Duty of care for Officials

As the responsible person supervising and controlling a BMX competition, the Official is expected to discharge a duty of care to all associated or interacting with the event.

An Official needs to ask the following questions when undertaking any activity associated with the conduct of a BMX competition:

1 – 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 Official to assume that they do owe a duty of care to competitors, other Officials, spectators and the general public what may in some way or other interact with a BMX competition.

2 – 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. Similarly, frail or aged adults may place greater demands on supervision
  • The Officials / other volunteer’s 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 trained Official than from someone who is volunteering and who may have undertaken minimal training.

3 – What steps can I take to avoid the foreseeable risk of harm or injury?

Officials should take all reasonable steps to prevent injury. To help establish the ‘reasonable steps’ the Official should help develop a risk management plan for the club and the programs or activities it conducts.