Why Risk Management?
Within any rugby club, a good risk management culture is always supported by a good risk management system. The risk management section of this website is designed to provide a simple step by step guide on how to practically implement some basic strategies to provide your club members with a safe environment in which to participate in the sport of rugby.
Most of this information will not be new to many clubs but is highlighted as a guide to ensure that the basic practices are being considered by clubs at all levels.
Successful implementation of a quality risk management system does not necessarily cost any money. It is however dependent on active participation from all parts of your rugby club. Following the guide will be the first step towards your club and its members taking a proactive role in effectively managing the risks that are present and that may occur.
What is Risk Management?
Risk Management is a process that a rugby club would normally carry out on a regular basis.
It can be broken down into 3 simple steps:
- Identifying the risk (what can go wrong)
- Analysing the risk (how dangerous and/or likely are these risks)
- Treating the risk (what should our club do about them)
Your club should implement a system to ensure risk management procedures are followed.
An example of risk management in action is as follows:
Closely inspecting the playing surface and surrounds to look for potholes, pools of water, rocks, bottles, syringes etc. Anything that could increase the chance of injury to players or supporters.
If something is found that may cause a problem, it needs to be assessed how serious is the problem. A syringe or broken bottle can obviously cause a major problem. A very small pothole near the boundary on the far side of the ground may be viewed as a minor issue.
Doing something about the problem is crucial. Removing rocks, bottles etc is an obvious one. If major problems can't be addressed immediately, consideration needs to be given of whether to play / train when people are at an increased risk of injury. Such a decision could result in the club being considered negligent (not acting responsibly).
This strategy and process relates to off-field activities as well. Handling money, recruiting committee members, dealing with children without adult supervision, dealing with the broken steps from the change room, serving alcohol etc all form part of the overall duties and responsibilities of a club. Thinking about what could go wrong and what actions the club should take is crucial to the successful operation of the club.
The more the club can do to minimise risk the better - whether to prevent injuries or to lessen the chance that something could go wrong. Sometimes the responsible body to fix something will be another group (e.g. the local council), but this shouldn't stop the rugby club from trying to stop people from being injured due to the risk. If the club cannot fix the issue, in this example, the club should at least work closely with the council to have the matter resolved and try to stop people from being injured as a result of the issue.
Risk Management should be treated on the same level as rugby operations, finance, fundraising, bar and kitchen operations etc. In order to achieve this, your club should first commit to the process of appointing a club representative who is responsible for risk management. The position should be viewed in the same way as your treasurer, secretary, bar manager etc and the representative should be responsible to the club committee.
Appointing a Risk Management Representative
This is an important task which should be undertaken by the club committee.
It is up to all committee members to choose a suitable person who will be responsible for all risk management activities. The club can appoint a person to focus solely on Risk Management or be carried out by a committee member as an added task to their existing portfolio.
The Risk Management Club Representative should be:
- A person who frequents the club on a regular basis
- A responsible and respected member of the club
- Committed to the club achieving a professional attitude both on and off the field
Responsibilities of the Risk Management Club Representative include:
- Being the focal point for Risk Management
- To monitor risk management activities
- Review selected checklists, decide who completes them and when
- To ensure risk management activities are completed using checklists and planners and that they are being appropriately filed
- Follow up risk management activities calendar
- Ensure action taken for any defects
The Risk Management Club Representative may, and should where appropriate, call upon others in the club to assist with risk management activities.
Checklists are an integral part of a risk management plan and Marsh strongly recommend implementing these at your club. Checklists are designed to assist clubs to provide a safe environment for their members, spectators and visitors to participate in the sport of rugby and ultimately reduce claim costs and potentially insurance premiums.
Game Day Checklists are not compulsory but by completing a Game Day Checklist it demonstrates that your club is taking responsibility for Risk Management in order to reduce any potential for injuries.
Game Day Checklist - Procedures (example)
- Club to assess conditions in accordance with checklist prior to the day's play commencing.
- Remedy any adverse issues prior to the commencement of play where possible.
- Completed Checklist to be kept on file for future reference.
- Club to make checklist available upon request should an incident or injury arise.
The Club Facility Checklist is another simple measure to check the essential things surrounding your clubrooms and copies should be kept for the season for reference if needed.
Future checklists are being developed and we would welcome your feedback. Please email Marsh with your comments