Emerging Trends Using Stress Management Techniques by fvm13943


More Info

                                               ACTIVITY RISK MANAGEMENT

Contact Officer                           Director, Risk Management

 The risk management process is often complex and requires the exercise of good judgement.
 This guideline provides advice based on university sector best practices to assist Activity
 Coordinators and Persons in Authority in interpreting the Activity Risk Management Policy and
 following the Activity Risk Management Procedures. In addition, the Risk Management Office
 is available to provide assistance to departments with unique activity risk profiles, such as
 nursing or education placements.

 Many university activities are considered low risk because they either:

 a. entail risks that are no greater than the participants would face in their normal working
 and studying environment, such as classroom lectures, or
 b. entail risks for which established risk control measures are already in place and
 appropriately documented, such as Laboratory Safety Procedures.

 However, activities that entail risks greater or different than those encountered in the
 regular working and studying environment and for which there are insufficient risk controls in
 place to reduce the risk to a tolerable or manageable level are considered high risk. A risk
 assessment must be carried out for existing high risk and all new activities so that the
 foreseeable risks are appropriately managed. The Risk Management Plan may be used for
 this purpose.

 Step 1 – Identify Hazards

 Section 1 of the Risk Management Plan can be used to identify the components of each
 activity. You can then consider what hazards or conditions might cause each component to
 fail. There are a number of systems analysis techniques for doing so such as fault or logic
 trees (envision a critical incident and work back listing the causes and conditions that must
 be in place for the critical incident to occur). Others include simply asking “what if”
 questions and considering worse case scenarios.

 Examples of hazards include:
     research or study at industrial or medical facilities which pose health or safety risks;
     working/traveling in remote regions or regions with natural hazards such as rugged
       terrain or the potential for avalanches;

        Any activity that involves travel through or to a country or region for which a travel or
         health warning is in effect;
        Activities that involve the consumption of alcohol;
        Transportation to a site by private vehicles or a non-accredited commercial carrier;
        Working at heights, with power tools, on construction sites, in confined spaces or in
         any other circumstances regulated by the Occupational Health and Safety Act;
        Working with unstable persons or having control of large amounts of cash or other
         attractive items;
        Working with animals;
        Working with chemical, biological or nuclear substances that are capable of causing
         injury or death to persons, animals or vegetation, or environmental damage;
        Working alone;
        No established procedures for emergency response;
        No clear chain of responsibility;
        Assumption of liability without appropriate contractual indemnification (eg. Student
         placements, loans of research materials, provision of services etc)
        Large gatherings; and
        Extreme or inherently dangerous physical activities such as sky diving.

The first column of Section 2 of the Risk Management Plan can be used to list hazards.

Step 2 – Assess risk

Risk assessment requires the exercise of good judgment, based on expertise, previous
experience conducting similar activities, previous critical incidents, loss histories (including
near misses) and, where necessary, consultation with suitably qualified individuals or
organizations. The experience of other universities with similar activities and loss statistics
from our insurers, the Ministry of Labour and Statistics Canada may also be helpful. As well,
Activity Coordinators should take changes in legislation and emerging trends relevant to your
activity into consideration when estimating risk.

The following guides can be used to determine the likelihood and severity of loss relating to
each hazard:

                        1 – Very low        2% likely to happen -rare
                        2 – Low             5% likely to happen -once/10 yrs
                        3 – Medium          10% likely to happen - once/3
                        4 – High            20% likely to happen – once/yr
                        5 – Very high       50% likely to happen – several

       Severity descriptors             Possible consequences                Examples*

  1 - Insignificant                     No impact

  2 – Minor Negative outcomes              Less than $300,000 loss             University settles in dismissal
  from risks or lost opportunities         No regulatory consequence            case

  that are unlikely to have a                  Minor adverse publicity                  Lecturer has a work related
  permanent or significant effect              Minor reversible injury                   injury e.g. slips
  on the University’s reputation or
  3 – Moderate Negative outcomes               Financial loss from $300 to              Major IT project is late or
  from risks or lost opportunities              $500K in any year                         overspent
  that will have a significant impact          Limited regulatory consequence           Contractual staff injured due
  on the University but can be                 Local adverse publicity                   to University negligence
  managed without major impact in              Major reversible injury                  Loss of a major contract
  the medium term
  4 – Serious Negative outcomes                Financial loss over $500,000 in          Research team found to have
  from risks or lost opportunities              a single year                             falsified results with a major
  with a significant effect that will          Major savings program required            impact e.g. on health issues
  require major effort to manage                to break-even in the medium              Major recruitment problems
  and resolve in the medium term                term                                      due to pandemic – may have
  but do not threaten the existence            Significant regulatory                    the potential to escalate to
  of the institution in the medium              consequence                               very serious
  term                                         Negative headlines in the                University financial systems
                                                national press                            fail completely and cannot be
                                               Irreversible injury or death              recovered
  5 – Very serious Negative                    Financial loss (or loss of               Major accident due to
  outcomes from risks or lost                   potential financial surplus) over         University negligence
  opportunities which if not                    $500,000 for consecutive years           Major fire that prevents a
  resolved in the medium term will             Substantial regulatory                    substantial part of the
  threaten the existence of the                 consequence                               University delivering courses
  institution                                  Sustained negative headlines in          Collapse in student
                                                the national press                        application numbers
                                               Major negative sanction by               Sustained failure to recruit
                                                MTCU                                      staff
                                               Closure of major part of
                                               Irreversible multiple injury or

Select the descriptors that best describe the likelihood or severity of the potential loss, then
multiply the scores assigned for likelihood and severity to determine a risk score for each
hazard. Analysis of the resultant risk score will assist the person in authority with
determining the university’s risk tolerance for that hazard. For example, slips trips and falls
generally result in minor losses to the university in terms of cost and adverse publicity.
However, they happen with such frequency that the cumulative effects result in a medium
score of 10 that warrants the implementation of risk control measures to reduce the impact
on the university. Conversely, an active shooter incident resulting in the death of one or
more persons is extremely unlikely, however the impact on the university in terms of adverse
publicity could be extreme given the duty of care for our students. Therefore, despite the
low risk score, the university has a very low tolerance for this sort of loss and will implement
appropriate risk control measures.

                                            5    5    10   15   20   25


                                            4    4    8    12   16   20                 High

                                  3   3   6   9     12   15         Medium

                                  2   2   4   6     8    10         Low

                                  1   1   2   3     4    5

                                      1   2   3     4    5


Step 3 - Special considerations for off campus travel. Under normal circumstances, travel
within Canada or most destinations in the United States for conferences, visits to academic
or related institutions such as museums, local field trips of short duration, clinical
placements at accredited institutions in Canada, and domestic travel by varsity athletic
teams and athletic clubs via reputable commercial carriers are considered activities of low

Travel to countries other than the US should be evaluated to determine whether it entails
low or high risk. The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Travel (DFAIT) website
thoroughly describes the current risks for each country, and issues travel warnings that
should be followed. In particular, travel through or to a country or region where unusual
conditions such as political instability, medical conditions or a natural disaster are known to
exist prior to departure or for which a travel warning is in effect is deemed to entail high risk
and requires the associated level of advance planning and approval. If the Activity
Coordinator wishes to disregard a DFAIT travel warning, they must obtain approval from
the Person in Authority (Level 2 - high degree of caution or Level 3 - avoid non-essential
travel) or the Senior Administrative Position (Level 4 - avoid all travel) to do so. All
international activities involving undergraduate student participants are deemed to fall into
the high risk category. Section Three of the Risk Management Plan has a section on
International Travel requirements that must be completed.

Step 4 – Select Risk Control Measures

The types of risk control measures available are:

      Avoidance. Completely avoid the hazard to eliminate the risk, either by not
       conducting an activity or not conducting certain high risk aspects of a particular
       activity. Example: A sociology professor is doing research on the effects of post
       traumatic stress on Canadian military members and wishes to interview military
       members in Afghanistan. The risk of death or injury when travelling in Afghanistan
       is hig. Risk avoidance would be to conduct the interviews in Canada, when the
       military members return from their deployment.

      Risk prevention. Reduce the likelihood of the hazard resulting in a loss. Example: A
       new employee with no prior lab experience is required to use caustic chemicals in
       the lab, therefore the risk of him injuring himself is medium to high. A risk
       prevention measure would be to train the employee in the proper handling of the
       chemicals to reduce the likelihood of an injury.

      Risk reduction. Reduce the severity of any loss. Example. Employee handling
       chemicals. To reduce the severity of any injury, even after proper training, provide

       personal protective equipment such as goggles and fume hoods so if a spill does
       occur, the resulting damage is less severe.

      Duplication. Maintain backups, spares or copies in reserve, so that an operation can
       continue if the primary asset is lost. Examples range from data backup disks stored
       off site to having spare infrastructure and equipment.

      Separation. Reduce the immediate impact of a loss on an activity. An example would
       be storing essential supplies in two locations so if one is destroyed by fire, the
       activity can continue pending replenishment.

      Diversification. Conduct a variety of activities in a variety of locations so if one is
       lost, the others can continue to meet the strategic goals of the institution. An
       example would be to have a wide variety of research initiatives underway at any

      Transfer – using contracts, hold harmless agreements, informed consent forms
       (waivers) and insurance programs to transfer potential financial loss to a third party.
       An example is a student placement agreement that limits Trent’s liability when the
       student is not under our direct supervision.

Select specific risk control measures that best mitigate the risks posed by each identified
hazard and enter them in the Risk Control Measures column of the Risk Management Plan.
More than one risk control measure can be used to address a hazard. For example, a
graduate student required to travel around the boreal forest in winter faces a number of
natural hazards (extreme weather, animal predators, rough terrain). Risk prevention
methods might include ensuring the snow mobile is well maintained and has extra gas
onboard and that the grad student has appropriate navigation aids, and is armed and well
trained in the use of a firearm. Risk reduction methods may include a satellite phone, a first
aid kit, emergency supplies and survival training. Duplication methods may include carrying
cross country skis.

Keep in mind that implementation of risk controls may require additional resources, which
should be identified in your plan. The selected risk controls should be cost effective. For
example, installing a $500,000 camera system to deter annual losses from theft of under
$5000 would actually incur a greater net income loss than the risk it is designed to control.
However, if the camera system is designed to deter assaults of persons working late at night,
it may be well worth the investment.

Once you have determined appropriate risk control measures, re-assess the residual risk,
following the procedure at Step 2, to determine if the risk is now in the low, or manageable,
range. Implementation of risk control measures should reduce the likelihood and/or
potential severity of an accident, therefore lowering the residual risk score.

The Person in Authority must then determine if the residual risk exceeds the university’s risk
tolerance. For example, the university has an extremely low tolerance for preventable
student death. If , despite all the measures noted above, there is still a medium residual risk
of student death, the risk is still unmanageable and the activity should not be approved
unless the risk can be brought down to low. Requiring the students to travel in pairs may
sufficiently reduce the risk score. If the risk involves only minor damage to university
property, the university tolerance is high and a medium residual risk would be acceptable,
especially if the risk control measures are more costly than the potential losses.

Section Three of the Risk Management Plan provides checklists of some basic risk control
measures that should be in place for all activities to address persons with special needs and
emergency procedures.

Steps 5 and 6 – Obtain Approval.

Submit the Risk Management Plan to the Person in Authority. The Person in Authority may
approve the Plan as written or ask the Activity Coordinator to revise the plan in such a way
that the activity’s risks are reduced to a manageable level.

If, in the judgement of the Person in Authority, the risk level cannot be brought to
manageable levels, s/he will not approve the activity. The Person in Authority should
consider the value of the activity to the university and determine if the goals of the activity
could be met in another, less risky manner. An activity that involves risks which are
manageable for an experienced individual or small group may nevertheless entail
unmanageable risk for a large group or inexperienced participants.

However, if the Person in Authority is not sure as to the risk tolerance of the University or
feels that allocation of additional resources or changes to university practices would allow
the Activity Coordinator to manage the risk for the overall benefit of the university, that risk
may be referred via their Responsible Executive to PEG for consideration within the ERM

Step 7 – Conduct activity in accordance with Risk Management Plan and the Activity Risk
Management Policy

Ensure all volunteers and, if the activity is not for academic credit, students sign the
Informed Consent Record before commencing the activity. The extent of advance planning,
preparation and approvals required prior to conducting an activity is commensurate with the
level of risk associated with the activity and the experience of the participants. Repetition of
an activity in the same or a similar locality may require a lower level of detail in the advance
planning, but the level of detail needed in the briefing and training should take into account
the experience of the participants (e.g., by the nth running of a specific course or field trip,
the hazards are likely to be well known and the Risk Management Plan well developed;
nevertheless, the trip and its hazards are new to each successive group of student

Step 8 – Post Activity

Risk management is a dynamic process therefore Risk Management Plans must be continually
reviewed and revised in consideration of the changing risk landscape. When reviewing
feedback from participants, pay special attention to the effectiveness of the risk controls if a
critical incident occurred. Consider changes in legislation, technology and the activity
environment that may occur before the next time the activity is conducted.

Related Policies / Procedures Activity Risk Management Policy and Procedure.

Keywords             activity, risk, control, sanctioned, safety, authority, hazard,
                     critical, incident, plan
Date Approved        May 2009
Approval Authority   Director, Risk Management


To top