What does it take to run Central Florida’s premier sports and live entertainment venue? Lecturer Brian Avery’s Hospitality/Event Risk Management class found out during an exclusive tour of the Amway Center on Nov. 19. Phil Hastings, director of arena operations for the Orlando Magic, served as their guide, providing a front of house and back of house tour as well as a one hour Q&A session. The students also watched the team’s pre-game shoot around and cheered them on later at the game against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Hastings gave Rosen College students an inside look at the inner workings of the multifaceted facility and their risk management strategy, a critical aspect of venue operations. Through this unique experience, the students saw the concepts they learned in class come to life.
“The goal was to show the students that quality event locations incorporate risk management policies and procedures into everyday operations policies and procedures– they are never separate if you intend for them to work,” said Avery. “Some of the concepts I discuss in class seem far-fetched… that is until you see them in place, being used and working.”
It is vital that we get these students out into real work environments to see how the subjects they are learning are applied in our industry. Concepts like risk management can be a lot to learn in a classroom setting and some important details can get lost in a sea of information. Seeing policies and procedures set in place in a large venue like the Amway Center shows students just how important this knowledge is to their future success. These students will soon be the leaders of the hospitality industry and it is the duty of event professionals to educate these students by sharing their knowledge and experience.
First and foremost, let’s start with the basics. What is a sign? A sign is something that suggests the presence of a fact, condition, or quality not immediately evident; an indication an action or gesture used to convey an idea, desire, information, or command. Additionally, it can be a board or placard displayed in a place to advertise or convey information or direction, or a conventional figure or device that stands for a word, phrase or operation. I think we now have a firm understanding… like we didn’t before!
To some extent, signs are everywhere. They inform us, they sell to us, they provide directions and warn us of potential or real dangers. Signs can be broken down into numerous categories, for the sake of this blog I will limit it to 5: informative (this tree is a “xyz type”), directional (“Enter Here,” “Exit Only”), way-finding (“Fantasyland,” “Park/Event Exit”), instructional (“No Smoking Please,” “Do Not Feed the Animals”), and warnings (innocuous, “You may get wet” to life and death warnings, “High Voltage”).
Event, tourism, and attraction (ETA) environments are no different than any other environment when it comes to the use and needs of signage. ETA environments are saturated with signs and other visual forms of communications. It could be argued that such an abundance of signs in these environments results in the signs being ignored, becoming visual background noise. However, when done correctly, the constant instruction provided through signage can produce an environment that reflects specific rules and associations that in turn promotes more predictable behaviors.
Considering the nature of ETA environments (often temporary) and the relationship with invitees (patrons) on controlled premises, the goal of an ETA’s planner should be to develop sign packages that properly inform, direct, instruct and warn patrons regarding the intended use of the external and internal environment and available experiences offered. ETA organizers and planners typically have the basics down: food and beverage locations, restrooms, parking, cash machines, VIP areas, and way-finding. However, many of the critical signs often get overlooked.
Unfortunately, the most often overlooked or underdeveloped sign is a warning sign—also the most critical. Many confuse a “warning” sign with that of an instructional/informational sign. There is a significant difference between warnings and instructional/informational signs. A warning is an intimation, threat, or sign of impending danger or evil; advice to beware, as of a person or thing. We should use warnings to advise patrons and staff of harm and the intended consequences of said harm. This practice is often only achieved after an incident due to failed or inadequate policies/procedures to identify and/or eliminate/mitigate known and foreseeable hazards.
There is good news though! There is a science to developing and implementing signage—one that the ETA industry can easily follow and implement. Standards exist within industry that address the formats, colors, and symbols for safety signs used in environmental and facility applications, product applications, and accident prevention tags/tape. ANSI Z535 is a primary example of a standards writing body that develops such practices. It is important to note warning signs are the last resort of consumer safety and should only be used when engineering practices cannot remove the hazards associated with the experiences or conditions. If it has been determined that engineering the hazard out is not possible, then develop proper educational measures and enforcement tactics to prevent incidents. The use of established warning methods is a great place to start.
Events, Tourism & Attractions Safety Regulations & Standards: The Basics
This list is made available for educational purposes only as well as to provide you with general information and understanding concerning the regulations, standards and best practices that apply to the hospitality, tourism and events industries within the United States. This list does not constitute a complete list. The agencies and organizations provided are a snapshot of the regulators or standards writing committees that impact the hospitality, tourism and events industries. Each location, property, facility and event will be impacted uniquely by the agencies and organizations provided and not provided. It is important to analyze your circumstances to determine the regulations, standards and best practices that apply to your situation.
Each locale that you host an event or conduct business will be subject to federal, state, county and local regulations, standards, codes and ordinances. It is important to contact the representatives associated with the location that the event or business will be conducted in order to determine the process and application of various regulations and standards. Jurisdictional requirements can sometimes be complicated and require flexibility and patience. It is important to start the process early. A great place to start at the local level is with the fire marshal’s offices. Additionally, most city websites provide special events information and materials and building code requirements.
As stated… the list provided includes general insight into regulations, standards, etc. that impact the hospitality, tourism and events industries. As a planner or venue operator you must explore and be fully aware of the numerous sections and subsections within the various regulations and standards provided. It puts you, your organization and patrons in jeopardy when you don’t have a clear understanding of the regulations and standards impacting your hospitality, tourism or event location.
- National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provides fire, electrical and life safety information. The hospitality, tourism and events industries must comply with numerous aspects of NFPA both from permanent and temporary structures. NFPA 101: Life Safety Code, NFPA 102: Grandstands, Folding, and Telescopic Seating, Tents and Membrane Structures, and NFPA 601: Security Services are a few of the numerous standards available and applicable to the hospitality, tourism and events industries provided by NFPA.
- Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has jurisdiction over workplaces in the U.S. Some find OSHA irrelevant within the events industry because of the temporary nature of the industry. The reality is that there are many regulations that apply to the events industry. OSHA’s Theater Rigging Provisions Section 1926 of the “Safety and Healthy Regulation for Construction,” subpart R is a good example.
- Others believe that an exemption allowing smaller companies to avoid compliance somehow absolves them from meeting OSHA’s expectations on the job. Just because you are exempt from being regulated does not mean you do not have to follow OSHA. Safe workplace practices and adhering to regulations assists in reducing incidents.
Regulations & Standards
- ADA Americans with Disabilities Act-Regulations, standards and best practices concerning the accommodation of employees and visitors.
- ANSI American National Standards Institute-oversees the creation, promulgation and use of norms and guidelines. Many products utilized within the industry are required to be ANSI approved.
- ASHRAE American Society of Heating, Ref. & A/C Eng.-standards writing and guidelines for acceptable use.
- ASTM International-Amusement ride and device, playground, and recreational equipment standards.
- ATF Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms-Regulation and enforcement concerning use.
- CDC Centers for Disease Control-Monitoring, alerts and reporting.
- CPSC U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission-Regulations, standards, and advisories/alerts concerning consumer products…recreation equipment, etc.
- DOJ Department of Justice-Antitrust, civil liberties, etc.
- DOL Department of Labor-Employee labor practices.
- DOT US Department of Transportation-Traffic management, pedestrian safety and signaling/signage requirements, standards and industry best practices.
- EPA Environmental Protection Agency-Regulations, standards and industry best practices for spills, etc.
- FAA Federal Aviation Administration-Airspace management.
- FDA Food and Drug Administration-Regulations, standards and industry best practices.
- FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency-Disaster preparedness and response.
- IMO International Maritime Organization-Regulations, standards and industry best practices in international waters.
- IRS Internal Revenue Service-Taxes, reporting and liabilities.
- ISFP International Society for Fall Protection-Requirements, standards and industry best practices…elevated platforms, rafters, catwalks, etc.
- NEC National Electric Code-Electrical safety for the electrical trade…fairs, festivals, conventions, etc.
- NFPA National Fire Protection Association-Provides fire, electrical and life safety information.
- NHCA National Hearing Conservation Association-Guidelines for acceptable noise levels and exposure…concerts, festivals, heavy equipment, etc.
- NIOSH National Institute for Occupational Safety-Workplace injury/illness prevention.
- NLSI National Lightning Safety Institute-Lightning guidelines… outdoor events, buildings, etc.
- NSPF National Swimming Pool Foundation-Regulations, standards and best practices.
- OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Administration-Employee safety.
- UL Underwriters Laboratories Inc.-Product safety verification… electrical, heating, etc.
- U.S. Coast Guard – Costal waterways-Vessel checks, accident reporting and use.
- USDA United States Department of Agriculture-Food safety guidelines and alerts.
- USFWS US Fish and Wildlife Service-Education and permitting for select activities and events.