Hazards and falls

Kiwiburn Media Team

There are teams of volunteers who work tirelessly year round, as well as on site, to help make Kiwiburn a safe place for participants to express themselves. They are people like you, they are your campmates, your neighbours, they are enthusiastic volunteers.

In unprecedented circumstances, two members of the public fell off a cliff nearby the Kiwiburn site, both receiving serious injuries. The on duty Site Manager, the Operations Manager and two Kiwiburn Operations 2ICs, as well as the Medics, responded to the first incident along with Emergency Services, and we thank them for their efforts. There has been much discussion on the Paddock as well as on social media, and with all of the crew now back from site, ExCom wants to ensure our community knows the facts.

Like any event, Kiwiburn follows Worksafe procedures to identify hazards and keep participants safe while on-site. For the five years that the event has been held on its current site, there have been very few incidents, largely due to our robust Health and Safety procedures.

The cliffs of the surrounding area were identified as a hazard for falls and landslides. They are outside of the event boundary and are bordered by sturdy farm fencing (with both plain and barbed wire). There have been no previous fall incidents in this area, or on site.

The first incident occurred at approximately 2am Friday morning. A ticket holder arrived outside of Gate hours and made the decision to look for a way to sneak into the event rather than waiting in their car by Gate or camping at nearby Vinegar Hill for the night, as directed by Security, so they could be properly processed in the morning by the Ticketing team. The individual climbed the fence, walked a short distance, then fell approximately 60 metres, sustaining multiple injuries. The Search and Rescue helicopter was called, finally locating the individual at 5am.

The second incident was at 7:20am on Saturday morning, in daylight. The individual fell approximately 80 metres and also sustained multiple injuries. It appears they were trying to enter the event without a ticket, though this is not confirmed.

In response to both incidents, extra danger tape and hazard signs were added to the incident area, and will be in place pre-event next year to help prevent any further incidents from occurring. The Operations Team will also be looking into other ways to minimise this risk. The two person Gate Security team were also relocated further along the road to stop access to the area.

Gate opening hours are widely publicised pre-event and easily found on the website. The majority of attendees who arrived outside of these hours followed instructions to relocate to Vinegar Hill and return in the morning.

The organisational team is taking these incidents very seriously and will review processes to help avoid similar incidents occurring by liaising with the landowner, considering recommendations from our on site Medics as well as listening to our community.

There were over 150 participants requiring some medical attention at the event, ranging from stubbed toes to serious illness. Radical Self-Care is important, from making sure you are wearing sunscreen in the day through to not mixing drinks. Be safe, be sensible, and look out for your fellow Burners.

Each community member has a Civic Responsibility to help keep Kiwiburn safe for everyone.


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