Risk Management Policy



Indoor Sports New South Wales is mindful of the risks associated with conducting Indoor Sporting activities at club level. In an effort to assist volunteer officials to minimise these risks, Indoor Sports NSW has developed a basic risk management tool which can be implemented by centres with a view to providing a safer sporting environment.


There are many risks in the environment in which ISNSW operates. Performance can be influenced by a range of factors, a number of which are beyond ISNSW’s control. The identification and proper management of risk within the organisation is an ongoing objective and requires a commitment to effectively address issues and find the correct solutions. ISNSW’s aim is for continuous improvement in management systems and policies that provide protection for its people and assets without relying solely on risk financing or risk transfer techniques. Notwithstanding this, ISNSW maintains a comprehensive insurance program as a safety net.

The ISNSW board proposes to put policies in place which require regular reports from Member Centres.

The ISNSW Board is responsible for:

  • Identifying significant business risks facing ISNSW;
  • Maintaining oversight of risk assessment and management practices as they apply to ISNSW’s operations including events, programs, systems, health and safety, physical assets and equipment and compliance;
  • Reviewing the role and effectiveness of the internal audit function.

The risk function and policies of the ISNSW Risk Management Policy will be Australian standards compliant. Procedures are to be established to ensure immediate reporting to the ISNSW Board of any significant occurrences.

Background – duty of care

Affiliated Centres and their staff as well as officials will owe a duty of care to participants in indoor sport activities where there is a reasonably foreseeable risk of harm or injury to participants as a result of their actions. In exercising this duty of care, the law requires officials to take reasonable steps to reduce the likelihood of injury to participants as a result of those risks which are foreseeable.

This is the rationale which underpins any risk management program – in this case, the process of identifying risks involved in conducting indoor sport competitions and activities, and then adopting strategies and actions designed to reduce these risks wherever possible.


  • To reduce the incidence of injury to participants, officials and other persons associated with indoor sport competitions and activities.
  • To provide a fun, healthy and safe sporting environment for individuals to participate and enjoy indoor sport.
  • To minimise potential liability as a result of poorly managed indoor sport competitions and activities.

What is risk management?

Risk management is the process of systematically eliminating or minimising the adverse impact of all activities which may give rise to injurious or dangerous situations. This requires the development of a framework within which risk exposure can be monitored and controlled. Risk management is a tool by which persons involved in sport can seek to meet their duties and thus avoid liability.

Risks which can be covered by a risk management program include:

  • Legal risks – losses and costs arising from legal actions for breach of a common law or statutory duty of care;
  • Physical risks – injuries to participants and the public;
  • Financial risks – increased insurance premiums, costs associated with injuries for business reasons, loss of financial stability and asset value, replacement costs and earning capacity and increased external administrative costs;
  • Moral and ethical risks – loss of quality of participant experience and confidence, adverse publicity and damage to image or reputation.

Which risks need to be managed?

Importantly, the law does not require sport to provide a completely risk free environment. Indeed, by agreeing to participate in indoor sport activities, participants will be taken to have consented to those risks which form an inevitable aspect of the activity. Centres will not be required to take steps to counter risks where it would be unreasonable to expect a centre to do so in the circumstances. Centres will however be expected to adopt reasonable precautions against risks which might result in injuries or damages which are reasonably foreseeable.

The Australian Standard

The approach adopted in this Resource is based on the Australian Standard on Risk Management AS/NZS 4360:1999 and the National Risk Management Guideline developed by the Standing Committee on Sport and Recreation (SCORS) risk management working party.

This Resource has sought to simplify the steps set out in the Australian Standard, and includes the following stages:

  • Establish the Context
  • Risk Identification
  • Risk Assessment – Analyse and Evaluation
  • Risk Treatment (action plan)
  • Monitoring and Review
  • Communication

This Resource – scope and limitations

The Resource is not a “be-all-and-end-all” resource, which will make a Centre litigation proof or completely fail-safe, however if followed, it may serve as a useful defence to claims for breach of duty of care.
Risks will vary from centre to centre depending upon the circumstances and the ways in which each centre operates. It is up to the Committee and key people in a centre when using this Resource to think about other risks not identified here, and plan for their treatment accordingly. Such “other local risks” should be included in this process where indicated in the Risk Management Tables.
Who should be involved in the risk management process?
It is important that all “key” people, from the board to officials and volunteers, are involved in each step of the risk management process. Key people such as a centre owners/operators, centre coaches or centre umpires have the training and knowledge that is required when risk questions regarding particular indoor sport activities are asked. Do not try to complete the risk management process in this Resource without involving other key people in the organisation. This may result in the responses being flawed.

The Risk Management Process

1. Establish the Context (new section)

The first step in our risk management program is to establish the context in which the affiliated centres are operating in and develop a structure for risk identification and assessment. This is an important step as it ensures that risk assessment will be suitable for ISNSW and its affiliated centres as well as identifying key stakeholders who will be impacted by any risk and will be specifically aimed towards the main objectives and outcomes of ISNSW.

It is the objective of this step to ensure that all risks are acknowledged and the objectives are developed in ISNSW documents, such as:

  • Strategic and Business Plans
  • The ISNSW Constitution, By-Laws and Policies; and
  • any other relevant documents

There are three major factors that need to be clarified when establishing the context, including;

  • Strategic Context- clearly establishes the mission, objectives and goals.
  • Organisational Context- establishes strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as well as stakeholders and operating environment.
  • Risk Management Context- the establishment of the scope of risk management activities.

2. Risk Identification

The second step in our risk management program is to identify what risks exist (or may exist in the future) within indoor sport programs and competitions. It is important that people who are regularly involved in the sport are involved in identifying risk areas. Officials, coaches and even participants should be consulted. There is no substitute for actual practical experience in working out why accidents occur, or what presents a potential problem.

There are a number of things that must be considered in identifying risks:

  • The age of participants;
  • The type of activities conducted;
  • Injury history (including type of injury and cause);
  • How operational procedures are conducted, and whether there have been any previous problems.

Your task is to assess and treat (where necessary) these risks in the context of a centre and its activities.

Risk Categories:

(a) On-court
This category includes all of those risks associated with the conduct of indoor sport activities once the participants have entered the court. On-court risks will vary depending upon the nature of the activities, experience of participants and organisers and the location(s) in which they are conducted.

(b) Pre-and Post Event/Activities
This category refers to the risks involved in activities which immediately precede and follow our on-court events.

(c) Environment
The physical environment in which events are conducted will necessarily include risks to personal safety and property damage. This category is not concerned with the on-court environment, rather focuses on the centre and surrounding environments which are utilised by members, participants, and in some circumstances, the general public.

(d) Personnel
This category includes centre members, officials, participants, parents and spectators who may be involved in indoor sport activities. The centre owes a duty of care to those people who may be affected by its actions and therefore should ensure that it takes steps to manage the risks which may confront centre personnel, in addition to those risks which arise as a result of their conduct.

3. Risk Assessment and Risk Evaluation

Having identified the risks involved in indoor sport activities they need to be assessed in terms of their likelihood to occur and the seriousness of the consequences arising from their occurrence. Risk assessment is the overall process of risk analysis and risk evaluation is determining the consequences of each risk.

Each identified risk must be rated. These ratings describe:

1. the likelihood of the risk occurring (likelihood); and
2. the loss or damage impact if the risk occurred (severity);
3. the priority, or degree of urgency required to address the risk.

In order to systematically assess the risks identified in the first stage of the process, the risk rating scales set out below in Tables 1 – 3 are applied. The risk rating scales will allow rating of identified risks and then identification of risk management priorities.

3.1 Likelihood

The likelihood is related to the potential for a risk to occur over an annual evaluation cycle.

Table 1: Likelihood Scale

Likelihood scale








3.2 Severity

The severity of a risk refers to the degree of loss or damage which may result from its’ occurrence.

Table 2: Severity Scale









Having assessed each risk in terms of its likelihood and severity we are in a position to prioritise the risks to assist in the decision making of what action is warranted to manage the risks (where possible).

3.3 Risk Priority

The risk priority scale determines the nature of the risk and the action required. They are indicators to assist in the decision making of what action is warranted for the risks.

Table 3: Risk Priority Scale






















Once a risk priority has been determined the committee can consider the level of risk treatment and action required for each risk.

4. Risk Treatment (action plan)

This stage is all about identifying and testing strategies to manage the risks which have been identified and subsequently evaluated as posing a real risk to participants. Ideally officials will work together to brainstorm a variety of treatment strategies and then consider each strategy in terms of its effectiveness and implementation.

This will necessarily involve some “reality testing” of risk treatment strategies as officials determine what reasonable steps they may take to reduce the impact of the risk arising.

If a centre has assessed a risk and the risk has rated highly necessary policies, procedures and strategies to treat the risk must be considered. These will include what is needed to treat the risk, who has responsibility and what is the time frame for risk management. These elements will comprise the action plan. If a centre already has a strategy in place to address or manage an identified risk, insert details of that strategy in the space provided. If not, devise a strategy.

5. Monitor and Review

It is very important that key persons review the risk management plan at the end of the competition, activity, program or season. Monitoring and reviewing ensures that new risks are detected and managed and that action plans are implemented and progressed effectively. The risk management plan should be a fluid document which is regularly updated to take account of changes within a centre.

The keeping of records and the continued evaluation of the risk management plan in the light of such records is crucial. Risk management procedures should include the documentation of any accidents, as well as information on the effectiveness of the risk management plan. Statistics on continuing injuries or accident occurrences should be used to determine whether there are specific activities that require either increased precautions or supervision.

A risk management plan cannot remain static. Risks can change according to changes in the law, development of safe practices and techniques, and developing technology in indoor sport. Constant evaluation and updating must be done to take account of developing trends and the organisation’s own experience.

6. Communication

It is essential that all centre members and participants in centre programs and activities are aware of the risk management program and are consulted in its development, implementation and evaluation.

Membership of indoor sport centres is constantly changing and as such the centre should ensure that new members are introduced to the risk management policy and obligations as part of their induction into the centre. Similarly, entrants in competitions and activities who are not members of the centre should also be made aware of the centre’s risk management procedures and any rules with which they must comply.