Safety should be the top priority for every live event producer as well as for the agents who write policies for their production clients. This includes safety for guests, for workers, and for all of the temporary structures and equipment that make the event possible.
After working with the Event Safety Alliance over the past year, it’s become clear that there are some relatively simple steps that agents can review with their event production clients to both help ensure a safer live event and ensure that clients have the right coverage in place.
The biggest mistake an agent and event producer can make is to not ask enough questions. Gathering information from every vendor and company involved in the event helps identify issues, while ensuring that everyone operates safely and has an insurance policy of their own.
Verify Insurance Coverage
The first step an agent can take is to verify that all vendors involved in the event have insurance policies with contractual capabilities to make anyone an additional insured to their policy.
Each vendor should be able to produce proof of insurance, and asking a few simple questions about their coverage can highlight potential coverage gaps or inadequacies.
One of the major factors in recent live event accidents has been the venue itself. From the weather and the size of the crowd to the stages and rigging for lights and electronics, the more you know, the better able you will be to make judgments about safety.
For indoor venues, request tech packets that detail the building and its safety protocols.
For outdoor events, be sure you understand the terrain and consider how the stage and rigging will be secured, and use on-site weather monitoring tools to stay ahead of any potential storms.
There are powerful apps for smartphones and tablets that can show wind speed, direction, and approaching rain, but for larger, more sophisticated shows and venues, actual on-site weather monitoring personnel may be best.
Behind the Scenes
It’s just as important to know the people behind the scenes as knowing the venue itself. Agents need to identify the stakeholders behind the vendors and the venue.
Who has the authority to stop the show should equipment fail or inclement weather becomes a safety issue? Find this person and meet with them to determine a decision timeline and then make sure it is fully understood by everyone involved.
The last thing you and your client need when a safe event becomes unsafe is confusion regarding who makes the call to end the event, what circumstances are required to end the event, and what procedures will be followed.
These questions are easy to overlook but the answers are critically important for developing a thorough safety plan and
protecting your client’s interests and liabilities.
What about the most customer-facing vendors such as concessions, security and parking companies?
These types of vendors typically have the most exposure to incidents because they touch virtually every spectator and show personnel, and choosing the right vendor can be the difference between smooth sailing and a huge headache.
These vendors should always be chosen based on which company has a safe and successful track record, not whichever company offers the cheapest bid.
Finally, use all the information you’ve gathered and urge your client to create their own plan for emergency situations.
Ask yourself “what if” questions and figure out the best way to address the potential issues.
What if the wind suddenly picks up above 30 miles per hour? What if there is an active shooter on the scene? What if the rigging vendor can’t supply evidence of insurance? What if a food vendor has a fire?
Answering these questions and any others that may affect the safety of your client’s event can help to identify and ultimately eliminate potential disasters before they have a chance to happen.
All parties involved in a live event want it to go smoothly, and doing your due diligence as an agent beforehand can help to put your clients’ minds at ease.