Department of Internal Audit and Compliance

Management of Special Event Risks

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Managing Risk

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, it is recommended that the "sponsor" of a Special Event on campus (typically at the rank of Vice President/Dean or higher rank) 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 all relevant University scheduling offices and listed in all relevant University events communications.
  5. All agreements and/or contracts for equipment, facilities, and services are reviewed and executed by University Supply Chain Services.

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

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Risk Management Guidelines

Special Events are by their very nature not "routine operations" but are often modified or new process 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.

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Steps to Safety

  1. Establish Goals-No injuries or property damage, operate legally, avoid cancellation, generate funding, reduce anxiety about risk, and fulfill social responsibilities.
  2. Designate Key Personnel-Safety TEAM, led 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
    • Communication 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
    • Contracts
    • Impact
    • Setups
Transportation and Parking
    • Access and Traffic Control
    • Parking
    • Shuttling
Outdoor Events
    • Weather
    • Restrooms
    • Access
Fund Raising Risks
    • Requirement 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

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Media-Who Talks to the Media and what do they say?

  • Contact Marketing and Communications
  • Designated spokesperson
  • "No comment" says a lot
  • Stay calm and "on message"
  • Positive, truthful message about organization
  • Show concern and compassion

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Last Updated: 11/4/19