Archive for the ‘Risk Management’ Category

Insurance Policies Needed by Sports Organizations

The minimum needed for maximum benefit

Because many sports organizations are run by volunteers, they are often under-insured. Insufficient insurance coverage may be a by-product of money-saving efforts or simply a matter of not understanding the risks of exposure to the athletes, coaches, staff and volunteers, and board members

Below is a list of the most important insurance policies that may be needed by community-based sports organizations such as teams, leagues, and municipal recreation departments.
  1. Accident: Pays medical bills on behalf of injured participants such as players and staff.
  2.  General Liability: responds to lawsuits arising from bodily injury, property damage, personal/advertising injury.
  3. Directors & Officers Liability (AKA Trustees Errors & Omissions for municipal recreation departments): Responds to certain lawsuitSports orginizationss not covered by General Liability such as discrimination, wrongful suspension or termination, failure to follow your own rules or bylaws, and violation of rights of others under state, federal, or constitutional law.
  4. Property/Equipment: Covers your buildings, equipment, and contents against loss due to fire, vandalism, theft, etc.
  5. Crime: Covers employee or volunteer embezzlement of funds or theft of property; forgery or alteration of checks by outsiders, and theft of money and securities by outsiders.
  6. Workers’ Compensation: May be required by state law if three or more employees and pays benefits to injured workers for “on the job” injuries including medical bills, lost wages, disability lump sums, disfigurement lump sums, and death benefits.
  7. Business Auto: Covers liability and physical damage to owned, non owned, and hired autos.
  8. Consult with your insurance agent about other types of policies such as Liquor Liability, Cyber Liability, Media, etc.

We provide more detailed information on each of these policy types and insider tips on purchasing insurance in our article, 7 Critical Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Sports Insurance. If you have questions or want assistance in deciding which policies your organization needs, call us at (800) 622-7370.

Copyright 2002-20014, Sadler & Company, Inc.

Is a League Liable for Faulty Sports Equipment?

Concerns regarding older equipment

We received a phone call from a youth lacrosse club coach who was concerned about the use of 20-year-old helmets that haven’t been reconditioned or re-certified. He wanted to know if he could be liable in the event of a head injury to a player since it his responsibility to verify to the referee prior to the game that all equipment is in safe operating condition. He also wanted to know if his General Liability policy would cover any potential lawsuit.

 The short answer is that league administrators and coaches are responsible for the following aspects of equipment safety:
  • Long-range planning for the repair, refurbishment, and replacement of helmets. These decisions need to be made far in advance as they can take time to budget and complete.
  • Confirming helmets meet current National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) requirements, as well as the requirements of the sports governing body.
  • Helmets should be inspected for defects in post season, pre season, weekly, and prior to any game or practice.
  • Maintaining repairing, and conditioning equipment on a regular basis.
  • Reconditioning to “like new” basis of safety equipment such as helmets should be performed by a reputable reconditioning business as opposed to an on staff trainer. NOCSAE may require re-certification.
  • Replacing helmets on a periodic basis per manufacturers recommendations.
  • Record keeping for documentation purposes on all of the above.Lacrosse equipment
There is no doubt that many of the above outlined principles may have been violated and the coach is justified in his concerns about liability.
 
General Liability policies generally don’t have an exclusion for lawsuits arising from of injuries due to failure to follow proper equipment safety protocol as outlined above. Therefore, coverage is likely to exist under most policies. However, a minority of policies may have a punitive damages exclusion. Willful disregard of known safety protocol could result in punitive damages. In addition, any litigation, even if covered by General Liability insurance, results in a black eye for the program and pretrial discovery and litigation is an emotional drain on league administrators and coaches.
 
For a more detailed resource on Equipment Safety, see our Risk Management Program for Sports Organizations

Stealing from your local league

Yes, it’s really a crime

How can a youth sports league protect itself from embezzlement and theft by volunteers? These crime rates are  growing quicker than people may notice or care to see, and it’s no longer just a corporate problem. In a tough economy many people are losing their homes and vehicles, and desperate to find a means to pay for the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed.

Unfortunately, all too often their solution isn’t just an innocent rearranging of funds, but a matter of stealing from children.  Although we have stressed the importance of risk management in local leagues for years, even national organizations such as the National Alliance for Youth Sports have begun an awareness campaign about swindling of funds in their publication, Sporting Kid Magazine.

When we speak to leagues about risk management and crime insurance for league funds, here are some of the responses we often receive:

  • “It would never happen to us.”
  • “We have measures in place for that.”
  • “I’m the only one in control of the money, and I wouldn’t take it.”

Unfortunately, we can’t dictate people’s actions or decisions.  We’ve seen too many cases of individuals who went to great lengths to appropriate funds and no one, not even the treasurer, saw what was was going on until it was too late.

Don’t let it happen to your organization. Call us at (800) 622-7370 so we can help you put the safeguards you need in place today.

Identifying Theft in Organized Sports

An insider tells why you need Crime Insurance

One of our clients wrote a fantastic article on how to prevent insider theft in youth sports organizations. Unfortunately, this insight was gained from his first-hand experience and he now wishes that he had purchased crime insurance to go along with his Accident and General Liability coverages.

This article covers Corruption cartoonnew ground on the following topics:

  • Behavioral signs of those most likely to steal
  • Warning signs that theft may be occurring
  • Overall protections that should be implemented
  • Protecting against  concessions and gate receipts theft
  • Statistics on the mindset of the embezzler

To protect against the 10% who will steal no matter what, all sports organizations need Crime Insurance. We offer a $25,000 Sports Crime Insurance policy for $175 a year.

You can read the article in its entirety here.


Source: Anonymous

Fitness Trainers: How To Avoid Liability Landmines (Infographic)

Legalities, liabilities and other not-so-fun stuff

Anyone willing to start up a business and risk personal and financial loss to live their dream has to have imagination.The fitness industry has its share of entrepreneurs, as seen in the boon of independent fitness instructors and personal trainers.

The practical aspects of creating and maintaining a business are just as important as creativity, passion and energy. Liability will always be an issue for fitness trainers because they offer a personal service. Protecting yourself, your business and your assets is a significant element of a successful personal training business. The first layer of protection is determining if you could defend yourself if a client under your supervision were to become injured. The key questions listed below the infographic will help you make this determination.

[sc:InfoGraphic imagealt=”Protecting Clients” imageurl=”https://www.sadlersports.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Steps-We-Take-to-Protect-Clients.jpg” imagewidth=”420″ imageheight=”1200″ permalink=”https://www.sadlersports.com/blog/fitness-trainers-avoid-liability-landmines/” infographictitle=”Protecting Clients”]

  • Are you adequately trained and certified in the activities you supervise?
  • How did you screen the client for the activity in which he/she was involved?
  • Did the client sign an informed consent and release form?
  • Was the client given instructions appropriate for his/her age and health conditions?

Paperwork can be pesky, but it’s crucial

There are essential documents your clients must sign before receiving any services. Keeping these documents on file is important and might be be the key to any potential claim against you. Have an attorney review a draft of these documents to make sure you’re protected and looking out for the clients’ best interests. Below are four documents that should be part of  an independent personal trainer’s arsenal and signed by every client prior to any training :

  1. Waiver/release and assumption of risk.  At best, the waiver / release part of this form will allow the fitness trainer to escape liability by having the lawsuit dismissed on summary judgment. At worst, this form will help the trainer to establish an assumption of risk defense. This document should be reviewed with the client and the client be given the opportunity to ask questions about the risks and benefits of the program. The client should be over 18 years of age to sign or have a parent/guardian sign the form.
  2. Client records. Keep detailed records of all observations, program changes and instructions for each client. It’s important to include all special instructions, warnings or limitations, progress notes, and injury information including details of any aid administered.
  3. Physician consent/clearance. Clients you consider to be high or moderate risk should be required to obtain medical clearance. Risk level can be assessed by going over the client’s health and exercise history.
  4. Fitness assessment. Determining whether clients can safely participate in an exercise program without any obvious risks injury. An initial screening helps you establish the client’s fitness level and set goals for their individual program. Follow-up assessments should be repeated occasionally to monitor progress.

Risky business

Many personal trainers sell dietary supplements and offer nutritional advice to their clients. Counseling clients on supplements can be risky for trainers not specifically educated and certified in those areas. Only registered dieticians should recommend or supply nutritional supplements. Believe it or not, a personal trainer who supplies or distributes supplements can get caught up in a product liability suit.

Spotting potential risks

It’s important to let your clients know your job is to help, not push. Clients may, for whatever reason, neglect to inform trainers of a “minor” ache or pain. Let your clients know that their program can always be modified to avoid injuries, which often occur when red flags are ignored. Let clients know you’re trained to determine the difference between general soreness and actual strain.

Other helpful articles and downloadable forms are available on our risk management page.

Protecting you and your business from liability claims

Did you know that liability protection is critical for all fitness trainers? It only takes one injury-related lawsuit to financially ruin your and your fitness training business. Having the right insurance protection offers you peace of mind.

Finding the right insurance coverage doesn’t have to be complicated. Our insurance experts understand your needs and the unique risks associated with your personal training business.

If you would like to learn more about liability prevention or are ready to get a customized insurance quote, apply online now or call us 800-622-7370.

There are no obligation or commitments when you call, and your quote will be sent in just a few hours in most cases. With no application fees and the most competitive rates in the industry, you’ve got nothing to lose.

 

Source: “The Liability Involved in Running a Personal Training Business,” entrepreneur.com. 22 May, 2014.

Defibrillator Failure: Fitness Center Liability

The importance of understanding and complying with AED laws

 Maintenance of automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) and proper use are key to an effective emergency plan. A recent complaint filed in New York illustrates why health club owners must weigh the pros and cons of housing AEDS.*

The lawsuit was brought by a widow of a club member who died of cardiac arrest during a workout. Apparently, employees attempted to use both of the AEDs on the premises, only to discover a dead battery in one and none in the other, resulting in an unsuccessful revival attempt.

A laundry list of defendants and claims

Defendants in the case include the health club owner, Zee Medical, the seller of one AED, Hewlett Packard, Agilent Technologies, Philips Healthcare, and manufacturers and distributors oDefibrillatorf the second AED. The allegations include:

  • Failure to house functioning AEDs, as legally required in New York
  • Failure to properly maintain and test the AEDs
  • Failure to have in place proper equipment maintenance and testing procedures
  • Failure to properly train staff members in the use, maintenance, and testing of AEDs.

Allegations in the suit state that Zee sold the AED to the health club without a a battery and failed to provide a representative to install a battery and prepare the AED for proper use.  The complaint also alleges causes of action for product liability and breach of warranty.

Risk management is the key

It will be quite a while before this case goes to trial, and who’s to say a working AED would have saved this person’s life? The point is, failure of this type is easy to prevent, and a good AED representative can assist you in reducing risks by providing proper training on AED compliance.


*Arkansas, California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island have laws requiring AEDs in health clubs.
Source: Richard Lazar. “Lawsuit Claims Two Non-Working Health Club AEDs Led to Member’s Sudden Cardiac Death,” Readiness Systems. 03 Mar. 2014.

Food Safety in Concessions (Infographic)

Are you cooking up trouble?

Ants, bees, flies, rain, or wind can be annoying when enjoying a hot dog and soda at the ballpark. However, all of those pale in comparison to food poisoning, another outdoor food risk!

Indoor and outdoor sports organizations face liability risks from food poisoning incidents resulting from improper food handling at concession stands. These incidents should be covered by General Liability insurance. However, preventing such risks is preferable. Here are some tips for reducing the risk.

Management and purchases

• Concession stands must adhere to all local food licensing and permit laws and regulations.

• All concession workers should receive training in proper food handling by management.

• Only purchase food from reputable, good-quality sources.

• Do not purchase or serve any food past the expiration date.

• Avoid serving food prepared at home, other than baked goods.

[sc:InfoGraphic imagealt=”Food Safety” imageurl=”https://www.sadlersports.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Foodborne-Illness.jpg” imagewidth=”450″ imageheight=”1361″ permalink=”https://www.sadlersports.com/blog/cooking-trouble/” infographictitle=”Food Safety”]

Food Handlers

• All concession workers must wash hands with soap and warm water after potential contamination events. These include but are not limited to using the restroom, sneezing or coughing,  touching counters and garbage cans, dumping garbage, touching cash register and money, and touching your face, mouth or hair

• Use of gloves and hand sanitizers offer hand additional protection, but are not a substitute for frequent hand washings.

• Food handlers be symptom-free of illness (coughing, sneezing or sniffling, fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea) or open wounds when handling food.

• Food handlers must use appropriate utensils, gloves, or deli paper when handling food.

Insects and Vermin

• Store all food off the floor.

• All food should be covered and spills/drips continually wiped down to discourage insects.

• Keep trash cans covered at all times?? with tight-fitting lids.

 Refrigeration

• Foods requiring refrigeration to be held at 40° F or lower until being served.

• Keep a thermometer in your refrigerator/freezer to ensure fridge is maintained a 40°F and freezer at 0°F.

• Perishable food should not sit out of refrigerator longer than two hours.

Sanitation

• Disposable utensils and paper products should be used to reduce cleaning and contamination.

• Do not wash or reuse disposable products.

• Sanitize and wipe down all food preparation surfaces and concession equipment frequently.

• Do not overfill garbage cans, and empty them frequently.

For more detailed food handling information, you can download our food risk management report.

Protecting your organization from liability claims

Did you know that liability protection is critical for all sports and recreation organizations? It only takes one injury-related lawsuit to financially ruin your organization. Having the right sports and recreations insurance protection offers you peace of mind.

Finding the right insurance coverage doesn’t have to be difficult. We at SADLER understand the specific needs and unique risks associated with your sports or recreation organization.

If you would like to learn more about liability prevention or are ready to get a customized insurance quote, you can apply online now or call us at 800-622-7370.

There are no obligations and most quotes are sent in just a few hours. With no application fees and the most competitive rates in the industry, what have you got to lose?

 Sources:
  • Stadium Foods Present Unique Food Safety Risks: Part 1 And Part II; April 19, 2010; Richard J. Arsenault.
  • Food Safety Hints for Non-Profit Organizations and Schools; Fort Wayne-Allen County Department Of Health; Ft. Wayne, Indiana.
  • A Quick Consumer Guide to Safe Food Handling; University Of Minnesota; Feb. 4, 2009; Parts Adapted from Your Safe Food Handbook, USDA, Feb. 2008.

Hotel Safety: Teams Traveling Overnight (Infographic)

Protecting athletes and staff from sex abuse/molestation incidents

 All parents have the expectation that youth sports organizations provide a safe and fun environment for the athletes. Any organization that supervises kids has a clear mandate to incorporate policies to prevent injuries of any kind. Child abuse and molestation can take place anywhere, and any program where adults supervise children is fertile ground for predators.

Most child predators are “groomers” as opposed to “grabbers” and it’s their modus operandi to earn the  trust of the child and parents prior to any abuse taking place. They create an emotional bond with the child, which works to prevent the child from reporting incidents. Youth sports programs are prime targets for perpetrators of these crimes.

Extra precautions need taken when youth sports teams travel out of town overnight for tournaments and camps. Below are basic tips to help protect young athletes from adults who intend to do them harm, and minimize the risk of coaches and chaperones being accused of improper or criminal behavior toward the children.

[sc:InfoGraphic imagealt=”Hotel safety” imageurl=”https://www.sadlersports.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Hotel-Precautions.jpg” imagewidth=”400″ imageheight=”650″ permalink=”https://www.sadlersports.com/blog/hotel-safety/” infographictitle=”hotel safety”]

Please visit our Risk Management page for more sports tips and safety information.

Protecting your team and league from liability claims

Did you know that liability protection is critical for all teams and leagues? It only takes one injury-related lawsuit to financially ruin your organization. Having the right insurance protection offers you peace of mind.

Getting the right insurance coverage does not have to be complicated if you work with an agency like SADLER. The insurance experts at SADLER understand your needs and the unique risks associated with your sports or recreation organization.

To learn more about liability prevention or get a customized insurance quote, you can apply online right now or call us at 1-800-622-7370. There are no obligations. Most quotes are sent in just a few hours. Since there no application fees and we offer the most competitive rates in the industry, what do you have to lose?

Use of Defibrillators in Fitness Clubs (Infographic)

Looking at the legal issues

The use of automated external defibrillators (AED) in a health club can save lives, but their existence and use also carries some heavy responsibilities.  If your club maintains an AED either voluntarily or per state law requirements, you and your staff have specific mandatory legal responsibilities toward potential victims of on-site cardiac failure. Failure to comply can result in liability.

[sc:InfoGraphic imagealt=”AEDs” imageurl=”https://www.sadlersports.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/AEDs.jpg” imagewidth=”440″ imageheight=”1230″ permalink=”https://www.sadlersports.com/blog/automated-external-defibrillators-aeds-fitness-clubs/” infographictitle=”AEDs” ]

 

Mandated Legal Responsibilities

While many businesses are mandated by law to include AEDs in their emergency plan, only California, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island have laws requiring them in health clubs.

However, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association (AHA) highly encourage health clubs to maintain an AED and train their staff on  their proper use.

If your facility meets any of the following criteria, both the ACSM and the AHA recommend  AED placement and training:

More than 2,500 members

  • Classes or programs for high-risk populations
  • Access to emergency personnel or facility typically takes longer than 5 minutes

Managing the Risks

Facilities with defibrillators are required to provide staff training and certification in correct use and to keep them properly maintained, which includes regular inspection and testing. Training usually includes completion of a CPR course that meets American Red Cross or AHA standards. Any emergency plan that includes the use of AEDs requires review by a licensed medical doctor.

Negligence lawsuits can result from errors, but noncompliance with any state or federal regulations can also expose your health club to liability.

Good Samaritan laws provide some immunity from liability for emergency health service providers, but reckless or gross negligence isn’t included.

Protecting your fitness center from liability claims

Did you know that liability protection is critical for health clubs and fitness centers? It only takes one injury-related lawsuit to financially ruin your organization. Having the right insurance protection offers you peace of mind.

Finding the right insurance coverage doesn’t have to be difficult or confusing. The SADLER insurance experts  understand your needs and the unique risks associated with your fitness facility.

If you would like to learn more about liability prevention or want to get a customized insurance quote, apply online now or telephone us 800-622-7370. It’s obligation free and most quotes can be sent in a few hours. There’s no application fee and we offer the most competitive rates in the industry, so what do have to lose?

Source: “Risk Management: Is Your Club Compliant or Complacent?” IDEA Health & Fitness Association

Critical Signage in a Fitness Center

Signs aren’t just for show


Signage in a fitness center serves several roles. Warning, policy / procedure, announcement and directional signs are all important to the safety of fitness center clients and protecting your business and staff from liability claims.

Warnings

These signs serve as silent staff members, reminding clients of safety procedures and cautioning them of potential dangers. These can include warnings of wet floors in sauna/jacuzzi/pool/shower areas, improper use of equipment, and use of spotters in weight areas. Warning signs should be professionally printed and posted strategically where they can be seen clearly and at eye level, or no higher than 6’ from the ground.

Policies & Procedures

These range from general policies posted at the front desk to issues of sanitation and courtesy throughout the facility. Examples include minimum age requirements of clients, policies for use of the locker rooms and showers, and use of equipment. These signs should also be printed professionally and placed in close proximity to the relevant area(s) no higher than 4 to 6’ from the ground. Decals on mirrors and glass doors/windows are useful for attracting attention to certain policies or instructions.

AnnounIMG_0012cements

Special events and classes take place in fitness centers on a regular basis. Signs alerting clients about the dates and details can be generated in-house by hand or computer and placed randomly, making sure they don’t interfere with or distract  from any safety or policy signs.

Directions

Signs denoting exits, ADA-facilities and equipment, emergency exit plans, location of safety equipment (fire extinguishers, first aid kits, alarms, etc.) should be professionally generated and posted per building regulations.

Despite the best efforts of your staff, accidents and emergencies will occur.  Your facility should have written emergency procedures in the event an injury illness or an emergency such as fire,tornado, power outage.

  • Every staff member (including independent contractors and volunteers) should receive a copy of the emergency procedures and required to sign that they have read and understood them. These procedures should be reviewed regularly at least once a year.
  • Staff members who work on the fitness floor should have Red Cross training in first aid. At least one CPR-certified staff member should be on site at all times.
  • If there is AED equipment (defibrillator) on site, at least one staff member trained in the use of the AED should be on site at all times.


Source:
David L. Harlowe, Chapter 27: “Fitness Center Safety,” Risk Management In Sport, Third Edition, 2012.