Management of Special Event Risks

Managing Risk

Consistent with the California State University Risk Management Policy as provided in CSU Executive Order 715, and recommendation of the University Auditors as provided in the Risk Management and Insurance Audit Report No. 03-33: evidence of special event planning and the assessment and mitigation of risks are to be completed and maintained on file.

Prior to the scheduling, announcement, or contracting for facilities and services, is it recommended that the University Program Manager ensure:

  1. Review of Special Event Risk Management Guidelines and other resources as appropriate by supervising personnel.
  2. Completion of a Risk Management Worksheet or similar documentation for the Special Event.
  3. The Special Event is authorized by appropriate University authority.
  4. The Special Event is coordinated with the University Scheduling Office and listed in Cal Poly Events.
  5. All agreements and/or contracts for equipment, facilities and services are reviewed and executed by University Contract and Procurement Services.

Following the Special Event, the University Program Manager shall ensure that documentation of special event planning and the assessment and mitigation of risks are to be completed and maintained on file for three years beyond the year in which the special event occurs.

Special Event Risk Management Guidelines

Special Events are by their very nature not "routine operations" but are often modified or new processes and procedures used to support a "one time activity". Given that these "special" activities are not routine, the exposure to risk is increased.

Basic values exposed to risk include: personnel, property, liability (responsibility for injury or damage to others), continuity and revenue. Accidents can involve injury or property damage resulting in financial loss, reputational loss, interruption or cancellation of the activity, additional expenses, etc.

The primary responsibility of the individuals "in charge" of a special event include managing the risks of the activities, participants, operations, personnel and property to support the successful outcome.

Ten Steps To Safety

  1. Establish Goals – No injuries or property damage, operate legally, avoid cancellation, generate funding, reduce anxiety about risk, fulfill social responsibilities.
  2. Designate Key Personnel - Safety TEAM, lead by a person with keen eye for detail and common sense working closely with overall event leader.
  3. Focus on Safety – All your assets are exposed – people, property, income and GOODWILL. Safety begins at the top and involves everyone.
  4. Identify and Evaluate Special Event Risks - Facilities Selection and Management:
    • Selection and Pre-Event Activities:
      • Entrances and Exits
      • Accessibility
      • Communications and alarms
      • Physical conditions of facility
      • Lighting
      • Restrooms
      • Equipment
    • Pre-Event Inspection
      • Set up Hazards
    • During the Event Safety
      • Response
      • Correction
    • Post Event Safety
      • Egress
      • Tear down/Clean up
    • Food and Alcohol
      • Contracts
      • Qualifications and facilities
    • The Law
      • Intoxication
      • Service/Training
    • Entertainment
      • Contracts
      • Impact
      • Setups
    • Transportation and Parking
      • Access and Traffic Control
      • Parking
      • Shuttling
    • Outdoor Events
      • Weather
      • Restrooms
      • Access
    • Fund Raising Risks
      • Requirements of sponsors
      • Donor Publicity
      • Realistic revenue projections
      • Handling of Cash
    • Involving Persons with Disabilities
      • Participants
      • Staff
    • Partners [Vendors, Co-Sponsors]
      • Written Agreements
      • Claims and Liabilities
      • Insurance Requirements
  5. Use Risk Sharing Tools and Secure Financing - Insurance:
    • Operations
    • Products
    • Automobiles
    • Advertising
    • Money and securities
    • Non Appearance/Weather
    • Property
    • Contractual Transfer
  6. Provide Security
    • Crowd
    • Control
  7. Plan for Emergencies
    • Accident
    • Weather
    • Emergency Response and Leadership
    • First Aid
    • Calling for HELP
  8. Document Plans
    • Identification, analysis, mitigation
    • Procedures and guidelines
  9. Report Incidents
    • Emergency Services Supervisor
    • Risk Manager/Insurer
    • Human Resources (employee injury)
  10. Incorporate Lessons Learned and Prevent Future Incidents
    • What worked, why and why not?
    • Who else should be involved?
    • Communications
    • Documents and Contracts

Media – Who talks to the Media and what do they say?

  • Contact Public Affairs
  • Designated spokespersons
  • "No comment" says a lot
  • Stay calm and "on message"
  • Positive, truthful message about organization
  • Show concern and compassion

*Adapted from - Managing Special Event Risks , 10 Steps to Safety, Nonprofit Risk Management Center and Nonprofit’s Insurance Alliance of California.