Managing risks for children who play soccer with Ginger Sport
Like every business, Ginger Sport faces risks. In a general sense, if left unchecked or unassessed, risks have the potential to disrupt our business and consequently the achievement of our goals. Using a common-sense risk-management approach, we can identify and mitigate potential risks, and thus have an improved likelihood of achieving our business goals and ultimately keeping children who play soccer with Ginger Sport safe.
What this policy will achieve
No risk-management policy will completely eliminate risks. What our policy aims to do is to identify potential risks, and thus minimise the potential adverse effects that these risks may pose to our clients and our business should they occur. The implementation of our policy also aims to create an expected and endemic culture of safe behaviour within Ginger Sport.
Focus of this policy
This risk-management policy focuses on the child-safety practices we employ at Ginger Sport.
Why do we need a child-safety and wellbeing focus?
We recognise that every child deserves a safe environment in which they can develop both physically and emotionally. We also recognise that, whilst young children can be empowered and involved in learning how to play safely, young children are often unable to adequately assess danger and risk, or advocate for themselves. Our challenge—and therefore our ultimate responsibility—is to keep children safe. We can do this by minimising the risk of harm or injury, whilst allowing them to learn new skills, achieve appropriate levels of independence, and stay active playing soccer with Ginger Sport.
Public Liability insurance
We maintain full Public Liability insurance and this is available upon request.
Prior to commencing at a new site, a senior staff member will perform a site audit. This involves ensuring that any buildings, grounds, and equipment are safe and fit for purpose. Every time a coach visits a site to conduct a session, he or she conducts a quick visual site audit to ensure there are no obvious hazards present. All centres also have an obligation and role to play in ensuring that their buildings, grounds, and equipment are maintained in a satisfactory condition, in good repair, and free of hazards, in accordance with appropriate government and regulatory-authority standards.
Equipment safety & storage
The equipment we use in the delivery of our soccer session is child safe, and it complies with the requisite Standards Australia safety standards.
We do not store our equipment on site at any centres. All coaches bring the equipment we use to and from sessions. When not in use, all of our equipment is safely stored, away from any harmful substances.
All of the equipment used in our sessions is checked before each session by the session coach. It is checked for faults, defects, hazards, and general wear and tear. Any equipment that is considered to be nearing its use-by-date is promptly replaced or repaired as appropriate.
Regular staff training
Our coaches attend regular professional development and training in safety-related topics. Training may be formal or informal. These include, but are not limited to: child safety and wellbeing, child psychology, physical development, emotional development, incident reporting, and occupational health and safety. We also have a peer-mentoring system in place for coaches.
We involve the children in understanding why safety and wellbeing during our sessions is important, and thus empower them and reward them for demonstrating their own safe behaviour. For example, our coaches explain to the children what safe play is and what is expected of them in this regard. This is articulated in an age-appropriate way. Informal peer-to-peer mentoring and policing is an effective tool. Children are encouraged to make ‘good choices’ and report any unsafe behaviour they may witness (as are parents, caregivers, and centre staff, and we welcome any feedback).
Coaches as role models
Our coaches are acutely aware that they are role models to young children and actively model safe behaviour. This includes, for example, demonstrating courtesy to all by our actions and words, wearing hats, taking drink breaks, using equipment in a safe manner, and being mindful of the physical and emotional limits of young children and also the wide range of variation among children with regard to these limits. All of these things encourage a culture of safety and wellbeing amongst Ginger Sport staff, parents and caregivers, and the children as participants. (Smoking by coaches is strictly forbidden on premises and in work hours when children are present.)
Sun safety is modelled by all coaches through the wearing of hats, sunscreen, and sun-safe clothing; and by drinking water and conducting regular formal drink breaks appropriate to the length of the session. Informal drink breaks are also encouraged and allowed. Parents and caregivers are reminded in writing at the start of each block that children should bring sun-safe items with them to sessions, including hats, water bottles, sun-safe clothing, appropriate footwear, and sunscreen applied. Throughout the year, coaches remind children, parents, and caregivers of the need to continue to be sun safe.
The number of children enrolled in a session is limited. From a safety perspective, this has the advantage of ensuring that coaches are more able to actively supervise and monitor the safety of all participants. If a coach has only a limited number of children to deal with, then the likelihood of them learning their new skills in a safe way is also increased.
Coaches are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the safety procedures at centres they attend. Centre staff have a duty-of-care to ensure that visitors to their centre (including coaches) are made familiar with emergency and evacuation procedures of the centre.
All Ginger Sport coaches are encouraged to have a current certification in CPR and first aid, including managing anaphylaxis. All coaches carry a first-aid kit.
Infection control and illness
Centre staff and parents/caregivers have a role to play in ensuring that children with infectious and communicable conditions do not attend the centre within set guidelines and that appropriate infection-control measures are in place. Where appropriate, coaches would encourage parents and caregivers not to send ill children to sessions. In addition to the obvious concerns regarding infection control, children who are unwell may not be able to cope with the additional physical activity of a soccer session, and it may worsen their condition.
Children with medical issues
Coaches are expected to familiarise themselves with any children who may have particular medical issues that affect their participation in soccer sessions. Centre staff also have a role to play in ensuring (within appropriate privacy guidelines) that coaches are aware of any medical conditions children may have, including (but not limited to): epilepsy, diabetes, asthma, and allergies. Coaches are expected to observe any nut-free policies in place at centres (for example, in the case of snacks they may eat between sessions). An effective system we have in place is a register of information passed onto each coach. This register contains any relevant medical information about participants that will assist coaches in planning and conducting sessions.
In the event of an incident occurring during a session (e.g. accident or injury) coaches follow appropriate first-aid procedures, involve and report to centre staff as appropriate, and complete a Ginger Sport incident report form after the incident.
All Ginger Sport coaches are equipped with a Queensland-Government issued Blue Card for working with children and young people. A Blue Card is a mandatory condition of employment at Ginger Sport. We are also legislatively required by the Queensland Government to develop, implement, and maintain a child and youth risk-management strategy. As part of our Risk Management Policy, we have addressed the eight key points required in the child and youth risk-management strategy, this document can be located here. This child and youth risk-management strategy forms part of our overall Risk Management Policy.
In its most basic iteration, the overall goal of this risk-management policy is to limit the incidence—and reduce the severity—of injuries or harm to children who play soccer with Ginger Sport. We aim to achieve this goal through: a common sense approach, implementation of this policy, regular review and evaluation of this policy, and by creating a culture of safety and wellbeing amongst Ginger Sport staff, coaches, parents, caregivers, and centre staff.