This is one publication in the series Risk Management for 4-H Youth Development Work. This series is intended to prepare UF/IFAS Extension county faculty, staff, volunteers, and youth to satisfactorily complete the important task of providing best practices in risk management strategies.
Our goal is to conduct educational events and activities that coincide with the 4-H mission and mandates while protecting the safety of participants, sponsors, property, finances, and the goodwill/reputation of the 4-H name. The inherent risk of events and activities can be mitigated through planning and preparation. This risk management guide has been created to outline ways to prepare for and deal with the specific risks associated with your program.
Early planning is key to conducting successful events and activities. A helpful tool in this process is the Risk Management for 4-H Youth Development Work: Pre-Event Planning Guide and Matrix, which is found within the Risk Management for 4-H Youth Development Work Series: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_series_risk_management_for_4-h_youth_development_work. As you work through this matrix, questions may arise that are unique to a specific situation and may not be completely answered by the series. Extension faculty and staff should refer these questions to appropriate personnel. Questions that require time for research punctuate the need for early planning.
Another tool is the Risk Management Checklist which can be used as a guide when planning an activity or event.
Transportation to and from many Florida 4-H activities is not a part of the activity and is the responsibility of the participant and his/her family. Florida 4-H has no ownership or control over any privately owned vehicles. Rather, 4-H relies on the drivers' compliance to 4-H policies and procedures. Drivers transporting youth as part of any 4-H activity are required to be 18 years or older, possess a valid drivers license with a safe driving record and automobile insurance, and otherwise comply with state and local laws.
Driving personal vehicles for 4-H events is not a recommended transportation option for 4-H youth development staff and volunteers, as personal insurance will be primary. UF's auto liability policy covers officers, employees, and volunteers if using a non-owned automobile within the scope of employment. An employee or volunteer's personal insurance policy may exclude the use of a vehicle for business purposes; in that situation, the UF policy may drop down and become primary.
Fifteen-passenger vans are no longer the suggested mode of transporting youth. Driving 12- and 15-passenger vans requires special knowledge and a certification through the University of Florida. The University of Florida policy (http://www.ehs.ufl.edu/programs/hazard_ergo/vanpol/) states that all operators of UF- owned, leased, or non-owned 12- or 15-passenger vans shall possess a valid drivers license and maintain a good driving record. Departments will select and approve all operators and arrange for them to attend an approved van operators training session prior to operating a 12- or 15-passenger van (exception: operators that possess a valid Commercial Driver License, CDL, do not need to participate in the training but do need a valid DL/CDL). Vehicles will be routinely inspected through annual safety checks and operational safety checks. Please refer to the checklist. Vehicles will be removed from service if conditions are found that will impair the safe operation of the vehicle or the safety of its occupants. Seven-passenger and twelve-passenger vehicles are recommended.
The "two-deep" standard, in compliance with the Office of Youth and Conference Services (OYCS) and the UF/IFAS youth protection policy, applies during program travel. This applies to all travel (including out-of-state travel), except in circumstances where multiple vehicles are traveling to the same destination, are within sight of each other, staff have communication with one another, and staff are never alone with a single participant.
Additional information on transportation can be found at 4-H Policy and Procedure; the official 4-H Policy page should be consulted and will take precedence regarding official policy.
For vehicles rented under the UF Contract, an agreement is signed at the rental agency―this is not a contract, and individuals can sign the agreement when the vehicle is picked up. Insurance is provided as part of the contract. Additionally, UF's auto policy will cover officers, employees, and volunteers while using a hired auto within the scope of employment. This insurance functions as excess insurance above what is included in the rental contract. If traveling out-of-state, verify that insurance is included. For additional clarity or more information, please communicate with your County Extension Director and/or your District Extension Director.
For vehicles, including charter and school busses, rented from a non-UF contract, UF Purchasing can provide vendor recommendations. In this case, you may need to purchase additional insurance coverage. Insurance offered by the rental company may be considered a secondary insurance to your personal insurance, so make sure you understand the insurance terms. It may take some discussion back and forth between the vendor and the purchasing officer that will require time.
Additionally, these rentals may include a contract requiring a signature. In those cases, contact Extension Administration for assistance in contract review and official signature.
Here are some general best practices when traveling:
Have access to permission/health forms for quick reference.
It is recommended that you have GPS/directions/map, a first-aid kit, flashlight, and phone.
Avoid driving for extended periods at night, when tired, or taking medication that makes you drowsy. Plan rest stops every few hours; if driving with others, prearrange stopping places along the way.
When planning longer trips, arrange for relief drivers.
Make sure you have emergency contact phone numbers for youth and other drivers.
Never transport in flatbed or panel trucks, in the bed of a pickup, or in a camper-trailer.
If you choose to use your personal vehicle for 4-H business or hold club programs/meetings/activities in your home or on your property, you should first contact your insurance company to discuss sufficient insurance coverage. You may be risking your home, business, vehicle, or personal assets if you do not have sufficient insurance coverage in place.
University of Florida. (n.d.). 4-H Transportation Policy. February 17, 2017. Retrieved from http://florida4h.org/policies/#trans
University of Florida. (n.d.). Extension Administration. February 17, 2017. Retrieved from http://extadmin.ifas.ufl.edu/
University of Florida. (n.d.). Pre-Event Planning Guide. February 17, 2017. Retrieved from http://florida4h.org/volunteers/training/files/notebook/Risk_Management-Pre_Event_Planning%20_form.pdf
University of Florida. (n.d.). Pre-Event Planning Matrix. February 17, 2017. Retrieved from http://florida4h.org/volunteers/training/files/notebook/Risk_Management_Pre_Event_Planning_Matrix.pdf
University of Florida. (n.d.). Risk Management Checklist. February 17, 2017. Retrieved from http://florida4h.org/volunteers/training/files/notebook/Risk_Management_PreEvent_Planning.pdf
University of Florida, Department of Environmental Health & Safety. (n.d.).15 Passenger Van Policy. Accessed on February 17, 2017. Retrieved from http://www.ehs.ufl.edu/programs/hazard_ergo/vanpol/
University of Florida, Department of Procurement. (n.d.). Procurement Services. February 17, 2017. Retrieved from http://www.purchasing.ufl.edu/contracts/default.asp#vehicles
University of Florida, Department of Procurement. (n.d.). Procurement Services Rental Vehicles. February 17, 2017. Retrieved from http://purchasing.ufl.edu/contracts/rentals.asp