Hospitality, Tourism & Event Safety Regulations & Standards: The Basics

event regulations, standards and rules

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.