Innovative ideas for documentation and signatures
By now your sports organization has hopefully adopted a child abuse/molestation, concussion/brain injury, or other general risk management awareness program. So how do you document delivery of these policies, procedures and training to your staff and their agreement to comply?
Such documentation could be essential in the event of a lawsuit when you must produce the evidence. For negligence-based lawsuits, your organization has a duty of general supervision, which requires the existence and delivery of these risk management programs. In addition, the federal Safe Sport Act requires proof of adoption/implementation of written policies and procedures and staff/minor training on how to prevent and report suspicions of child abuse.
Video Training vs Document Training
Many organizations prefer video training with an accompanying test at the end of the video. The test proves absorption of the material by the staff member. A printable certificate of completion, which can be kept on file by the sports organization, is also typically included. However, many sports organizations consider video training to be very slow moving and, in many cases, is no more than a talking head reading a written document. And the technology for the video training or hiring a vendor to deliver it can be quite costly. And if revisions are necessary, the entire video needs to be produced all over again. As a result, many organizations prefer to train by the delivery of a risk management document which is less expensive and provides for greater flexibility.
Electronic Signature as Part of Online Staff Registration
But how do you prove the risk management document was delivered to the staff member and he/she reviewed it and agreed to comply with its terms? There are many high-tech and low-tech ways to do this. One high-tech way is to have an online registration platform whereby staff can receive links to the training documents and must click on an “I agree” electronic signature that they reviewed the risk management documents and will comply with their terms. In this case, be sure to specifically name the documents. Your webmaster will assist with this set up.
DocuSign and Alternatives
But not all sports organizations have access to an online registration platform of this type. Another alternative would to be use an e signature software such as DocuSign, PandaDoc, HelloSign, SignNow, etc. These platforms allow your sports organization to deliver these documents and to keep an electronic signature on file. But this can also be cumbersome for sports organizations that are not tech savvy and where staff members are not all using email.
Agreement On Paper Registration Form
If you don’t use electronic registration or an e-signature platform like those listed above, you could add a section to your paper staff registration form entitled Risk Management Compliance. This section should include a statement that reads “By my signature below, I agree that I have reviewed the following risk management documents that were distributed to me via email and/or posted on our website: (Insert names of risk management plans) and I will comply with their terms.”
Old-school Gang Signature Document
Another lower tech way to document training is to simply post the risk management plans on the sports association website and create a gang signature document. At the top is should state that the below signed staff members have reviewed the following risk management plans (insert names of plans) and agree to comply. The gang signature document is distributed, signed and dated at a meeting where all of the staff members are in attendance.
Document Retention of 16 Years
Regardless of the method of proving delivery of the training and staff member agreement to comply, evidence of such should be kept on file in a cloud-based system for at least 16 years in many cases. This is because in many states a 4-year-old child may wait until age 20 to file a lawsuit, which is a span of 16 years. See our article How to Easily Organize Sports Risk Management Documents in the Cloud.
Please take advantage of our fantastic sports risk management library. It includes important forms, documents, articles, videos, and risk management program templates on how to reduce the risk of injuries as well as your insurance premiums. And remember, the best risk management program is of little value if you can’t document that you delivered it.