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Risk management is the process taken to reduce potential legal liability of a club or organisation. It aims to address and reduce the likelihood of potential problems before they occur. Effective risk management is proactive rather than reactive which results in creating a safer environment for all those involved in your club or organisation.

Sport and recreation activities by nature include a broad spectrum of inherent risks, some potential risks that may impact on your club or organisation could include:

  • Unsafe equipment, facilities or playing surface
  • Inappropriate or inadequate insurances
  • Lack of first aid officers or medical emergency plan
  • Participants are not required to sign release forms or a waiver
  • The club is not incorporated

A well developed risk management plan or set of procedures that is effectively implemented will assists a club or organisation through:

  • Improved safety for participants
  • Reduced injuries and accidents
  • Ensuring compliance with legal obligations
  • Better outcomes for the club or organisation
  • Increased image and reputation within community
  • More effective management of events, programs and activities
  • Greater awareness and understanding for officials and volunteers

All influential positions within your club or organisation (committee members, officials, coaches, and volunteers) should be consulted and involved in each step of the risk management process. Each member has specific knowledge and understanding of different aspects of the day-to-day running of the club or organisation which must be incorporated to ensure a comprehensive risk management plan is developed. For a checklist that will help you create a risk management plan, click here.

Your club or organisation’s officials also have a duty of care to take reasonable actions to ensure that all participants avoid injury or accident during the related sport or activity. This includes keeping up-to-date with rule changes and any other relevant amendments, particularly those involving safety. Officials have a duty of care to:

  • Protect participants
  • Ensure that the sport or activity is conducted safely
  • Enforce the rules
  • Warn participants of dangers
  • Control and supervise the competition.

For a list of risk management tips for officials, click here.

No risk management plan or procedure, regardless of the time and effort that went into it, will have any influence on improving safety unless it is implemented effectively ‘on the ground’. When developing a risk management plan you must ensure it is easy to understand, user friendly and accessible to all; this will assist in the day-to-day implementation of the plan.

For a list of useful websites which may assist you in developing a risk management plan, click here.