Duty of Care – Coaches

As the responsible person supervising and controlling a BMX coaching session, the Coach is expected to discharge a duty of care to all associated or interacting with the coaching session or activity.

A Coach needs to ask the following questions when undertaking any activity associated with the coaching session.

Do I owe a duty of care to the participant and if so, is the risk of any injury reasonably foreseeable?

A duty of care depends on establishing some relationship between the parties. If an injury occurs, the courts will ask whether the relationship between the parties was such that the defendant should have foreseen that his or her negligent act would lead to the damage suffered by the participant.

Although the question needs to be answered for each situation, it would be reasonable for the coach to assume that they do owe a duty of care to their riders who are participating in a coaching session they are holding.

What is the standard of care that must be achieved?

The test for the required standard of care is how a reasonably prudent person would have acted in the same situation. The law has developed this reasonable person test but what is reasonable will depend on the particular circumstances existing at the time. For example the standard may vary depending upon:

  • The type of activity – Generally, the more hazardous or risky the activity is deemed to be, the greater the duty of care that is owed to the participant
  • The age of the participant – Generally, the younger the participant, the greater the duty of care that is owed.
  • The Coaches level of training and experience – The more highly trained and experienced a person is the greater standard of care that is expected. For example, a higher standard of care would be expected from a Level 1 Coach than from a BEG Coach.
  • What steps can I take to avoid the foreseeable risk of harm or injury?

Coaches should take all reasonable steps to prevent injury or accidents. To help establish the ‘reasonable steps’ a Coach should work within the Club’s risk Management Plan for the coaching program or activities conducted.