Creating and Reviewing Your Risk-Management Plan

Score 1 Point for Each Correct Answer

  • You have a Risk-Management Plan.
  • Employees know there is a Risk-Management Plan.
  • The Employees know the Risk-Management Plan.
  • Employees know their position & responsibility in the Risk-Management Plan.
  • Employees know the responsibilities of the person above and below them in the Risk-Management Plan.
  • The Employees carry their responsibilities in the Risk-Management Plan with them.
  • The Employees carry with them all information they need to communicate if there is a problem to the necessary people in the Risk-Management Plan.
  • The Risk-Management Plan has been updated in the past 12 months.
  • The Employees have been trained in the Risk-Management Plan in the past 12 months.
  • A mock disaster has been held using the Risk-Management Plan.
  • You have identified a team to deal with the human issues of an incident after the incident is under control.
  • Senior Managers have gone through the same training and drills as the employees.
  • You have not had to use the Risk-Management Plan

Grading your plan!

0-1 Point:    Lock the doors and go home now.

2-5 Points:    Prepare to lose a lawsuit

6-9 Points    Good, but you can do better

10-12 Points    Not bad

13 Points    Excellent

Your score is important; however, it may not be the biggest issue you face you’re your risk-management plan. The biggest problem facing outdoor recreation and adventure travel businesses is not the issue of having a plan. It is creating a plan that is workable, able to be used by employees and one that will NOT haunt you later. A Risk-Management Plan must:

  • Works
  • be understood
  • Not come back to haunt you

Your front line employees will not know or remember a complicated risk management plan. They need to either be able to reference or respond with very few steps. Your front-line employees are also going to be the face of your risk-management plan because they will be the ones to discover the problem and start to implement the plan.

Risk Management plans developed and understood by management are job security, not litigation prevention programs.

A risk-management plan is not a management-level plan. It is a plan for the people who will be using it. Those employees making the phone calls, dealing with the problems and helping the victims are the people who must know and be able to execute the plan.

The next major issue I find with risk management plans is the plan is written to cover every possible scenario.

The biggest failure of a risk-management plan is they are too complicated and consequently, only the person who wrote the plan can follow it. Your plan must work for your employees; Not your risk manager, your lawyer or your insurance and never just for your industry.

Write your plan to be used, not to be a way to use your imagination about what could possibly go wrong.

You cannot write a plan that covers every scenario. If you could it would occupy one entire wall of your office in three Ring Binders. Once written, the plan would be in a constant state of revision, by an entire team of people.

And even then you plan would not cover everything. So why waste the time, energy and money in trying to write a plan that covers everything. Inevitably, it is not going to cover the problem that you are having. It just seems to work that way.

You need a plan that:

  • Can be remembered and executed by all your employees.
  • Each employee’s part of the plan can be easily carried with them for reference.
  • The employee has access to and the information necessary to communicate the need for the plan and their responsibilities under the plan.
  • The plain works for every incident possible.


  • Your plan for the front-line employees should fit on a 3X5 card on one side’
  • The other side of the plan has phone numbers of the people that employee is supposed to contact to activate the plan (or radio channels).
  • The only person who may have more of a plan than on a 3X5 card is going to be the person at the top to work on follow up
  • Basically an employee’s plan is going to be stop the bleeding, stabilize, call 911, and call the supervisor.
  • Your plan must be something that can be executed without referring to anything within 30 seconds.

Your risk-management plan must be written by your company, which means every person in the company, understood by every person and executable by everyone. Anything more is just going to be ignored when EMS, USFS or any other responding agency comes on the scene.

Risk Management Plans only work if the people executing the Plan Know How to Work.

Quit writing and re-writing your plan and start training your employees on what to do if something does not go as planned.

Risk Management is education, not paperwork!

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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By Recreation Law    James H. Moss

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