What is Risk?
Risk is the chance of a certain event occurring. In the sporting arena, risk is the chance of injury, serious injury or even death. When accidents occur, people generally look to see who can be blamed. It is not a case of blame because in reality we are ALL responsible.
To combat against any accidents occurring at your next match, event or place of work we strongly recommend the following Risk Management in Sports Strategies:
- Assign a Risk Management Officer
- Prepare a checklist and sign-off sheet for your particular activity
- Sports administrators should be vigilant in reviewing the rules of the sport and improve them as required to ensure that each rule is justified and appropriate in terms of safety and convenience considerations
- Make sure all relevant insurance policies are in place
- Educate all captains and officials as to their responsibilities and duties for playing conditions
- Instigate a roster for playing area inspection before, during and after games.
Risk Management is not just the physical. The following policies are inclusive but not limited of the risk management procedures every club and association should have in place:
Blood Policy (Infectious Diseases)
The main causes of infectious diseases are bacteria, protozoa, rickettsia, virus and fungus. To this end, it is important for every club/association to have a strict policy that is clearly displayed and implemented. Implementation includes elements such as:
- Adopt a broad based ‘blood rule’
- Appoint a trained first aid officer
- Regular and routine maintenance for clean and tidy dressing rooms, regular sanitation of toilets and shower facilities and routine laundry facilities
- Promote vaccinations amongst players
- Provide relevant equipment such as latex disposable gloves, soaps and detergents, refuse disposal bins etc
- Report all open cuts and abrasions.
If the club rooms contain a bar facility then it is imperative that you know and understand the liquor license that is held. Coupled with trained staff in regards to responsible serving of alcohol, imposed limits and number of drinks to be served and a clearly posted set of guidelines, the alcohol policy should be clear to all existing and new members.
Crowd Control (Evacuation)
There must be a clear plan of the venue, adequate fire fighting equipment and emergency instructions displayed including contact numbers and emergency evacuation procedures. The plan of the area should include the following and be clearly displayed:
- Fire bores and hoses
- Hydro points
- Hose reels
- Fire extinguishers (by type)
- Spare equipment
- The first aid room.
It is also important to note that access and exits points should be unblocked at all times and a clear path should exist for Fire, Ambulance and Police access.
Food service procedures must be clearly marked out to also include a committee approved purchasing plan, a wastage program and refrigeration facilities. A Food Officer should be appointed to handle food service and also to ensure that any staff/volunteers are aware of the procedures and have been trained in food preparation and service.
It is recommended that a responsible officer be appointed to establish guidelines and procedures for the handling of any complaints. The policy for discrimination/harassment should be widely distributed and made available to all members. Seek legal representation if required.
First Aid Facilities and Kits
Refers to the emergency treatment of injury or illness including the following elements:
- Emergency treatment
- Maintenance of records
- Redressing of a minor injury
- Recognising and reporting health hazards
- Participation in safety programs
Appropriate first aid facilities and training should be determined according to the size and layout of the venue. The following should be taken into consideration:
- The nature of hazards and severity of risk within the sporting activity
- The distance an injured or ill person has to be transported to first aid
- Establish a routine for cleaning and checking equipment
- The level of first aid available and up to date training qualifications for first aiders
- Number, locations and content of first aid kits to be sufficient and well maintained
Safe Playing Environment & Protective Equipment
Inspections are the most widely used method to identify risks in the playing environment and equipment. Sport specific risks should include information on:
- Metric measurement
- Field of play
- Playing equipment; participant’s equipment; modified rules for children
- Other safety hints
Previous risk assessments have identified the following:
- Inappropriate body size or strength
- Inadequate fitness level
- Lack of adequate warm-up; lack of, or defective protective gear
- Poor footwear or sports gear; poor playing facilities
- Poor supervision and refereeing
- Recklessness of the injured party.
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