Monday, April 2, 2012

Youth Shooting Sports, A Risky Business (Risk Management)

Even though my primary thoughts when writing this are geared toward the shooting sports, it is virtually the same for adults leading youth in any training, activity or exercise.  Risk is the chance of loss or injury.  In managing that risk, we can either assume, reduce, avoid or transfer it.

When we assume the risk we recognize your specific duties by liability, and there are 2 types of liability, criminal (duties toward community) and civil (duties toward individuals).  Within civil there is contractual and tort  (negligence).

We have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for our program, recognizing and controlling potential hazards.  We also are responsible for conducting activities in a .  Remember that those words, reasonable and prudent manner.  That's why it is so imperative that we follow the guidelines we've been given in our training from our organization, as well as the umbrella organization who wrote the curriculum for our training, like the National Rifle Association.

When leading our activities, our specific duties are to:
  • Follow your instructors manual when teaching your discipline
  • Properly plan ahead
  • Provide adequate instruction
  • Explain the risks to youth and parents
  • Monitor for injury or incapacity
  • Provide safe equipment
  • Have a plan for emergencies
  • Keep records
  • Provide close supervision
We are also responsible for developing a Risk Management Plan, or using one that has been provided by our sponsoring organization.  A good plan will include the following points: Goals, Staffing/ Supervision, Insurance, Record Keeping System, Emergency procedures, Equipment Handling/ Inspections, Facility Inspection and perhaps more.  If you are sponsored by a government organization, more than likely they will require you to follow an Affirmative Action, providing equal access to all.

I have just touched the tip of the iceberg with risk management in this short article.  The very best source for protecting yourself and your participants will be your sponsoring organization.  Any quality organization will have all their ducks in a row on this topic.  For further information and a good sample plan for 4-H, which could be adapted to any youth organization is from the University of Nebraska 4-H Shooting Sports program, and U of N 4-H Risk Management Plan. It expands upon what I have written today.

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