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

It’s great to work with expertise who really understand the critical issues of managing our inherent risk in recreation and student programming. As a professional who is committed to providing safe programming, it’s essential to know your problem areas and how your program measures up nationally. I want to do everything possible to identify weaknesses and build concrete action plans – and this assessment tool does both!

Kathleen Hatch

Executive Director, Recreational Sports
The Ohio State University

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