The goal of planning for the risks involved with field trips and activities (simply referred to as activities) are basically to support and protect the activity participants, the organizer, and the University allowing for a quality educational experience. The planning steps, Dream It, Dangers, and Duties will help prepare and could set an action in motion for each of these groups. For example the participant might want to bring warmer clothing based on the perils listed in the Acknowledgement of Risk and Waiver of Liability, the organizer will want to make sure they have liability coverage for the activity, and the University will want to know that it is not going to be in financial and reputational risk. A member of the general public may want to protect themselves by contractually obligating the University.
Before the activity, organizer should have:
- Have documented itinerary and description of activities
- Review and plan for inherent risks associated with activities
- Review and plan for liabilities
- Emergencies Plan
Documented itinerary and description of activities.
A detailed itinerary and description of activities will assist the organizer plan for all aspects of the activity. The organizer should provide this information to participants so they will know what is happening and what they will need to bring and plan for. The organizer will share the information with the University departments so organizer can receive approval and support.
The itinerary should include a clear and detailed statement of what the group will be doing and where they will be going. Include in the itinerary:
- Date and time the group will be leaving and date and time of return;
- Where people need to meet at the start and at the end of the trip;
- Where the destination will be. If there will be more than one destination, include the dates the group is expected to be at each location;
The description of activities should include:
- Details of what the participants are expected to observe, do, and learn while they are engaging in the activity;
- Who can attend and how many people are expected.
- Is there any prerequisites to be able to attend, such as basic knot tying for rock climbers, basic bicycle riding skills, or able to carry a certain weight;
- Required to operate any equipment;
- The level of physical activity is expected of the participants (low, medium, high); and
- A checklist of appropriate gear or items needed for the activity.
Review and plan for inherent risks associated with activities.
The University community is involved in a very diverse range of activities from going into a school with minors, being in the remote back country, use of dangerous chemicals, to performing medical procedures on patients and everything in between. Using the itinerary and description of activities, the organizer can plan and seek remedies for dangers and risks involved with the activity. This portion of risk planning is to identify all risks for all parties involved. Identification should include, if applicable to activity:
- Potential weather difficulties;
- Road and terrain hazards;
- Wildlife encounters;
- Back up locations;
- Food-borne illnesses or reactions;
- Transportation of the injured;
- Accommodations for the disabled;
- Presence or absence of participants with specialized training (i.e. CPR, First Aid);
- What if someone misses the transportation;
- What are behavioral expectations, including use of alcohol (Student Code of Conduct applies);
- What will happen if behavioral expectations aren’t respected;
- Minors involved with program
Once the risks and potential issues have been identified, the organizer will need to brainstorm what to do or plan for the risk. Remedies can include specific training for participants (safe handling of chemicals or machinery, survival in a remote location, etc.) or having individuals who have specialized training(CPR, First Aid, White Water Rescue, equipment use certification, etc.) attend the activity.
Review and plan for liabilities.
The risk involved with an activity creates liabilities for the organizer and the University. If something goes wrong, who is responsible? What can the responsible party, do to protect themselves? Some responsibility, or otherwise known as liability, can be mitigated through risk transference. Risk transfer takes place by use of an Acknowledgement of Risk and Waiver of Liability, having a contract, and/or obtaining insurance to cover damages to property or for medical situations incurred during the activity.
Acknowledgement of Risk and Waiver of Liability (Waiver)
Waiver forms are frequently used in both personal and business transactions, and such forms are useful to alert the participants to hazards in activities and put parties on notice to make arrangements to provide for themselves if losses occur. The portion of the waiver, acknowledgement of risk identifies the risks, dangers, or perils that the participant will encounter. The waiver also puts the participants on notice of what arrangements they need to provide for themselves, and determine if they want to accept the risks and participate in the activity. Businesses want to alert participants to situations where their business liability ends and participants personal liability begins.
The University’s waiver form was developed by University Counsel and should not be altered in any way except by Risk. The University Risk Management office has been charged with obtaining the activity planning documentation from organizers, review the plans for effectiveness and developing the perils section of the Waiver.
The waiver collects emergency contact and medical insurance information also. It will be helpful if participants bring their medical benefits card with them for use in case of needed medical treatment.
Liability, property, vehicle, and medical coverage are the basic coverages that need to be addressed for activities. The University has commercial general liability coverage through the State of Idaho Retained Risk Fund. The commercial general liability coverage covers the University’s operations. The University has coverage through the State of Idaho Risk Management Program for business property and University owned vehicles. University employees are covered by workers compensation coverage for injury that occurs while they are doing their jobs. University enrolled students are required to either have their own medical coverage or sign in up SHIP insurance each year and to maintain that coverage.
So where are the gaps in coverage? How about people who aren’t enrolled at the University but want to participate in the activity? What about the personal property of the participants? What about privately owned vehicles? The University requires enrollment in “Camp Insurance” for participants that aren’t University employees or enrolled students to cover medical incidents that arise out of the program activities. Consult the Risk Management Camp Insurance page for Camp Insurance details and enrollment information.
The University cannot obtain coverage for items that it doesn’t own or have a contractual obligations to cover. Participants need to understand they are responsible for their own personal property.
Personally owned vehicles are not covered by University insurance but by the insurance obtained by the legal owner of the vehicle. Personally owned vehicle coverage would be responsible for the physical damage to the vehicle, liability to the other party in the accident and the passenger riding the either vehicle.
Vehicles owned by the University or rented in the name of the University are covered by State Program but requires that drivers be qualified. The requirements for becoming a qualified driver can be found at the Risk Management Vehicle page. A University vehicle also must have an Auto Accident Report Guide in the vehicle at all times. The form includes safe driving tips and the procedures to follow if you have an accident. The guide consist of three forms, an accident report, proof of insurance and a notice to give to the other party involved in an accident.
If the activity includes services or the use of equipment or facilities of another business, chances are they will have a form for the organizer to sign. This type of form could have many different titles but essentially it is a contract. The organizer should not sign the contract. All contracts must be sent to Purchasing Services for processing as they have the authority to sign on behalf of the University. Contracts processed outside of Purchasing Services could bring personal responsibility of the signer.
Brainstorm what you need to do about the risks that were identified. Ideas for discussion and planning include but are not limited to:
- First aid kits;
- Location of nearby hospitals, clinics, or first aid stations;
- Location of a nearby emergency gathering point;
- A list of all participants and include their emergency contact information;
- Emergency contact information for your UI advisor;
- Contact information for emergency contact on Campus;
- Security issues;
- Safety issues;
- Cell phone coverage in that area;
- Use of GPS.
The organizer will need to choose a contact person that is away from the group that will be available during the time that the activity is taking place who can assist in cases of emergency. The organizer’s emergency contact would be able to make phone calls so the organizer can be attending to the emergency at hand. The emergency contact should inform the Risk Office of the emergency or if the group doesn’t arrive back on time and if applicable could call the emergency contacts of any given participant. The contact information for emergency contact on campus should be shared with the entire group. The organizer should plan who will take care of continuing program and who will take care of injured.
It is recommended that some blank Accident/Incident Reports are with the group. When it is hard to think in the aftermath of an incident, the form can guide the organizer through the information-gathering process.
Roll It All Up
The organizer can now include in one document the itinerary, the description of activities, the inherent risks associated with the activity, how each liability has been addressed and the emergency plan. The organizer can now provided to the unit a complete look at that activity.
The unit should ask the organizer to review the information with Risk, the club advisor, and if applicable, Environmental Health and Safety, to help with solidifying the plan, reviewing training needed, or obtaining risk transfer.
The complete information can be used as an educational tool for participants before the activity, shared with the campus emergency contact and retained with the group for use throughout the activity, as well as making sure the entire group and its gear is headed back to campus. The Risk Assessment Worksheet will assist you in the risk planning process. To schedule a Risk review, email firstname.lastname@example.org.