this area.

The toolkit is intended primarily to assist LA H&S Inspectors in understanding the circus environment so they can work to control any risks to workers and members of the public.

The guidance covers six topic areas, adapted and applied to the circus environment, and includes information relating to common hazards and the key tasks involved in Circus build up and pull down procedures. The text is supported by a database, hosted on the HELA Extranet. The database complements the guidance by providing a method to enable sharing of inspection and enforcement information between each LA. The database is available to all LAs for storing circus contact details, inspection histories and actions taken by different LAs.

The guide has been written in consultation with Crawley Borough Council, HSE’s Services, Transportation and Safety Unit (STSU) and the Association of Circus Proprietors of Great Britain (ACP) and with the co-operation of many other LA H&S Inspectors as it is considered that the Purple Guide (which did not consult with Circus owners) does not lend itself to Circuses which are, by comparison to most concerts, festivals etc. are not considered large events with attendances of between 250 and 1000 attendees at any given performance.

You can download a copy of the toolkit here