How to deal with waivers and responsibility

December 13, 2017 - 6 minutes read
How do you get proof that people participating in your event are adequately briefed and understand what they are about to undertake?  How to include waiver-like agreements into Loquiz?

In broadest sense, it is a safety question and it can be divided into three areas:
  • Taking steps to design safe events
  • Taking steps to inform participants about crucial aspects of the event
  • Getting proof that participants actually state that they do understand what they are about to undertake and act responsibly.

We have touched on the first and second points before. As you are responsible for the safety of the games, you should check out this support base article. Also  check out seriously the tool for mapping event risks.
Similarly, there is an article with some ideas about briefing the players.

Presuming that you have responsibly created a game that is as safe as possible and communicated it to the players in the way they can understand, the third point remains. How to get the commitment to act responsibly and proof from the players that they understand their responsibility?

Before you read on, here is the disclaimer. Legal practicies in different parts of the world are very different. You might face special process requirements from your insurance company etc. This piece is aimed at giving ideas for designing your process. So make sure you consult with people knowing local practicies before implementing any of this.

1. Separate waiver document

In this approach every participant signs a waiver document personally. This is the main practice in outdoor world, but not so much in event business.  It is a very good approach for following reasons:
a) it is signed personally, not agreed as a group
b) it is a separate document, so cannot be misunderstood as a part of the game, for example
c) you actually get a signature that is legally binding

But it has its downsides as well
a) it takes time and is hassle to manage
b) it is an awkward process
c) sometimes it is impossible (if you are not meeting people in person)

But it is probably the most waterproof way of getting the commitment from participants. To make it easier, you can provide one document per team and ask everybody to sign it. We strongly recommend to use the approach whenever possible.

2. Do not play unless you agree to the terms

It is theoretically possible to include the waiver text into the Welcome text.  When teams load the game, the info text is shown.  When starting a game, a team needs to enter the team`s name and participants` names. If you need you can modify the text strings on this screen (under the translations tab in Loquiz PRO).  So it can say “Enter a team name only if you agree with terms” or “Enter participant names of your team to agree the terms”.  So, if you do not agree, you should not play.

The approach is good because it is easy and integrated. It happens before the game has started. But it is weak as you do not get the real signature from the individual person. The Team agrees as a team and it is quite impossible to tell who exactly agreed. Somebody from the team might type in all the names.  However, it is a way of informing participants, it is more than nothing and it will work as an additional tool or if nothing else can be used.

3. The first question as a safety warning and a waiver.

You could use the first question(s) in a game to  inform additionally participants about safety and ask for the teams explicit the statement that they agree with it.

It would just mean that you force one of the safety questions open (in the  rogain make it big radius, in the scavenger mark it as a start location). The survey question has the waiver text inside and  the options would be Agree and Do not agree. Agree would of course be the correct answer. If the team explicitly says they do not agree, then after the answer a comment could state that they should stop playing and turn back to the start.

The good side about this approach is that this is the time when participants have the strongest  focus. So they will focus on the text and think it through, so it is a good tool to inform.  The weak part is again that you do not actually get a valid signature and it all happens when the game is already running. But it is not a bad idea to include some safety notices as questions into the game to keep participants alerted.

In case something does happen, the paperwork is important, but it is even more important that you have actually taken steps to design a safe event and  truly informed participants about their responsibilities.

 

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