Risk Management for Recreation Professionals: Course Outline

This course is split into two parts. Weeks 1&2: ‘Negligence Liability’; Weeks 3&4: ‘Risk Management’.

Week 1: What is Negligence and why is it such a big deal?

  • Introduction (course format; use of Webinars; guest lecturers etc.)
  • Distinguishing the Areas of Law
    • Contract law, Criminal law, Human Rights Law, Tort Law
  • Defining Negligence and legal liability in the recreation and sport setting
  • Establishing Negligence
    • duty of care, standard of care, proximate cause, damage
  • Establishing Liability for Negligence
    • personal and vicarious liability, products liability, premises/occupiers’ liability
  • Defenses against Negligence
    • contributory, negligence, assumption of risk, waivers
  • Reviewing some classic case studies
  • Identifying your ‘sweaty palm’ issues

Week 2: Standard of Care

  • The 5 Key Risk Areas
    • Supervision & Instruction
    • Training
    • Facilities & Equipment
    • Documentation
    • Emergency Response Plan
  • Reviewing some classic case studies
  • Conducting a ‘virtual’ Trial

Week 3: Risk Management Planning Process

  • Defining risk management
  • The role of insurance
  • Keeping it simple — adopting a ‘high-risk’ approach to risk management
  • What is high risk?
    • The Risk Matrix
  • Risk Assessment (the audit)
  • Developing a simple audit tool
  • Networking re. your ‘sweaty palm’ issues

Week 4: Developing a Risk Management Plan

  • Identifying a risk management project/major issue at your jobsite (a program or facility)
  • Risk management plan implementation
    • Developing and conducing an audit on your project
    • Drafting a risk management plan based on audit
    • Setting realistic goals and timelines
    • Strategies to ensuring success
  • Risk Management Committee
    • The need for a department Risk Management Committee
    • Role; composition; training
  • Risk Management Resources

This tool will serve as an invaluable, annual process for our department to ensure we’re benchmarking against national best practices in all programming, facility, and service areas that forces us to critically examine everything we do through a comprehensive risk management lens.  This is a ground-breaking moment in the field of campus recreation.

Rob Patchett

Associate Director, Programs
Colorado State University Campus Recreation

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