Six Steps to Sport Clubs Risk Assessment

May 12, 2011

Eric Ascher, Sport Clubs Coordinator
Diane James, Risk Management & Aquatics Coordinator
Steven Elliott, Risk Management Aide
Department of Recreational Sports
University of Florida

Risk Management is an important component of any Sport Clubs program. Because of this fact, UF RecSports chose to begin a department-wide risk assessment project with Sport Clubs. This project began in July with information from the web and other NIRSA members. Very few models were available. In August, a Risk Management Aide joined the team and the process of creating the Risk Assessment began.

The Risk Management team developed a rough draft utilizing what information had been found and what elements should be documented. A Risk Assessment Form and a PowerPoint presentation geared specifically to the Sport Clubs was developed. Drafts were sent to the Director, Associate Director, and Sport Clubs Coordinator for feedback. Revisions were made and presentations to the clubs were scheduled.

Sport Clubs were given the choice of two days to attend a RISK ASSESSMENT seminar presented by the department’s Risk Management Coordinator and Risk Management Aide. Clubs were asked to have two officers attend together on the same day so they could spend time collaborating on issues of risk faced by their club. The same presentation was given on consecutive days. This allowed us to manage the participant turnout, offer assistance and answer questions. On the first day 14 clubs (28 officers) attended, with 24 clubs (48 officers) attending on the second day. The 45-minute presentation consisted of a summary of what the Risk Assessment would entail and defining and giving examples of various levels of risk. After that, the two club officers were asked to begin working on the actual RISK ASSESSMENT form by identifying issues of risk found in their club. They were asked to complete the RISK ASSESSMENT by collaborating with the rest of their officers and club members. They were given two weeks to do so.

The following is a summary of the process and presentation for our RISK ASSESSMENT:

What is a Risk Assessment?

  • Risk Assessments are simply a careful examination of what could cause harm to people. We do them so that you can assess whether you have taken enough precautions or need further precautions to prevent harm from occurring.
  • Members have a right to be protected from harm caused by “hazards” present in an activity. In many instances straightforward measures can control risks.

What is a Hazard?

  • Hazards are anything that may cause harm such as:
    Tripping, falling, bones breaking from trauma or impact, contact or object impact, flying balls, slipping, exposure to hazardous environments or substances, injury from contact with machinery or equipment
  • Anything that may cause harm is a hazard. We assign a “Risk Level” to these hazards and record who might be exposed to them.

What is meant by ‘Risk Level’?
‘Risk Level’ is the chance — Low, Medium or High — that somebody could be harmed by these and/or other hazards, together with an indication of how serious the harm might be.
We assign the level as follows:

  • Low: Unlikely, although conceivable
  • Medium: Could occur sometimes
  • High: Could occur quite easily.

Risk Assessment Steps
All clubs were required to follow and document the following steps:

  • Step 1: What is the hazard?
  • Step 2: Who is at risk from these hazards and what accidents may result?
  • Step 3: Is the risk low, medium or high?
  • Step 4: What is already being done about this hazard?
  • Step 5: What measures can be taken to prevent accidents and reduce the risk?
  • Step 6: Who is responsible for taking these actions and by what date will this be completed?

Risk Assessment (Why Do It?)

  • Every club has a responsibility to provide a safe environment for players, coaches, referees and spectators, not only to reduce the potential of injury but also to meet or exceed the minimum standard of care.
  • For your club to create a safe environment, you need to develop a plan. Sport safety planning and implementation isn’t hard, its common sense.
  • Sports should be safe and enjoyable. It will never be risk-free, but with good planning and doing a Risk Assessment, injuries can be prevented. It’s not hard, safety is the key.

Completing the Risk Assessment:

  • Club officers were given time at the end of the presentation to start filling out the Risk Assessment and ask questions. They were asked to collaborate with the club membership and return the Risk Assessment within two weeks.

Now what? So what did we find out?
A quick review of all the RISK ASSESSMENTS confirmed that there were some fairly common issues throughout certain clusters of clubs that could be remedied with very simple solutions. Many of the hazards had already been eliminated or addressed. The Risk Management Status Tracking Sheet was created to track the number of individuals from each club receiving training. The Risk Assessment Response Record spreadsheet tracks the response data. This data will be monitored to make sure improvements and recommendations are completed.

The PowerPoint presentation has been modified for each area in the Department and seminar dates are being scheduled. We will be performing data analysis and presenting all the findings in one package that will be part of a department-wide RISK ASSESSMENT with Intramural Sports, Fitness, Outdoor Recreation, Aquatics, Facility Operations, and General Administration.

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