The Road Map to Successful Facility Management: Part 2

January 15, 2014

Part 2: Building and Equipment Management

Jimmy Francis
Director, Student Recreation Center
CSU, Northridge

Editors note: This article is the second of a 3-part series. Part 1: Human Resource Management, Part 2: Building and Equipment Management, Part 3: Budget Management.

Stop two on our road map to successful facility management involves maintaining the actual building itself and the equipment inside of it. If you are in the field of facility management, you likely enjoy spending most of your time working around your facility tackling the operational and mechanical issues that arise. Let’s be honest, it’s often easier to deal with the building than the people! You can’t always fix a personnel issue with a wrench or duct tape, but I know sometimes you wish you could!

Core values that are often visible in a successful facility manager include someone who is detail oriented, cautious, and responsible. Ultimately your success is going to be determined by your ability to pay attention to the details. Even the smallest details can’t be left in your rear view mirror, but rather need to be attended to as soon as possible. As a facility manager it is also your role to be cautious by nature. You are often the person most responsible for identifying, reducing, and/or eliminating liability concerns in the facility. Safety should always be on the forefront of your mind.

Lastly, as a facility manager you must always be responsible for the condition of the facility, the staff’s performance, and the users’ experiences. If you are walking by trash on the ground, ignoring scratches on the wall, not reporting maintenance issues, and not holding staff accountable, who will? You must also be ready to step up in times of need and when emergencies arise. At times you, and you alone, will be the one who is figuring out how to fix the disaster that just occurred. Read more

Six Risk Control Techniques for Sport and Recreation

January 15, 2014

The Ball Is In Your Court
By Katharine M. Nohr, J.D.

Understanding the basics of risk control techniques is a first step in establishing a risk management program for your organization. The techniques are as follows:
Avoidance means electing to eliminate an activity completely in order to avoid the risk all together. An example of this would be to decide not to have surfing as a high school or university sport due to the high risk of injury or death. However, an organization may not wish to use this risk control technique as it might conflict with its goals. Read more

Looking at Risk Management through a different Lens

January 15, 2014

Kate Dorrity
Assistant Director — Risk and Facilities Management
Purdue University, Division of Recreational Sports

Welcome back! It’s back to the beginning for all of us – the beginning of the school year and of the programs we spent the summer preparing. We’re moving from the planning (and relatively student-less) phase of our work into implementation and evaluation. It’s time to see if our planning generates tangible results.

We all evaluate our programs, right? We look at participation numbers, satisfaction levels, budget changes… the list seems endless sometimes. But it is through that evaluation that a program grows and becomes the best it can be.

It’s time to take that same approach to risk management. As you begin the implementation phase of your programming, be aware of the ways in which risk management plays a part in your organization. Step back, take out your wide-angle lens, and look at the big picture:

– Are there consistent risk management procedures and training across program areas?
– Are there opportunities for staff to bring up safety concerns and discuss possible solutions?
– Are industry trends and hot topics being considered at the department level?
– Is risk management the responsibility of individual program areas or is there an organization-wide strategy?
– How can we better serve our participants and staff to ensure their safety and security?

It’s that last question that I find most powerful. In fact, I spent all summer thinking about it. Am I fully utilizing my resources, both internally and externally? Am I adequately preparing my staff to mitigate risk? Am I doing everything that I can? Read more

“Responsible Tailgating” — an oxymoron?

January 15, 2014

Alison Epperson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Health Ed.
Murray State University

In North America, tailgate has become nearly as important as the actual event. Extensive planning, preparation, food, attire, accessories, and location are key elements in enhancing the tailgater’s experience. The very nature of tailgating is a great example of culture “a shared set of attitudes, values and beliefs held by a group of people.”
However, as the popularity of tailgating has increased (and in particular, the alcohol consumption associated with it), so have some significant risk factors which can have detrimental effects on the participants as well as the property/ ownership of the event location.

It is not to say that other sports do not participate in tailgating, but by in large, the two sports most closely associated with large-scale pre and post event drinking (and sometimes even during) is football and NASCAR racing. Football however, touts elaborate tailgating on both the collegiate and professional level.
With reports estimating products and services related to tailgating accounting for revenue generation of approximately $12 billion, it’s not likely that this trend is going to decrease anytime soon. Furthermore, tailgating is not limited to just students supporting their home team. According to Katherine Dyson’s (2008) article ‘Turn Tailgating Into Fine Art’, the demographics of tailgaters may or may not surprise you: Read more

Hypoxic Training: A Risk Analysis

January 15, 2014

Shawn P. DeRosa, J.D.
Manager of Aquatic Facilities & Safety Officer for Intercollegiate Athletics
The Pennsylvania State University

Shallow water blackout (“SWB”), also referred to as hypoxic blackout, is a term describing loss of consciousness arising from oxygen deprivation brought about by voluntary or involuntary hyperventilation.

In swimming, voluntary hyperventilation occurs when a swimmer intentionally “overbreathes,” blowing off carbon dioxide.  Involuntary hyperventilation can occur as a result of stress and physical exertion during a workout that pushes the swimmer beyond his/her maximum aerobic capacity (VO2 max).

This “silent killer” of otherwise healthy, accomplished swimmers should give pause to every coach and aquatic director around the world. Do we need to rethink how we run our practices or manage our facilities?

The dangers of breath holding are well known and well documented. The U.S. Naval Center website contains multiple examples of competent swimmers who lost their lives to shallow water blackout. Media outlets continue to highlight drownings of swimmers found unconscious, underwater following breath holding activities. In February 2013, swimmer Alex Bousky of the Peoria Notre Dame Varsity swim team suffered a non-fatal drowning. Bousky’s team is reported to have been working on how far they could swim underwater.

Industry groups including USA Swimming, the American Red Cross, the National Swimming Pool Foundation and the U.S. Navy have long cautioned against underwater breath holding activities, particularly those involving hyperventilation. Other groups, such as the YMCA of the USA and the Department of Morale, Welfare and Recreation of the U.S. Navy outright ban such extremely dangerous activities. Why? Because SWB has been proven to kill otherwise healthy swimmers.

While USA Swimming has not mandated a ban on restricted breathing training on the surface of the water, the national governing body for swimming admits that there is “no evidence that swimming without oxygen necessarily trains the anaerobic system.” USA Swimming states that there is a difference “between having swimmers hold their breath while swimming under water versus an extended breathing pattern while swimming on the surface.” The latter, is thought to improve oxygen management capacity. The former has proven to be deadly.

While USA Swimming and the American Red Cross continue to educate coaches regarding the difference between extending the breathing pattern on the surface and breath holding drills beneath the surface, some coaches continue to place athletes at risk of injury or death by doing “over/unders” or “lungbuster repeats.”

Even more dangerous is when a coach puts pressure on the athlete to swim extended distances underwater, such as by requiring an entire team to repeat an underwater drill if any one athlete surfaces to breathe. This creates a concern for athlete welfare as well as a potential area of liability, both for the coach and the employer.

Aquatic programs are advised to follow a risk management approach to addressing safety and liability concerns presented by hypoxic blackout. This entails evaluating the nature of the risk before selecting a risk aversion or risk management strategy. This also requires distinguishing between underwater drills and those conducted on the surface of the water. As both drills can lead to SWB, an evaluation must be made as to the likelihood or frequency of SWB resulting from such drills as well as the possible severity of such occurrence. Read more

Electronic Waivers Revisited

January 15, 2014

John Wolohan
Professor of Sports Law
Department of Sport Management
Syracuse University

We have all heard the warnings that waivers are not worth the paper they are printed on, and while it is true that some courts do not like waivers and will void them if possible, in must be noted that in at least 45 states a well-written waiver, signed by an adult, is the most effective tool available to sport and recreation providers and their employees against a negligence lawsuit. With the myth of the effectiveness of waivers still around, it is therefore not surprising that some sport and recreation providers are concerned about the legal impact of online or electronic waivers. For example, if a sport and recreation program requires its’ participants to go online and sign a waiver before being allowed to participate in the event, will it carry the same legal weight as off-line or traditional paper waivers?
The purpose of this article is to try and debunk the myth that online or electronic waivers carry less legal weight than other types of waivers. Read more

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