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Event Safety

Special events, meetings, conferences, training sessions, and other occasions bring about the gathering of people for information, education, celebration, fun, and food. Each event involves a multitude of details, some of which carry the potential of presenting safety hazards that range from incorrect food temperatures to blocking an emergency exit. These unintentional hazards can escalate into an immediate danger or an after-the-occasion illness for individuals attending the event.   

These guidelines were developed to ensure the purpose of the gathering is completed in a manner that promotes fire, life and food safety. It provides event planners with practical suggestions and information that complies with regulatory requirements for various aspects of their event.

If you have any questions regarding these guidelines, please contact Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) at x8040 (713-221-8040) or visit us in S621 of the One Main Building. EHS is available to work with you to apply these guidelines and create safe solutions for your event.

Restaurants and supermarket deli's follow important sanitation rules during preparation of food, so that consumers receive a safe and wholesome product.  Once that food is purchased or delivered, however, the responsibility for keeping it safe is yours.  Take-out foods are perishable and can cause illness if handled improperly.

Make sure all electrical needs are discussed with Facilities Management prior to your event.
  • Power is adequate to run equipment during your event
  • Extension cords and wires are secured with cord covers or ramps, taped down or otherwise properly secured
  • Extension cords are properly rated for the equipment used
  • Power surge protectors are never plugged into an extension cord an extension cords are never plugged into  a surge
Once Facilities Management has set up an event please do not move any furniture or equipment without first contacting someone from the Events and Conferences Department.  Blocking emergency/fire exits or equipment is a violation of State Fire Codes.

If Facilities Management is not utilized for setup/decoration and outside party planners are hired, please submit the event layout and procedures to the CR&CS Office for the EHS Office to review and approve. Specify if additional equipment with inherent hazards will be used, such as scaffolding, ladders, cutting tools and/or chemical products 
  • Verify no decorations are near or touching any candles and/or hot lights
  • Verify flammable materials (drapes, table clothes, etc.) are not used
  • Cooking of any food item inside any building is not allowed unless it occurs in an approved kitchen.  The Food Court cafeteria is the only approved kitchen at present time and food preparation is restricted to UHD Dining Services employees.

Food Temperatures

  • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold (above 135° F or below 41° F)
  • Arrange for pick-up or delivery of meals so you can eat the food almost immediately, when maximum quality and safety can be ensured.  
  • If you have to hold the food for any length of time (over two hours) , keep it HOT, which means the food must have an internal temperature above 135° F. Just keeping it warm doesn't ensure safety
  • What if I pick up the food in the morning, but won't serve it until evening?
  • If you are eating much later, the food will taste better and be safer if you refrigerate and reheat it just before serving
  • Divide large quantities into shallow containers (2” or less) for quick cooling, cover loosely, and refrigerate immediately
  • Always reheat cooked foods or leftovers until they are hot and steaming (165° F)
  • What about salads, deli meats and foods that are purchased or delivered cold?
  • Remember to keep cold foods COLD (41° F or below). The life of most deli meats and foods is short. Roast beef, chicken breast, and turkey have a shorter refrigerator life than processed meats or cold cuts
  • Buy reasonable quantities
  • If food won't be served soon, refrigerate it immediately
  • Properly wrap and freeze deli meats that won't be used within two to four days
  • If entertaining, set out small amounts at a time and replace with fresh platters (rather than adding fresh food to a dish that already has food on it)
  • Keep food cold on the buffet table by nesting dishes in bowls of ice
  • REMEMBER most food poisoning bacteria can NOT be seen, smelled, or tasted
If in doubt, throw it out!


Slips, Trips, and Falls 

  • Check the area for uneven walking surfaces and step heights (risers)
  • Be aware that walking surfaces can become slippery because of rain or ice or spills
  • Secure the edges of rugs and cords to prevent tripping
  • Use railings on raised platforms to prevent guests and chairs from falling off. Provide steps with railings so people can safely move on and off the platforms used for either seating or performances.

Ice Transportation

Transport ice provided by campus automatic ice dispensing equipment in a low center of gravity ice chest as opposed to a tall beverage cart cooler. The tall beverage carts are not designed to move over long distances, over uneven surfaces or thresholds. Attempts to transport the tall cart filled with ice over long distances, uneven surfaces, or door thresholds, have routinely resulted in spills that creates an invitation to slips, trips and falls.

Room Capacity

Choose a venue that will be appropriate for the maximum attendance. DO NOT EXCEED the Maximum Allowable Occupant Load numbers that are posted inside the special events rooms. Contact the Events and Conferences Department at x8580 for more information.