Your Department and Risk Management
One of the most important issues facing Research Universities today is the litigious society in which we live. More and more people refuse to takeresponsibility for their own actions and instead attempt to place the blame onothers. Due to this change in societal attitudes, quite frequently the resources of the University are being called upon to pay liability claims. Liability claims occur when there is a possibility that another entity will bring the University to court to sue for actual or alleged negligence acts which result in bodily injury or property damage.
There is a risk of loss in all activity. Ultimately, this risk translates into additional cost either in the form of liability cost (insurance or deductible) or the handling of risk by other means (safety costs). It is a fact that the more we as an institution can limit the exposure to risk, the lower our costs will be. It is extremely important that we do everything possible to reduce risk. Dollars not spent on risk are available to accomplish the University’s goals of education, research, and community service.
Types of Risk
There are two kinds of risk which employees needs to be concerned about. They are:
- The risk due to the type of activity. This risk is the responsibility of the employee. Some activities are especially risky. We measure risk by both the size of the potential loss and the frequency of the loss. Examples of activities which we view as extremely risky include:
- Activities involving alcohol.
- Activities which have a potential fire or explosion risk.
- Activities involving travel.
- Athletic activities
- The risk due to contract terms. Departments frequently encounter this risk when they hire a contractor or become a contractor themselves. The contract terms determine who will be responsible for paying a loss. If we have favorable contract terms the risk to Cornell is reduced. The University’s position has always been to accept those risks that are ours while requiring others to accept those risks that are theirs. Obviously, the assumption of additional risk also means the assumption of additional cost. This additional cost may mean fewer resources are available for the University’s missions.
What are the risks associated with your activities? If you are not sure, you may want browse through the Special Event Guidelines.