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  • Kahmile Reid

Event Hosting: PR and Legal issues at every turn

Event planning is an area of the business where things could go really wrong, really quickly. It helps to be prepared with plans of action for most if not all eventualities.


What could possibly go wrong?...Everything, or nothing.

It's almost impossible to be prepared for all things that may create legal or public relations issues for a client, however, here are some that may help. These issues are very general in nature and are NOT listed in order of importance.

  1. Risk Assessmentof the venue should be done, if one is already available, it should be no more than 12 months old.

  2. Stampeded (Crowd Control)This is important for public safety; barricades to control lines and entry or exit must be in place.

  3. Patron may need medical attention - Ambulance Services, Medical Personnel, Doctors on Dutyon standby. The Ministry of Health has information on their website for this service – Special Medical and Health Services.

  4. Any bleeding, cuts or scrapes - First Aid Kits at several key locations

  5. Patron, staff, exhibitor needs to go the hospital - Emergency routeestablished and kept clear

  6. Unsanitary surroundings may cause patrons to get sick (food poisoning) Adopt a clean as you goapproach to avoid build-up of debris in any area, available to clean up spillage as soon as possible.

  7. Tripping due to failureto cover of trailing cables or spillage as mentioned in point 6.

  8. Electrical Permitsfor event hosting, (City Council/JPS)

  9. Driveway or curb cut permits for cases were street closure is required

  10. Sign permits (external) (City Council)

  11. Duty of Care– a moral and legal obligation to ensure safety of patrons, ensuring no unreasonable loss or suffering of harm. This obligation would include patrons, staff, exhibitors etc.

  12. Fire Plan - What's the protocol if a fire breaks out?

  13. Security– Safety of the patrons from possible illegal activities, to neutralise arguments etc., to ensure no illegal substances enter the venue.

  14. Appropriate Parking

  15. Safe pedestrian accessto the venue

  16. Food Safety Permits of all caterers/vendors at the venue

  17. Proper Signage– no-smoking, fire exits, stairs, no children allowed etc.

  18. Data Protection For Wi-Fi(If available)

  19. Data Protection - Online transactionsticket purchases. Consider the GDPR and your business.

  20. Insurance of items on display for e.g. Cars, electronics

  21. Media – Ensure there is a space/room/s for media representative. It would be best to have one video and audio feed for all, in an effort to avoid press reps having to be trawling the floors

  22. Speeches– (no defamatory statements, slanderous, plagiarism, etc)

  23. Sanitation– enough toilets for number of patrons expected. Ensure appropriate toilets for children and wheelchair bound persons, toilets should be monitored

  24. License to drive for test-driving purposes, if the event involves this feature

  25. Uneven Surfaces - Tripping hazards (esp. if there is no clear signage)

  26. Ramps to provide appropriate access for persons with disabilities

  27. Lighting– lighting must be proportionately clear so as not to cause tripping or collision into people, walls, props.

  28. Appropriate number of garbage skips to serve number of patrons expected

  29. Ensure the props, tables, promotional items, etc. are child-proof, meaning no sharp edges at areas where children can reasonable reach them of pull them out of place.

  30. Falling objects– may cause injury to persons and destruction of property

  31. Ensure building has no cracks in roof, or sections of the building, adverse weather condition could cause wet floorsif there is a leak, patrons can be injured.

  32. Ensure workers at the event are properly attiredat all times, if their role requires gloves, helmets etc. these items should be provided by contractor/subcontractor

  33. Noise pollution– High noise levels can cause hearing damage, loss.

  34. Hazardous substances– ensure there is none in open areas of the venue

  35. Random Searchesupon entry, ensure adequate and appropriately trained personnel are available. Ensure they are trained so as not to inadvertently cause human rights violations.

  36. Temperatureinside the venue should be appropriate (air-conditioning may be required)

  37. Staff Rotation– staff members should get breaks in accordance will labour laws.

  38. Air qualityin main area of the venue.

  39. Closed Circuit Cameras for security purposes, what is the camera carpeting, any rights or laws being breached.

  40. Safety Team to monitor the event at all times for the duration of the event.


Hope this helps you to think about something you may have left off your "to-do-list".

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