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Boys & Girls Club risk management news

Vol. 1, 2017

Boys & Girls Club risk management news

Vol. 1, 2017

Congratulations 2016 Safety 1st Award Winners

A total of 6 Boys & Girls Clubs of America received the prestigious Safety 1st designation this year.

Markel safety first 2016 deca

Each year, Markel’s Safety 1st program recognizes policyholders who have shown an exceptional commitment to the safety of their employees and customers. Many of our camps have received the designation for multiple, consecutive years, and we offer them special congratulations!

Read the official Markel Specialty Announcement. And, if you are a 2016 winning Boys and Girls Club and would like the file for the Safety 1st logo, please contact Mary Chris Luck

The Markel Safety 1st award recipients for 2016 are:

2-5 years

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater High Point
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Springs

First year

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Henderson County
  • Southwood Children’s Academy

Boys & Girls Clubs risk management opportunities for 2017

Based on a study of 2016 claims reported by B&G Clubs to Markel, this newsletter will identify some opportunity areas to consider as safety initiatives for 2017. The most frequent events involving liability insurance engagement included falls; slip, trip and falls; injuries during field games; and allegations of abuse.

  1. Falls
    Claims reported involved falls from playground equipment, such as swings and monkey bars, in addition to falls resulting from game activities.

    The potential impact of a fall from an elevation can be reduced by installing appropriate protective groundcover for outdoor playground environments; and utilization of protective matting for all indoor activities that may requiring a child to leave their feet.

    A general guideline: surfaces around playground equipment should have a depth of 12 inches of appropriate loose-fill material or a unitary surfacing meeting the ASTM 1292 - Standard Specification for Impact Attenuation of Surfacing Materials within the Use Zone of Playground Equipment. Appropriate loose-fill materials include engineered wood fiber, pea gravel, sand, shredded/recycled rubber mulch, wood mulch and chips. Unitary materials include poured in place surfacing or matting positioned around the equipment.

    The use zone encompasses the surface under and around a piece of equipment onto which a child falling from or exiting from the equipment would be expected to land.  These areas are also designated for unrestricted circulation around the equipment.  Protective surfacing must extend at least 6 ft. in all directions from play equipment. For swings, be sure surfacing extends in the back and front, and twice the height of the suspending bar. You can get additional information regarding outdoor playground safety through Markel’s risk management library.

  2. Slip, trip and fall
    Slip and fall related occurrences involved slippery surfaces such as ice, snow, and wet floor surfaces. Trip and fall related events often involve children tripping over their feet while playing games and periodically due to parking lot defects such as poor lighting.

    Strategies clubs can use to reduce trips, slips, and falls include
    • Inspect indoor and outdoor walkways frequently, removing tripping hazards and spills immediately. Also inspect playgrounds and activity fields for potential hazards. If a hazard is identified, cordon off the area until the potential hazard is resolved. If you need to use an extension cord, tape it to the floor and remove it when you are done.  Wet floor sign
    • Implement wet, icy and snowy weather action plans. This can include posting caution signs advising visitors of potential slippery conditions. To keep this advisory effective, remove warning signs when the conditions improve. Be prepared to start snow removal as soon as possible and be on the lookout for “black ice”. This typically occurs when water from melting snow refreezing or as rain freezes when it lands on surfaces. It can be extremely difficult to see on asphalt surfaces especially when the sun goes down.
    • Place absorbent mats at water fountains and water tables. Secure area rugs, especially those at entranceway doors. Replace rugs that do not lay flat or show signs of deterioration.
    • Use non-skid wax on floor surfaces and document your club’s cleaning procedures. Maintain these records indefinitely should you need to retrieve them due to litigation, or a future claim.
    • Inspect your building and grounds. Ensure gutter downspouts empty away from walking paths, sidewalks are free of defects, and stairs are equipped with sturdy handrails.

  3. Athletic sporting and field game events
    Because each club provides youth sports, accidents often result from both indoor and outdoor activities ranging from football, baseball, basketball, volleyball, dodgeball, and various other sports.  Incidents range from collisions on the field or court to being hit by objects.

    Whenever clubs engage in sports and other related fitness activities, it is important to educate participants on proper rules of play and that comprehensive supervision is provided throughout the activity. Post rules outlining behavioral expectations in the gym and discuss rules associated with any outdoor activity before allowing kids to engage in a game. Other recommendations for sports and fitness related activities include:
    • Properly plan the activitychildren on soccer field
    • Provide proper instruction
    • Provide a safe physical environment
    • Provide adequate and proper equipment
    • Match athletes by ability, age, and size
    • Evaluate athletes for injury or incapacity
    • Supervise the activity closely
    • Warn of inherent risks
    • Provide appropriate emergency assistance


  4. Abuse – sexual and physical
    While the nature of these losses precludes the opportunity to share specifics on what occurred, it is imperative that your staff understands what conduct is appropriate and what is inappropriate.

    According to The Season of Hope – A Risk management Guide for Youth-Serving Nonprofits – staff training and supervision are important risk control measures for child maltreatment. Minimum training for staff members working with children should include:
    • How to recognize the signs of child abuse
    • How to recognize suspicious or inappropriate behavior
    • How to respond when there are reasonable grounds to believe or suspect that child in the program is at risk of maltreatment
    • The child development characteristics for children being served by the organization

    Staff training should also include the policies Boys & Girls Clubs have relating to the care and supervision of the children. Always keep parents and guardians well informed. Outline acceptable behaviors and your discipline policy. Maintain appropriate supervision ratios and directly supervise children by sight and hearing at all times. Never leave a younger child with an older child and avoid situations that allow one-on-one interactions such as child-to-child and adult-to-child, regardless of that adult’s responsibility at your club.

  5. Horseplay (improper and negligent supervision)
    Horseplay comes in many forms but is often the result of improper and negligent supervision.  Reported claims often involves playful activities that go wrong, such as throwing objects at each other, and pushing and lifting each other.
  • Provide alert and watchful supervision of all club members helps support a culture that can reduce horseplay.
  • Frequently communicate club rules to all members, staff and volunteers.
  • Post club rules so they are visible in multiple locations
  • Reinforce the importance of providing proper supervision with staff and volunteers during staff meetings and volunteer orientations. Child kicking a ball on a playground.jpg

Ref: Patterson, John and Oliver, Barbara.  The Season of Hope: A Risk Management Guide for Youth-Serving Nonprofits. Washington, D.C.: Nonprofit Risk Management Center.  2002.

More than just insurance!

Markel partners offer value added services which are discounted to our customers

    • Intellicorp -criminal background checks at a  60% discount
    • CampDoc.com – Web-based health management for camps
    • Praesidium child abuse risk management services at 20% discount

Visit the Safety 1st education and resources section of campinsurance.com to learn more.


Markel presents practical and effective safety training webinars

Free safety training webinars for 2017 - Register now
While this webinars are target for our summer camps and programs, they are very applicable to all child development professionals.

Photo of Dr. Deborah Gilboa

Dr. Deborah Gilboa - March 24
Bullying is normal, what matters is what we do next.

Photo of Bob DitterBob Ditter - April 18
Supervision and staff oversight -- The key to safety at camp.
Photo of Michael Swain, Sernior Loss Control Specialist at MarkelMichael Swain, ARM, SCLA, Sr. Loss Control Specialist - May 2
Preparing for risks of summer camp.


The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as all encompassing, or suitable for all situations, conditions, and environments. Please contact us or your attorney if you have any questions.