The basic idea behind Risk Management is to plan your project/outing/activity and identify the risks that could happen. Eg. You take a walk with your Rally and get caught in a thunderstorm, encounter an accident or lose your way.
Risk Management is analysing the likelihood of each possible problem, considering the consequences and then taking steps to minimise them. Eg. If you are caught in a thunderstorm the result is possible ruined clothing – so take an umbrella or seek shelter at first sign of thunderclouds; encounter an accident – traumatised children so carry a cell phone to call for help; lose your way – get back late to worried parents so take a cell phone, carry a map/compass and inform someone of your proposed route.
Leading a group on a trip, especially children is very demanding and requires good judgement. Here are some basic principles for you to follow, but you should also consider the strengths and weaknesses of your Leaders and members.
Note: this is not a comprehensive and complete set of instructions – instead it is a guideline of ideas that you can add to, so you can minimise potential problems.
Make sure you have a safe ratio of Leaders to children, with some Leaders being experienced in the particular activity. Confirm beforehand that the Leaders you are expecting are still able to come.
Obtain as much information as possible about the area you are going and take a map if appropriate.
List all the materials and equipment you will be needing for the activity.
List all the activities to be experienced and the personnel needed.
Organise transport – do all the adults know where to go? Do they have a map of the route? Even when you travel in convoy, circumstances may separate you (a flat tyre, a red light).
If there is any specialised activity to be undertaken (rock climbing, abseiling…), make sure you have booked qualified instructors, or if bush camping, kayaking, snow travel etc, check that there are Leaders with expertise/experience in these areas. If not, then arrange for the Leaders to have suitable instruction prior to going.
Ask for written permission from parents/guardians for members participation in any activity outside the normal Rally venue.
If you go on a hike, outdoor camp or special trip, arrange a ‘contact’ person to have all the information on where you are going, times of departure and arrival, cell phone numbers to ring if you are overdue etc.
Filling out a RAM (Risk analysis management system) or SAP (Safety action plan) form helps you to prepare for any possible dangers or problems, and minimise the possibility of them. You don’t have to go into huge detail – but it makes you aware of the ones most likely to happen. Then you can take steps to stop or at least minimise the likelihood of them.
On the following page are RAMS and SAP forms for you to photocopy and use.
Here is a sample for going on a hike.
Risks: physical injury, weather, get lost.
What causes risk: People – age. fitness, skills, health, ratios, attitudes
Equipment – clothing, shelter, transport, gear
Environment – weather, terrain, water, season
How to prevent risk: eliminate if possible
Isolate risk if you can’t eliminate it
Minimise risk is you can’t isolate it
Cancel activity if you can’t minimise risk
Eg. People – make sure all are fit enough to walk it, good ratio of Leaders, some first aid experience
Equipment – check all have good walking shoes on, a jacket, drink and food, and a Leader knows the track
Environment – monitor weather forecast, not too rugged for weakest to handle
What rules are you going to tell everyone – Leader front and back and all stay between them, come home in same car you go in, Leaders don’t let anyone go off the track….
You can download a copy of a risk management plan and print it out for use in your rally