Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Join
Best Practices - Safety
Share |


E2MA members, particularly those with significant numbers of full time and part time personnel, have expressed great concerns about the rising cost of workers compensation insurance and health insurance for their employees.


The E2MA, in its ongoing commitment to its members and to "raise the level of service excellence on the showfloor,” formed an Ad Hoc Committee to investigate the causes of these rising costs, and to develop a recommendation on how they might be better controlled.


The Safety Committee determined that the best practice to recommend to our members was a proactive effort to train its workforce on safety measures that could significantly reduce the numbers and severity of incidents that occur on the showfloor during move-in and move-out.    The following Best Practices Recommendation on Safety is offered as a suggestion to our members on how you best manage and control your workers compensation claims exposure – and hopefully, as a by-product, manage and control your workers compensation cost.  

Safety Committee


The EACA empanelled an Ad Hoc Committee to further study this issue and to make recommendations to the membership.  


The EACA Safety Committee includes:


Mike Metzger          Zenith LaborNet

John Yohe              Nth Degree

Tom Cassell            Convention All Services

Ken Broadbent        Sho Link

Steve Schwartz       Washington Convention Center

Geri Shaffer            Aesculap

Ron Gabbert            Employco

Jim Wurm               EACA




A.      Instill Safety First Attitude with a Written Safety Policy


While the environment that fosters the greatest exposure to accidents is on the show floor, the capacity to control these risks must begin in the offices of top management.  A safety first attitude must come from the top down in order to be effective, and is best communicated by a written safety policy.   


Your written safety policy should include some or all of the following components:

1.   A general statement of commitment to safety by top management.

2.   General safety rules for all employees.

3.   An I&D safety checklist.

4.   Accountability/responsibility programs for your City Managers and leadmen.

5.   Information on how your I&D City Managers and leadmen should conduct pre-project safety meetings.

6.   A requirement for the reporting of all incidents and accidents, no matter how minor.

7.   A list of recommended treatment facilities for each city you work in.

8.   A commitment to investigate all incidents and accidents and to initiate corrective measures.

9.   A commitment to conduct safety orientations for all new employees.

10. A commitment to schedule routine safety meetings to reinforce safety in the minds of all employees.



B.     Company Safety Commitment Statement

A written safety policy is the first best step toward controlling costs associated with work performed on the showfloor.    In addition to the fact that most insurers require their customers to have a written safety policy to obtain the best possible rates, this document will clearly spell out your expectations around safety and will communicate those expectations to your employees.

The first section of your written policy statement should communicate the company's philosophy about, and commitment to, safety and and include:

1.  A general statement of commitment that your company has for creating and maintaining a safe work environment.

Sample language

<Company> is dedicated to providing a workplace that is free from safety and health hazards.  Our desire is to eliminate injuries from our workplace, and our goal is zero (0) injuries.  All members of management and supervision are responsible for implementing the company's safety policy.   And, all company employees are required to read and sign the company safety rules and guidelines.

2.  A statement about your insurance carrier, and your company's policy on handling injuries.

Sample language

We have hired one of the finest insurance carriers in the country based upon their performance in working with an injured person.    <Carrier> promises, upon receipt of an incident/accident report which is filed with their office, they will contact the injured party within 24 hours to confirm they have received proper treatment and care and  to assist with any additional care or needs that may be required.

<Company> will stay in constant contact with the injured person to them of proper care and treatment.


C.      General Safety Rules


The following safety rules are general in nature and are suggested to assist all employees to carry out their responsibilities.    All employees should be required to read and sign these general safety rules.  If an employee has any questions about safety or any concerns about safety at any point while performing their work, they should be encouraged to immediately contact their supervisor.

1.   Practical jokes and horseplay have no place on the job.   Any employee participating in such activities shall be subject to disciplinary action.

2.   All hazards warning signs and tags will be obeyed.

3.   Drinking of alcoholic beverages or use of drugs on the job or during working hours is prohibited.   Any employee reporting to work under the influence of alcoholic beverages, drugs, or consuming alcoholic beverages during working hours or during the lunch break will be subject to disciplinary action.

4.   Jewelry such as rings, identification bracelets, long chains, or earrings, etc. should be removed when work involves climbing, material handling or operating mechanical equipment.

5.   Appropriate clothing suitable to the type of work being performed should always be worn.  Loose clothing should not be worn near machinery or equipment with moving parts.

6.   Only personnel properly authorized and trained are allowed to operate forklift trucks or other company owned/leased equipment or vehicles.

7.   Personal protective equipment and/or clothing will be worn as required by rules specified for each department; i.e. hard hats, safety glasses, gloves, safety shoes, etc.

8.   All incidents/accidents must be reported as soon as possible to the injured person's immediate supervisor.   This rule must be followed no matter how minor the incident may be.

9.   Keep work areas clean and orderly.   Correct any unsafe conditions, if qualified, or report them to your supervisor.

10.  Use proper lifting techniques.   If you need help, ask for it.



D.      I&D Safety Checklist


The company safety policy should clearly state that it is the responsibility of the manager to delegate authority to field supervisors and leadmen.   The manager must discuss with their field managers the dangers of working in an exhibit hall such as:


Ladder Safety

  • Check ladder first to make sure it is in good condition
  • Open and lock the spreaders in position
  • Always use the front of the ladder
  • Never stand on top of ladder, or top rung
  • Do not straddle top of ladder
  • Always face treads of ladder
  • Use both hands while climbing - use the three point contact principle
  • Have partner hand tools or parts to person on ladder
  • Never work up or down the back side of the ladder
  • Do not leave tools on the ladder
  • When working on ladders 10’ or higher have safety support person hold the ladder



  • Most injuries on show floor come from improperly moving/lifting heavy objects
  • Don’t use your back.   Lift with your legs
  • Get enough help to properly distribute the load
  • When in doubt, have a fork lift perform function



  • Tape all visqueen seams solid
  • Patch holes in visqueen (holes and open seams can trip you)


Power Tools

  • Use the proper tool for the job
  • Use protective equipment (safety glasses, gloves, hearing protection) provided
  • Check before using that the tool is in good working condition
  • Replace or repair defective tools


Trash / Removal

  • Keep booth clean
  • Disassemble in order and in one direction


Compressed Gas Cylinders

  • Use caution when handling, moving or locating gas cylinders
  • Keep away from busy aisles where they could get knocked over
  • Use appropriate equipment when moving or handling cylinders


Fork Lift

  • Never ride on forks of a lift truck
  • Do not ride on lift truck.   This machine is designed for one operator.
  • Forklift work platform is required at all times while doing high work.
  • Avoid walking under forks (hydraulic lines can break!)
  • Stand to the side and away from forklift (driver might not see you if directly behind)
  • Never stand too close. Rear wheels of forklift may run over feet while turning.


Economy E-Z Lifts

  • Always use outriggers
  • Never raise platform while man is on lift
  • Hook platform safety chain
  • Never move lift while worker is on platform



  • Only one person on operating seat
  • Passenger on scooter must be seated at all times on rear seat
  • No more than two people on scooter
  • Do not stand directly in front or rear of scooter (operator might not have machine in   right gear
  • Gasoline powered scooters must be turned off when not in motion.


Double Deck

  • Floor panels bolted
  • Stair well bolted
  • Mark outer edge with tape


Emergency Response Checklist

  • Know the phone number for convention center first aid
  • Know the location of the nearest fire extinguisher
  • Know the location of the nearest company-approved treatment facility




E.      Pre-Project Safety Meetings


A key factor in the increased hazard to casual labor on the show floor is that they are "outsiders.”   Rather than being part of the team, they may come to the booth functioning as an individual.   As such, their chances of injury are much greater.


Insist on pre-project safety meetings to review safety practices with your "regulars” and to pull the "outsiders” in to make them feel a part of the team focus on safety.


This meeting also gives the supervisor or leadman time to see that members of the crew are fit and prepared for work.  Three minutes at the start of the work day may save you hours or days when dealing with injuries or mistakes.


A pre-project safety meeting can include some or all of the following:


  • Review the project prints and instructions and anticipate any possible safety issues when installing or dismantling an exhibit.
  • Develop a plan to safely install or dismantle a project or ask for assistance from the  General Foreman.
  • Hold a safety huddle with the crew:

            -Point out safety issues

            -Ask for feedback from crew – any suggestions?

            -Ask everyone if they are OK today.   Anyone hurting from day before?

            -Review individual abilities before assigning tasks

            -Use all resources for job

            -Remember – skills and resources lead to safe productivity!!


  • Remind crew that display properties can shift inside crates during handling periods.    Use caution when opening crates and containers.
  • Keep your work area clear of loose items and make sure visqueen is taped down properly and repaired when tears occur to avoid tripping and falling accidents
  • Make sure all tools are in good condition and are used properly
  • If there are heavy materials – Remember you are in charge!!     Lift safely, get help if necessary, use proper tools
  • Be mindful of your sequence for installation or dismantle.   Make sure the sequence for install or dismantle is done in an order that creates the safest environment   eg.   Upper deck panels remain until necessary removal.
  • Pay attention to other personnel (unions) in job and make sure they are working in a safe manner.
  • Review the location of the nearest fire extinguisher
  • Review the phone number of the convention center first aid
  • In the event of any injury remind crew that company safety policy requires taking pictures and completing an accident report – even if the individual is employed by another contractor.     Also review with crew the location of the company approved treatment facility.


F.       Accident Investigation Procedures


           Unfortunately in almost every organization, accidents do occur.   In order for a supervisor or manager to understand the sequence of events that can lead to an accident, it is essential he/she to understand what elements need to be prevented or controlled.


           An accident is an undesired event that results in physical harm to a person, or damage to a property.


           When an accident occurs, it is seldom a single cause, but rather a combination of factors or causes which come together under just the right circumstances to bring about the undesired event, or incident.

  1.        Objective


           Once an accident occurs, the primary objective – in addition to a detail report on what occurred - should be to prevent it from reoccurring.  By achieving this exhibit services contractor, and the on-site supervisors, maintain the efficiency of their operations.


          An accident investigation should begin with:

  a.         Who is involved?

  b.         What occurred?

  c.         What were the immediate causes of the accident?

  d.         Why were these causes present?

  e.         What steps are to be taken to remove these causes?


2.       Who Should Perform Investigations?

a.         Accident investigations should be performed by the immediate supervisor of the employee(s) who were involved in the accident.  


b.         In cases of serious injury (broken bones, amputations, injuries requiring hospitalization, or death), the investigation should be performed by the immediate supervisor and his superior. 


c.         It should be remembered that the investigation is a fact finding mission, and not a fault blaming exercise.


3.        Personal Data

a.         Determine who was involved, including the person that was injured, and any other employees present.  If not directly involved they could prove to be valuable witnesses. 


b.         Names of non-employees involved in the accident, and any witnesses to the accident should be included. 


c.         The last two items are especially necessary in the case of vehicle accidents.



4.        Accident Description and Interview

  a.         Conduct an interview with all individuals as soon as possible after the accident.

  b.         Techniques to remember while conducting interviews:


i.    Put the person at ease.   A simple, sincere explanation of the real values that can come from the information may be shared.   Assure the individual that no one is "out to get” him or her.

ii.    Interview on the spot.    Experience shows this contributes most significantly to the accuracy and the detail of the accident in question.

iii.   Conduct the interview in private.   Everyone need not be sent away – just make a courteous explanation that all parties will have an effort to relate how he/she saw what happened.    If conflicts are discovered in the information given, then the supervisor should re-interview each individual separately to achieve the most accurate results.    Try to keep everyone concerned with the accident from discussing the event with each other so they don’t rehearse or confuse the details.

iv.  Interrupt the interview as little as possible, and never make judgmental remarks like, "that was sure the wrong thing to do.”

v.   Ask necessary questions at the right time - "what happened", "who was involved", etc.

vi.   Repeat the story once you have heard it.    This technique has three values:

1.         It will assure your proper understanding

2.         It will give the individual a chance to hear what he said, so that he can correct anything that wasn’t exactly correct

3.        It will assist you to develop more information than has been conveyed in words by the witness.

vii.  End each interview on a positive note.   Express your appreciation for all accident details provided, and in particular any ideas that come from the interview that could prevent or control future events of this type.

viii. Record critical information quickly – names, dates, locations, times, numbers, dimensions,  outline of details, etc.     A complete report can then be written promptly after the interview.   Attempting to write a complete word-for-word account can be very disruptive and can result in a failure to get many important details.

ix.  Drawings and photos help.    Since conditions change quickly following accidents,  a photograph of the scene – taken as soon as possible after the event – can many times be a valuable reference.   Also, accurate measurements of the various aspects of the area, conditions of equipment, or materials involved.

x.   Keep the Pipeline Open.   Encourage people to contribute additional facts they might recall  later.


5.        Accident Analysis


           Following the interview, a determination of the immediate causes of the accident can be made.  This involves determining the unsafe acts and unsafe conditions that occurred.


a.         Unsafe Acts.  Those acts which were committed by the injured individual that directly led to the accident.



-                Making safety devices inoperative

-                Failure to use guards provided

-                Using defective equipment

-                Servicing equipment in motion

-                Failure to use proper tools or equipment

-                Operating machinery/equipment at unsafe speed

-                Failure to use personal protective devices

-                Operating equipment without authority/knowledge

-                Unsafe loading or placing

-                Improper lifting, carrying

-                Influence of alcohol/drugs

-                Physical limitations/mental attitude

-                Unaware of hazards

-                Unsafe acts of others

-                None


b.        Unsafe Conditions.  The conditions of the machinery, tools, materials, or building that caused the accident.



-                Inadequate guards or protection

-                Defective tools or equipment

-                Unsafe condition of machine

-                Congested work area

-                Poor housekeeping

-                Unsafe floors, ramps, stairways, or platforms

-                Improper material storage

-                Inadequate warning systems

-                Fire or explosion

-                Hazardous atmosphere

-                Hazardous substances

-                Inadequate ventilation

-                Excessive noise

-                Inadequate illumination

-                Radiation exposure

-                None


c.        Basic Causes.    After you have determined any unsafe acts or unsafe conditions, you must determine why they were present.   Determining why unsafe acts or conditions were present is probably the most difficult part of the investigation.   But, you must remember to continually ask why the employee acted in such a way, or why the machinery and tools were in such a condition as to cause the accident.   Unless these why questions are answered, the accident will probably happen again.



-                Inadequate hiring standards

-                Inadequate job placement

-                Lack of proper job procedures

-                Inadequate job instruction

-                Inadequate enforcement of work standards

-                Inadequate supervision

-                Inadequate job planning methods

-                Inadequate preventive maintenance program

-                Improper layout or design

-                Unsafe design or construction

-                Inadequate purchasing standards

-                Inadequate environmental control program


c.        Corrective Action.   Once you have determined the causes of the accident, and why these causes were present, then you can determine the corrective action to take.


To correct the problems may involve further employee training, changes in job procedures or re-designing equipment.   A simple "telling the employee not to commit the unsafe act again” is not sufficient.


Instead a thorough review of the job procedure should be conducted with the worker.   Be sure he/she understands and agrees with the proper job procedure.




G.      OSHA Recordkeeping Requirements


1.        Introduction


Accident records, if used properly, can be a valuable tool in improving the effectiveness of your worker safety program.   Also, maintaining an accurate accident log is required by the Occupational Safety and Health Act. 


When an employee injury occurs, there are two reporting requirements – one for workers’compensation insurance and one for OSHA.


Also there are two concerns about any accident:


a.        Compensability under workers compensation guidelines.

b.        Regardless of compensability, a determination needs to be made by the employer on whether or not the injury should be recorded on the OHSA 300 Log.


2.        Recordkeeping Requirements


OSHA requires that each employer who is subject to the recordkeeping requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 must maintain for each establishment a log of all recordable occupational injuries and illnesses.   This form (OSHA 300) is best used for that purpose.


Enter each recordable case on the log within seven (7) calendar days after learning of its occurrence.   If the log is prepared elsewhere, a copy updated to within 45 calendar days must be present at all times in the establishment.


Both the logs and the summaries must be maintained and retained for five (5) years following the end of the calendar year to which they relate.   Logs must be available (normally at the establishment) for inspection and copying by representatives of the Department of Labor, or the Department of Health.  Access to the log is also provided to employees, former employees and their representatives.


At the conclusion of each calendar year, all applicable information on the OSHA 300 Log must be transferred onto the OSHA Form 300A - Summary of the work-related injuries and illnesses.


No later than February 1 of the following year, the OSHA Form 300A must be posted, and remain posted until April 30 of that year.  Again, both the OSHA Log 300 and OSHA Summary Form 300A must be maintained on file for five (5) years.



3.       Incidents to Record


a.        An injury of illness is considered work-related if it occurs in the normal course of employment and/or work-related activities.

b.        All work-related fatalities are recordable.

c.        All diagnosed work-related illnesses are recordable.

d.        All work-related injuries requiring medical treatment or involving loss of consciousness, restriction of work or motion, or transfer to another job are recordable.


Note:   Work-related injuries requiring only First Aid treatment are not required to be recorded.


H.     Approved List of Treatment Facilities

It is recommended that each E2MA member develop a list of approved treatment facilities for injured employees that are both convenient to the convention center in your city and with whom you have established a solid working relationship.


I.       Safety Training Meetings


           Developing and maintaining a safe work environment will require many if not all of the recommendations made in this document.  Of those none may be more important than the consistent reinforcement of the principles contained herein through an effective training program.


           A number of our members have the ability to produce and deliver their own programs on safety, but for those that don’t the E2MA plans to organize and produce safety training programs in each of the E2MA Chapters at least once per year.





This Best Practices Recommendations on Safety would not be possible if not for the significant contributions of all on the EACA Ad Hoc Committee on Safety.  In addition the EACA owes a debt of thanks to the following member companies, Convention All Services, Employco Services, Nth Degree, and Sho-Link.





The preceding Best Practices Recommendations on Safety are offered to the members of the EACA as suggestions for improving your ability to manage and control your workers compensation costs.


Utilization of the Best Practices recommendation is optional, and is not a requirement for membership in the EACA.

Association Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal