Safely managing smaller structures at events

All structures no matter how big or how small, need to be safely secured. An umbrella can, if not become airborne in windy conditions if it is not properly secured.

For this reason, the management of smaller structures needs to be incorporated into your event's risk assessment.

The information below will help you make sure that the smaller lightweight structures at your event, do not hurt anyone when the wind picks up.

Your risk assessment should instruct that umbrellas and other light weight objects are to be packed away or dismantled before it gets windy.

If the winds are high, then the instructions should be that marquees are to be closed down on all four sides. Sometimes it is necessary to evacuate marquees and or cancel the event or components of the event.

To secure a structure appropriately you need to consider the following:

Type of structure:

  • A frames
  • activity structures (that is: plastic basketball hoops)
  • displays
  • gantry (inflatable)
  • marquee, closed sides
  • marquee, open sides
  • umbrellas

Size of structure:

  • how the structure can be weighted or pegged to the ground
  • material of structure (porous, canvas, plastic)


  • direction and site exposure to winds
  • hard stand, that is: bitumen, concrete, pavers– weights only
  • type of ground
  • type of soil - that is: soft, hard, sandy

Type of weight or pin/peg used to secure structure:

  • large industrial pegs should be sprayed a fluorescent colour to increase visibility. If the peg is metal and has sharp edges a witches hat or similar should be used to protect the public from being injured.
  • pegs must be strong and secure and not positioned in a way that they can cause a trip hazard

Ask the temporary structures hire company for advice on their structures in relation to:

  • base plates
  • weighting
  • pegging

and develop your risk assessment in response to their advise.

Page last updated: Thursday, 12 August 2021