What is risk management?
Risk management is the process of identifying potential risks and/or harms and creating a plan to prevent the risk from happening or reducing the risk as much as possible. There are different types of risk to consider in risk management including, but not limited to physical, emotional, reputational, and financial.
Why is risk management important?
The safety of your members and participants is of utmost importance. Planning to manage the risk helps to keep all those involved with your events and/or organization safe. If people feel safe, they are more willing to come back and continue to participate with your organization. It also can help ensure everyone can participate. As a student at Michigan Tech, you are expected to follow the Student Code of Conduct as well as local, state, and federal laws.
What is the goal of risk management?
The goal of risk management is to keep everyone safe and to have fun! When you have a solid plan for your event, including risk prevention, you and your participants can have some peace of mind and enjoy the event.
How do you manage risk?
Think through your event and identify any areas of potential risk. List all risks, even if they have a low probability of happening. If you have held the activity/event before, look back at past notes to see if there is anything you might have missed. Sometimes, it is beneficial to have someone else look at your event and tell you what activities or parts of the event have them concerned. This is especially helpful if the event/activity is something you do frequently so you might overlook something that is second nature to you.
Go through each area of risk you have identified and determine why it is risky. You should also consider who it is risky for (just the participant, spectators, people walking by, etc.). How much control do you have over the risk that could occur? For example, an outdoor event could have severe weather. You cannot control the weather, but you can control having a back-up indoor space or a second date in case of weather. Some types of risk to consider are: physical, mental/emotional, reputational, financial, and facilities.
What options do you have to mitigate the risks you have identified? Can you remove the risk completely? If not, how much can you reduce the risk? Could you modify the risky activity to minimize or eliminate risk? Create a risk management plan to address all of the risks and potential risks you have come up with. You might also consider having a liability waiver for members and/or participants depending on how much risk is still involved. Liability waivers do not cover negligence, so you will need a plan to back it up. You also need to consider who is responsible for what parts of the plan and whether or not they need any training in order to successfully fulfill their role. It is also beneficial to have a plan in case something still goes wrong. For example, having a first aid kit in case of minor injuries or calling for help (9-1-1 or campus EMS for example) for more severe injuries. You also need to make sure your event is in compliance with Michigan Tech’s Student Code of Community Conduct and all of Student Leadership and Involvement’s Policies and Procedures for RSOs, as well as State, Local, and Federal Laws. There is also the option to transfer the risk. An example of this would be hiring a company to run your bubble soccer event instead of running it yourself. Once you have created your plan, make sure you review it and are willing to accept any risk that is left.
Put your plan into action. Now that everyone knows what the plan is and has received proper training (if needed), you are ready to run your event. It is important to document what is going well, what is not going well, and if there is anything you did not think of that you should in the future. Document in a way that you or your organization can look back after the event and make some assessments.
Make sure you plan to sit down with your organization, the people helping run your event, or at the minimum yourself to review how the event went shortly after the event has happened. Use the documentation you made during the event to help identify areas of improvement to make your next event even safer. If an incident happened at your event, think through if there was anything that could have been in place to prevent it from happening. Make sure you look at all the strengths and weaknesses of the event and make notes for the future.
Risk Management Plans
- Risk management plans are required for any on-campus event that involves risk as well as any University Sponsored off-campus events, such as Keweenaw Day. An event that involves risk means an event or activity that a reasonable person would consider having an element of risk. This would also include events/activities that could be less risky for advanced participants, but more risky for novice participants.
- For example, you might be proficient at skateboarding and hosting an event in a campus parking lot. Even though you do not think skateboarding is risky, people who have never skateboarded before in their life could attend and would be at risk for getting injured. You need to plan accordingly to make your event safe.
- Anytime you have an event/activity that you (or a reasonable person) feel would have any elements of risk. Just because an event is off-campus does not mean that there is less risk involved. It is encouraged that you create a risk management plan to ensure safety and success at any risky or potentially risky events.
When completing a risk management plan, student organizations are asked to include the following information:
- Organization Name
- Today’s Date
- Person Completing the Plan
- Role within the Organization
- Email Address
- Event Name
- Date of Event
- Location of Event
- Please provide a thorough description of your proposed event and what will be happening:
- Will an advisor or a faculty/staff member be present? If so, please include their name(s) and email(s).
- Does this event involve food/beverage? If so, describe in detail.
- Does this event involve physical activity of any kind? If so, describe in detail including how you will minimize risk. (Safety equipment, training, waivers, etc.)
- Describe any other risks or possible risk scenarios that participants, spectators, or organization members could experience as a result of this event.
- Describe your organization’s action plan in case of an emergency and/or a medical situation.
- What is your plan in the event of inclement weather?
Once you compile this information, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org for review. Depending on the contents of your proposed event, your organization’s officers and/or planning group may be asked to meet for more information. Your plan may also need to be reviewed by Public Safety and Police Services, Facilities Management, Dining Services, and University Risk Management.
We recommend that you submit your risk management plan as early as possible. Some plans may be reviewed and approved quickly, however others may require more departments review and approval, and this process can take longer.
For events with risk, your organization may be advised to require participants to sign liability waivers before participating. Samples of liability waivers: