Safety at Web3 events, much like in any large gathering, demands meticulous attention to safety and health considerations. The logistics for safety in large gatherings often begin way before the actual event. Safety in events became an important topic during the pandemic, and as organizers have already moved on to tackling other challenges, it has become apparent that there are many other factors to consider.
There is no limitation to the kind of safety hazards that exist within an event. Sustained injury could be as simple as food poisoning, too much heat, or lack of air conditioning to severe injury such as severe skin/eye irritation due to unprotected exposure to dangerous event lighting. Even more devastating is the loss of lives due to fire outbreaks or uncontrollable crowds, often triggering stampedes that can quickly escalate into chaotic situations.
Authorities of Accident Control studied the rate of death and defectiveness during large events and found that 70% of avenues had quality safety standards while the remaining 30% posed significant public safety risks. One of the most vital roles of event organizers and authorities is ensuring attendees are safe from foreseen and unforeseen risks. Here are lessons you should take home in this ultimate guide to ensuring safety at events in the future.
Case Study: Incident at ApeFest by Yuga Labs in Hong Kong
ApeFest is the 2023 Web3 event that made headlines after dozens of attendees reported severe eye damage and skin burns due to unprotected exposure to UV lights. Artfi Global founder and a Bored Ape NFT holder Asif Kamal happened to attend the Hong Kong event and found himself among the casualties of the incident.
Asif Kamal is now championing a conversation that extends beyond the boundaries of Hong Kong and aims to hold event organizers accountable for public safety in Web3 events.
The NFTs party which lasted between November 3 – 5 was organized by Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) parent company Yuga Labs. As such, the crypto community has accused Yuga Labs of their negligence and several X users swore to file a lawsuit soon. Kamal, a staunch fan of BAYC Apes, has already put the NFT’s parent company under legal notice.
Yuga Labs did not immediately respond or comment on the situation until 2-days later after several attendees lodged complaints on X. On November 9, the BAYC maker released a lengthy statement on X saying they were already conducting investigations into the matter.
Despite a majority of X users making fun of the statement, Yuga Labs went ahead to downplay the situation by claiming only 1% of attendees suffered eye and skin injuries.
However, the NFTs maker stated that its collaborative investigation with Jack Morton Worldwide established UV-A emitting rays were the likely cause of attendees ‘eyes and skin burns.
After the party, Kamal visited the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Hong Kong to get treatment, where he said “I felt blind for hours” with medical staff using a cold solution to flush his eyes.
Significance of Web3 Events: Uniting Technology, Business, and Innovation on a Global Stage
Web3 events have netted mainstream attention from the likes of developers, entrepreneurs, investors, enthusiasts and businesses. For individuals who want to gain unique insights, build a network and stay updated with technological advancements, such events can be a handy tool.
Entrepreneurs and developers get a unique opportunity to showcase their projects. As such, products can also gauge valuable feedback from a relevant audience, and receive mass exposure to potential clients, users, investors and partners.
Web3’s impact extends across dozens of industries including finance, art, logistics, healthcare, gaming, social work, entertainment and so on. Attending a Web3-related event can help you connect with individuals from different industries. This is because such events often comprise cross-industry discussions, and are a great breeding ground for innovative collaborations.
Since these events attract attendees from all parts of the world, they are also a great way to network and build cross-border partnerships. Those are some of the benefits of attending Web3 events, they are the reason why these events are attracting large masses of people. Where two or three have gathered for a certain cause, their safety is mandatory,” and it’s not a choice” says Asif Kamal.
Growing Challenges in Safety at Web3 Events
The events industry faced its biggest setback in 2020 during the pandemic. While the world has already tackled this challenge, Web3 event managers seem to be tackling a new set of challenges.
Web3 events want to offer the best experience to their audience. The goal is to make those events as immersive as possible, in a way that fully showcases innovation and technology. However, event managers in Web3 have to tackle the following pressing issues:
Lack of standardized safety protocols
The absence of standardized safety protocols has given event managers a hard time implementing and enforcing consistent safety standards when organizing different events. With advancements in stage lighting and the need to create a sophisticated technology ambience, events now need to deal with evolving risks. The need to adapt to innovations in stage light could leave attendees vulnerable to unforeseen health hazards.
Ambiguous Regulations for Maintaining Safety at Web3 Events
Web3 is an evolution from the previous internet frameworks, however, the industry still operates on the fringes of existing regulatory practices. This presents a challenge when establishing clear and comprehensive compliance frameworks that address public safety concerns. If the industry does not find a way to ensure regulatory clarity in Web3 event organizing, organizers may find themselves unsure of the standards to uphold, and the liabilities they face.
Limited Industry Guidelines
Web3 is a relatively new niche lacking widely accepted event management practices. With most organizers reaching for a futuristic ambience, and dozens of showcases involving VR/AR glasses, event organizers could find themselves in a precarious position, navigating uncharted safety protocols. The industry must foster consistent and standardized safety practices to ensure event attendees are safe.
Public Awareness when Maintaining Safety at Web3 Events
Many event attendees might not be familiar with safety considerations when attending immersive events. It is essential that event organizers raise public awareness and sensitizes those in attendance about the risks involved and safety factors to be put into consideration.
Pre-Event Planning to Ensure Safety at Web3 Events
Analyze potential risks and health hazards associated with the event and factor in things like venue type, crowd size, weather conditions and the potential for fire outbreaks.
Ensure you install measures to mitigate any identified risks. Take time to study the risks and develop contingency strategies in case of adverse weather or unexpected attendance. Take into account the protocols in place for fire safety, and identify evacuation routes and emergency assembly points.
Safety Policies and Procedures
Establish a comprehensive emergency response plan that extensively covers several scenarios. In the response plan, take into account all types of threats including fires, medical emergencies and security risks.
Additionally, clearly define and communicate the roles and responsibilities of the event’s security personnel and event staff. If you will have volunteers in case of an emergency, outline what roles such volunteers will play.
Prior to the event, establish a direct communication channel with the region’s fire department, local police and medical providers. Coordinate a well-organized emergency response to get swift responses from relevant authorities.
Staff Training to Ensure Safety at Web3 Events
Onboard event staff and personnel through a thorough training session and prepare them for any emergency response procedures. Furthermore, event organizers should ensure their staff is prepared to handle new risks and changes in venue layout. There should also be a clear communication channel between the staff personnel and emergency response services.
Make sure the venue meets all safety standards and can safely withstand any adverse weather conditions. Conduct a thorough inspection of the venue and tick all safety standards and regulations. Moreover, address any identified safety concerns, for example, structure risks.
Equipment and Supplies
Ensure first aid kits and fire extinguishers are strategically in place throughout the event’s venue. Also, make sure that each kit or extinguisher has clear instructions and labelling on usage. Furthermore, make sure you place visible signage that indicates the correct emergency exits, entrances and exit routes, as well as first aid points. The venue must also have signage for correct emergency procedures.
In-Event Protocols to Ensure Safety in Web3 Events
Crowd Management when Ensuring Safety at Web3 Events
Install crowd management to prevent large crowds in key areas of the venue. Take advantage of designated pathways, barriers and signage to control the flow of those in attendance. Also, put in place trained security and safety personnel to monitor the entry and exit points to prevent unauthorized access. Additionally, a ticketing and identification system will come in handy when controlling access to the venue.
Utilize standard first aid kits and trained medical personnel to handle medical emergencies. Have visible signage for first aid stations and have each medical personnel visibly identifiable. Event organizers must also develop clear and effective procedures for evacuating attendees in an emergency.
The event staff must be familiar with evacuation routes and assembly points. When planning out the evacuation procedure, ensure the plan consists of several possible scenarios.
Inform everyone in attendance about the safety measures in place. Carefully and consistently communicate important safety information through digital displays. During the event, distribute print materials that outline emergency response procedures. Encourage those in attendance to report any suspicious incidents promptly.
Additionaly, take advantage of technology to receive and disseminate real-time updates. Redundant communication channels might lead to confusion when there is an emergency, hence be clear at all costs.
Security Measures for Ensuring Safety at Web3 Events
Define the roles and responsibilities of the security personnel. Make sure the security staff has the right training in handling conflict resolution and responding to emergencies. Implement a visible security personnel presence throughout the venue to deter potential threats. It is also important for the organizers to establish protocols for responding to an emergency and handling threats, unruly behaviour and disturbances.
Read our ultimate guide to mastering crypto pre-sales to stay on the safe side as an investor during the bear market. This guide will teach you actionable steps for finding credible projects and spotting red flags.
Post-Event Procedures to Bolster Safety at Web3 Events
Debriefing and Feedback
Evaluate what worked and what didn’t in the safety precautions of the event. Conduct a debriefing session with personnel and review the event’s security, safety and public health performance. Identify successful strategies that work and areas you need to improve. Additionally, gather feedback for those in attendance and find out about the safety experience during the event. Discuss with local authorities and law enforcement officials to gather insights and safety recommendations.
Reporting and Documentation
Create a detailed report of all the event’s safety performance. Document all emergencies, security incidents or medical emergencies that you encountered. Put down all your team’s measures and resolution actions when resolving conflict or emergency situations.
Additionally, event organizers should comply with legal requirements and report all incidents to local law enforcement authorities. Documentation is also an important part of fulfilling insurance requirements and facilitating legal claims in case of accidents.
Identify strategic areas that need improvements. After taking these areas into account, develop an action plan based on the feedback you gathered. Create an action plan for addressing safety loopholes by revising and updating existing safety protocols.
Back to the ApeFest Incident
While talking to DroomDroom, Asif Kamal revealed a series of photographs that showed a patch of his forehead’s skin was peeling away. The Artfi CEO bought a Bored Ape Yatch Club NFT at $60,000 to show his support for the community. Presently, he has taken a pretty activist stand against Yuga Labs for neglecting the safety of people who already helped it make billions of dollars.
It is not only Kamal who suffered the injuries. Dozens of other attendees reported to be dealing with similar symptoms after attending the festival. The 33-year-old CEO is petitioning for enhanced precaution measures at Web3 events.
UltraViolet A (UVA) lights, which were the likely cause of the eye and skin injury, are a wavelength of UV rays that account for 95% of the UV radiation that touches the surface. Research by the World Health Organization has in the past warned against exposure to UV light rays, which are a potential cause of eye problems.
The applications of these UVA lights cut across sub-tanning beds and lights with closer wavelengths provide special effect lighting in nightclubs or during events. Meanwhile, BAYC is yet to disclose the exact details of the UVA lights used during the ApeFest. Yuga Labs via its BAYC club X handle advised those with symptoms to seek professional medical assistance.
The NFTs collection maker also asked everyone affected to send them a message to the Bored Ape X handle. However, commentators on X have shared their dissatisfaction claiming the account’s DM box was off.
Asif Kamal Spearheads the Petition: Showcasing his Dedication to Ensuring Safety at Web3 Events
Kamal’s plea comes in the wake of his harrowing personal experience during the Yuga Labs’ organized Ape Fest.
This incident and Yuga Labs’ attempt to downplay the situation has galvanized Kamal into action, emphasizing the critical need for event companies and organizers to prioritize the health and well-being of attendees.
While citing the World Health Organization’s warning on the harmful effects of UV radiation on the skin and eyes, Kamal highlighted the alarming disregard for these facts within the event industry. As such, it exposes attendees to significant health risks.
The Safety at Web3 Events petition is accessible for signatures globally and seeks to establish comprehensive guidelines encompassing safe lighting practices and strict limits on UV ray usage during events. By signing the petition, supporters endorse a collective effort to create safer environments at public events.
By signing this petition, supporters would be championing safety practices in public events, “Please sign this petition today; let’s ensure no one else has to suffer as I did.” emphasized Kamal in the petition statement.
Kamal who is running Artfi, a company that recently hit a $100 million valuation told his X followers that he had a big responsibility to hold Yuga Labs accountable and help seek justice for every affected attendee. According to him, future event managers will pay more attention to safety at Web3 events.
The Petition and its Supporters for Safety at Web3 Events
Another BAYC NFT holder who happened to be in attendance and also suffered the same symptoms responded to Asif Kamal on X “It’s still hard to look at computer screens or be outside without sunglasses
Adrian Zdunczyk, with a massive following of more than a million, is another victim of the unfortunate incident at the Hong Kong Web3 event. Adrian says he spent at least 30 hours grappling with severe eyeburn the morning after the event.
The day trader narrated how he visited an emergency hospital and an eye clinic, where he received 6-hours of medical attention. Adrian said the medical service cost him $380.
Yuga Labs’ Reaction and Stance on the Safety at Web3 Events
Yuga Labs issued an official statement on Sunday, November 5, outlining its concerns about those who suffered health issues during the Web3 event.
The NFT maker said it engaged in a collaborative effort with Jack Morton Worldwide, the global brand experience agency responsible for producing ApeFest 2023, to conduct a comprehensive investigation.
The examination involved a meticulous review of inventory records, spec sheets and material logs, including those related to paint and lighting. Additionally, the team conducted interviews with contractors involved in providing and building ApeFest installations, and on-site inspections.
The investigation concluded on November 8, determined that UV-A emitting lights installed in one corner of the event were likely the cause of the reported eye and skin issues experienced by attendees.
Yuga Labs acknowledged the similar conclusions drawn by members of the community and the general public and expressed appreciation for the patience exhibited as it had gathered sufficient evidence to support this determination.
Not everyone was satisfied with Yuga Labs’ statement, as some questioned its negligence and the extent to which they put human lives at stake. “Just so you know, I’m part of that community, and all I want is for them to take responsibility and be accountable for what they did,” said Kamal.
Yuga Labs did not comment on whether they would compensate the victims of the incident. Neither did they respond to queries when commentators asked whether they would receive any form of compensation.
A similar incident took place in 2017 when partygoers attending the HyperBeat Event complained of severe burning sensation in the eyes and sunburns. According to the forensics of this particular incident, the event planners fitted the event’s venue with lights meant for disinfection purposes. While both the ApeFest 2023 event and the HyperBeast event occurred in Hong Kong, they did not share the same venue. However, victims of severe UV light burns in both events reported similar symptoms despite both events being unrelated.
The idea of downplaying the incident has not sat well with most X users after another Yuga Labs statement claimed only 1% of the attendees suffered injury. A section of the commentators blamed the 3rd party event organizers that Yuga Labs worked with. However, Asif Kamal has stressed that this was a matter of life and death, and since ApeFest was Yuga Lab’s IP, “all I want is for them to take responsibility”.
Learning from ApeFest: Prioritizing Safety at Web3 Events
In conclusion, ensuring safety in events is a multifaceted and ongoing process that spans pre-event planning, event execution, and post-event evaluation. All the steps outlined in this guide are crucial factors for creating a safe environment for both event personnel and attendees.
Pre-event planning when ensuring safety at Web3 events is important for the event management team to assess risks, encompassing crowd size, venue and weather conditions. Event organizers must liaise with local authorities to equip personnel with the necessary skills for responding to emergency situations. Training could also give the staff a solid foundation for ensuring high-quality safety standards. We’ve also seen the pre-event phase takes into account all the necessary equipment that the staff will need to uphold quality safety measures.
During the event, crisis management techniques play a crucial role especially when the team is handling an unforeseen risk. This could be someone with unruly behaviour or those in attendance who were more than had been estimated.
In the post-phase, the event’s team initiates a debriefing session where they gauge feedback and identify areas they will improve. The events team also documents and reports all safety considerations that were in place, what world and what should not be done. Here at DroomDroom, we hope that organizers and all associated stakeholders will put more emphasis on public safety at Web3 events.