Posts Tagged: Risk Manager

Feeding the Risk Gap

September 15, 2014

Feeding the Risk Gap
…. and getting buy-in from Risk Management

Mark Oldmixon
Director of Recreation, Adventure and Wellness
University of Alaska Fairbanks

Campus recreation programs struggle to find the balance between providing students with programs/sports/activities that are often perceived as ‘high-risk’ while avoiding administrative concerns for major liability. The advantage campus recreation programs have is the statistical research reflecting a generation who is exposed to risk-taking behavior at all times and are therefore going to engage in other risk taking behaviors which often lead to poor academic success. By providing the programs and opportunities for students to engage in more physical and social activities, the likelihood that they will engage in drinking, drugs, and other reckless behavior decreases.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks’ risk story has a large asterisk associated: *takes place in Fairbanks, Alaska.

  1. Residents of Alaska are naturally accepting of everyday risks and comfortable living with in environments not suitable to most in the lower 48 states.
  2. Temperatures in winter regularly dip below -30F.
  3. Children play at recess until -20F. Fairbanks’ shortest day sees a little more than 3 hours of sunlight.
  4. It is a notable day when it doesn’t snow in the winter.
  5. School is only cancelled in winter when temps climb too high and things melt.
  6. Over 5% of Fairbanks’ population doesn’t have running water, showers or toilets.

And these are just the urban risks! Risk increases significantly as soon as you leave the city boundaries and ultimately you must rely on self-rescue techniques. Read more

The Uncertainty Factor in Risk Management

November 23, 2011

Kneejerk Reactions Do More Harm Than Good

Matthew D. Griffith, M.S., RCRSP
Georgia Institute of Technology

Hearing the words “high dive” evokes strong memories and great stories from many adults. It was almost a right-of-passage at the local pool. Unfortunately, there are not many 3-meter diving boards left in North America, and today’s kids will not have that terrorizing, yet exhilarating experience of their first jump from ten feet. The removal of diving boards is indicative of a spreading and disturbing phenomenon in risk management, the unsubstantiated elimination of programs and activities resulting from kneejerk reactions and poor analysis.

To be an effective risk manager, it is necessary to have an appropriate working definition of risk. The problem is that there is no agreed upon definition of risk, in fact, a quick internet search produced at least 25 different definitions. While realizing that risk does indeed have different meanings in different applications and industries, a good general definition for use in recreational risk management is the probability of a hazard to lead to a loss. It is critical to understand that “risk” is the probability, which can be measured and quantified.

In addition to understanding the definition of risk, a thorough understanding of the difference between risk and uncertainty is important to a risk manager’s success. Uncertainty is not the same as risk, it is inherently immeasurable. With risk, the odds are known, or at the least, there is information and data that can be used to quantify it. This is the case with the lottery, although someone who buys a Mega Millions ticket may not know the odds of winning, it can be calculated using available information. With uncertainty though, the odds, by definition, cannot be known. Differentiating between risk and uncertainty underscores the many challenging decisions a risk manager must make.

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SportRisk Planning Manual

July 14, 2011


SportRisk: Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1: Introduction

CHAPTER 2: Negligence

1. Why is Negligence such a Big Deal?

  • Our Litigious Society
  • Impact of Increased Litigation on Sport/Recreation

2. Negligence

  • Tort Law
  • What is Negligence?

3. Establishing Liability for Negligence

  • Establishing Negligence
  • Duty of Care
  • Standard of Care
  • Actual Harm
  • Proximate Cause
  • Liability for Negligence
  • Personal Liability
  • Vicarious Liability
  • Products and Premises/Occupiers Liability
  • Defences against Negligence
  • Contributory Negligence
  • Voluntary Assumption of Risk
  • Waivers

4. Negligence and the Courts

  • The Legal Process
  • What to do in the Event of a Lawsuit

CHAPTER 3: The 5 Key Risk Areas

1. Supervision & Instruction

  • Qualifications & Certifications
  • Supervision Ratios
  • Lesson Plans & Progressions
  • Job Descriptions
  • Matching Participants

2. Training

  • What Training is Required?
  • Who Needs to be Trained?
  • Training Grids

3. Facilities & Equipment

  • New Facility Design Issues
  • Inspections
  • Maintenance
  • Inspection and Maintenance Checklists
  • Signage
  • Facility and Equipment Modification
  • Natural Hazards

4. Documentation

  • Risk Management Manual
  • Waivers
  • Medical Screening
  • Risk Information

5. Emergency Response Plan

  • Emergency Planning Process
  • Training
  • Rehearsals/ Drills
  • Equipment
  • Communication

CHAPTER 4: Risk Management Planning

1. Risk Management: What’s it all about?

  • What’s all the Fuss?
  • Defining Risk Management

2. The Role of Insurance

  • The Cornerstone of your Risk Management Plan

3. Keeping it Simple

  • Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

4. Focus on High Risk Areas: The Risk Matrix

  • Risk Matrix: Probability vs. Severity

5. Risk Management Planning

3 Step Process:

  • Step 1: Prioritize High Risk vs. Low Risk
    – The Risk Matrix
  • Step 2: Conduct an Audit/ Risk Assessment
    – The 5 Key Risk Areas
    – The Key issues in each Risk Area
    – The Key Audit Questions
  • Step 3: Develop Action Plans

6. Organizing for Risk Management

  • The Risk Management Committee

CHAPTER 5: Special Policy Areas

1. Transportation

  • Four Key Areas (Vehicles; Drivers; Passengers; Emergency Response)
  • Trip Administrator
  • Trip Leader

2. Sport Clubs

  • Reporting Structure
  • Coaches
  • Travel
  • Emergency Care
  • Other (Waivers; Medical Screening; Safety Officer; Alcohol/Drugs; Hazing;)
  • Sport Clubs Manual

3. Summer Camps

  • Staffing
  • Supervision & Training
  • Emergency Response
  • Documentation
  • Facilities & Equipment
  • Other (Behavioural Issues; Medications; Transportation; Insurance)
  • Summer Camps Manual

4. Disease Control

  • Bloodborne pathogens
  • Infectious Diseases

5. Alcohol & Drugs

  • Policies
  • Facility Rentals involving alcohol

6. Event Management

  • Five Key Areas
  • Event Management Checklist

7. Contracts

  • Facility Rentals
  • Personnel

In today’s litigious society, can you afford not to have this book?

To order, go to

Summer Camps: A Risk Manager’s Perspective on 3 Key Points

April 10, 2011

Joe Risser CPCU, ARM-P
Director, Risk Management
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Summer camps offer a wide range of activities, facilities and services all combined to provide educational, recreational and social opportunities for enjoyment and growth of campers, staff and parents. Doing so successfully involves a wide range of special skills and knowledge in addition to general business and risk management.

Managing risk can involve:
CONTROLLING RISK to prevent losses,
TRANSFERING RISK and losses to others
PAYING FOR LOSSES through insurance or other financing

Let’s keep these techniques in mind as we look at 3 Key Points of managing risks in the operations of summer camps:

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A Risk Manager’s Thoughts on Waivers

April 09, 2011

Joe Risser CPCU, ARM-P
Director, Risk Management
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Waivers or Release of Liability Agreements may result in a college or university developing an unwarranted sense of protection from liability. These intended legal contracts designed to (a) transfer responsibility for participation in an activity and (b) transfer responsibility for financing of a loss due to the activity may rest on enforcement by one or more courts. Details in wording, presentation, administration and even record keeping can be critical.

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Working with the Risk Manager

April 08, 2011

Joe Risser CPCU, ARM-P
Director, Risk Management
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Risk Managers are often viewed as ‘the person who says no’ in the organization since they are expected to protect the organization from liability or other losses. Traditionally however, the role of the Risk Manager is to advise and assist those responsible for the operations, programs and activities of an organization in their efforts to manage risk. Ultimately, the organization’s chief executive and managers have the responsibility and authority to protect the organization, employees, customers and the community from losses.

Risks that can result in losses include (but are not limited to): loss of a building or other facility to fire or flood; injury of an employee to the degree they cannot perform their job, short term or long term; injury to a customer and/or damage to another person’s property resulting in a claim and/or litigation. Ultimately a judgment could be rendered which may adversely affect the organization (court expenses, order to pay medical expenses, restitution, life long disability or loss of earnings), and result in significant if not severe financial loss for any organization.

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