Although there are risks associated with all events and activities, managing those risks does not have to be complex. If you are planning an event or activity on campus, proper planning can determine if your event will be a safe and successful venture. The steps below will help with this process.  These steps will help you proactively manage event risks and avoid, prevent, reduce, and transfer losses, liabilities and litigation, and above all - help to keep your guests safe.

  • Identify potential risks associated with the event by reviewing a list of risk factors
  • Evaluate the risks involved in your event. Consider probability of an incident occurring (frequency) and the impact of the incident (severity)
  • Chose risk mitigation techniques. These may include:
    • Implementing loss prevention and loss control measures such as having an EMT/Fire Department at the event.
    • Transferring the risk through contracts, waivers or procuring special event insurance coverage.
    • Avoiding the risk. Consider this technique if you do not have the expertise (training) to conduct the activity safely or if there are alternative ideas which are safer or a better use of resources.
  • Monitor the results of your chosen techniques.
  • Reevaluate your decisions for future events.

High risk activities include:

  • alcohol
  • food
  • fire or explosion risk, including fireworks and bonfires
  • bands
  • travel
  • animals
  • athletics or sports
  • large attendance
  • use of non-OSU vendors or contractors
  • facility use to non-OSU organizations

Below is a list of the top 50 risks to mitigate in event planning. While this list is comprehensive, it is not all-inclusive. Please contact the Office of Risk Management for questions regarding risk mitigation tools. 

  • Sale and/or consumption of alcohol or drugs? Minors present?
  • Size of crowd?
  • Poor communication system?
  • Children attending?
  • Inexperienced security?
  • Poor signs (exits, etc)?
  • Slippery surfaces?
  • Weather conditions: heat, cold, rain, wind?
  • Exposure to theft of property?
  • Fireworks?
  • Hazardous event activities?
  • Behavior of performers?
  • Admission of bottles and cans?
  • Event cancellation or performer no-show?
  • Inexperienced organizers?
  • Use of locations not designed for events?
  • Over capacity crowds?
  • Vandalism?
  • Rioting?
  • Use of private security not approved by OSU Department of Public Safety?
  • Terrorism?
  • Festival-style seating?
  • Insufficient budgets?
  • Falling objects?
  • Free and uncontrolled admission?
  • Long weekend and holiday events?
  • Use of animals?
  • No parking lot security?
  • Stage rushing?
  • Many volunteers?
  • International attendance?
  • No evacuation plan?
  • Poor perimeter fencing?
  • Admitting weapons or menacing objects?
  • Low stages, Long lines and waits?
  • Poor ventilation?
  • Slow emergency response?
  • One-of-a-kind and first-time events?
  • Athletic events?
  • Use of contractors (food, entertainment, etc...)
  • Loaned or rented equipment? Insurance in place?
  • Sale of product? Product Liability?
  • Non-affiliated group using OSU property?
  • Travel?
  • Bonfires?
  • Hay Rides?
  • No prior notification of event to Office of Risk Management , Department of Public Safety, Environmental Health & Safety
  • Food? Call Benton County Health for safe food handling advice.
  • Field Trips (see field trip guidelines)?
  • Pandemic restrictions
  • No Insurance coverage

If you have additional questions regarding managing risks for a particular event, please contact the Office of Risk Management.

Alcohol Service Registration

University Events can be hired to help navigate risk elements with your project, or review the concepts below to evaluate it, yourself. 

Do we need a plan:   Are more than 100 people attending?  Are there potential risks that, in the heat of the moment, would be unable to be addressed due to other demands on the event planner’s time? 

Safety Plan, Plan for crisis – keep your guests and your event safe!

Once you’ve completed the review, make sure to share it with the venue, colleagues and volunteers.  In addition to distribution, make time to talk through the plan on-site so that roles are understood and action can be quickly taken if needed.

  • Does the venue have an existing emergency plan to follow?
    • Develop one if one is not available. It should lead guests from your gathering location within the venue to the evacuation assembly area.
  • What is the location of evacuation assembly area?
  • Is there a fire alarm for the building?
  • Evaluate all tasks such as loading, unloading, setup, ushers and information booths to see if safety trainings are needed.
  • Is there a potential for conflict - controversial speaker, social media/internal buzz of protests?
    • Create a protest management plan
  • Develop a plan that establishes procedures, roles and responsibilities for injuries, emergencies and incidents of protest, if they could apply to this event.
    • In which situations is it best to shelter in place?Evacuate?
    • What to do in case of a bomb threat/airborne threat/active shooter/power outage/inclement weather/guest injury
    • How to communicate with guests before they arrive, after they have left
  • Is there a public address system that can be used?
  • How are announcements made to evacuate?

  • Are there any known participants with disabilities?
    • Is there a plan to assist persons with disabilities during an emergency?
    • Are there companions/caretakers with the participant?
  • Determine who needs to be included in planning communication – examples include:
    • manager of the host location
    • All event planning team members
    • It is recommended that the building manager of the host location or Conference Services lead plan development, if possible.
  • Evacuation/response process
    • Who is in charge?
    • Roles in the emergency (instruction sheet given, discussion held)
      • OSU Organizer
      • Group leader of participants
  • Who interacts with response agencies?
  • Who interacts with crowd/group of attendees?
  • Who decides to cancel event?
  • Building Owner/Point of Contact

After incident steps:

If any safety or conflict incident has occurred, no matter the location of the event, communicate it to Public Safety main line at 541-737-3010.  Include event lead’s contact information, event location and a short summary of what happened.


  • Only trained responders should provide first aid or use an Emergency Defibrillator (AED)
  • Do not move the victim unless the location is unsafe
  • Control access to the scene
  • Take universal precautions to prevent contact with body fluids
  • Meet ambulance at entrance and direct them to victim(s)