Risk management merely consists of anticipating, recognizing and eliminating problems, says John Copeland, director of the National Center for Agricultural Law Research and Information.

The most effective risk management is compliance with the law, he adds. However, to avoid even inadvertent violations of employees’ rights, you should develop a risk-management plan.

Key elements of such a plan include:

1. Implement nondiscriminatory hiring practices. Along with the standards of race, sex, religion, this should address the handicapped and other related issues. 

2. Carefully screen potential employees, including checking their references.

3. Properly train employees, including the use of equipment.

4. Provide regular 15-minute work breaks to reduce fatigue and possibility of injury.

5. Establish safety regulations that are made known to employees and enforced by management.

6. Formulate policies that respect employee privacy.

7. Establish and enforce policies that prohibit on-the-job discriminatory conduct, including sexual discrimination and harassment.

8. Establish job descriptions and share them with employees.

9. Regularly conduct and use job performance appraisals.

10. Properly document reasons for terminating someone’s employment.