It may not be the exciting part of running a club, but adhering to health and safety regulations is vital. And clubs have a legal obligation towards the health and safety of its people.
Health and Safety Policy
A club can show its commitment to protecting against the risk of harm or injury to its members by producing a simple Health and Safety Policy.
It should outline your procedures and clarify areas of responsibility as well as:
- Risk assessment procedures – identify any unsafe conditions, action to be taken and who is responsible and by when
- How the club will act in the event of an incident or accident
- Contact details for emergency services
- Who is the club’s contact should a Health & Safety concern arise
It should also contain:
- Participant and parent consent forms – we have a template available here but make sure it covers everything you need as a club and for your sport
- Participant and parent/carer consent forms for trip away
- An Incident/Accident report to record any incidents that have affected club members or visitors, on or off the premises.
Each club's policy will differ depending on:
- The sport/activity
- The club premises and whether the club owns or hires its facilities
- The number (if any) of paid employees
- Participants with special needs
To make sure the policy is put into practice, the club will need buy in from as many people in the club as possible. It's important to discuss the policy with the club committee and club members to get their input.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
Health and safety law does not generally apply to volunteers running a club with no employees, unless the club has responsibility for premises like a clubhouse or playing fields.
The HSE has some great guidance available for sports clubs:
- Guidance on running a safe sports club
- Planning for safety
- Health and Safety Checklist for Village and Community Halls
- Sports club checklist
- Sports club FAQs
The HSE also has guidance particular to certain sports which are considered more dangerous so it’s worth doing a search on their website.
Clubs that own or are responsible for premises or buildings must register with the local Fire Authority and clubs that prepare, store, supply or sell food on five or more days in any five week period must register with the local Environment Health Department.
Duty of Care
Clubs also have a duty of care (duty of care refers to a general legal duty on all individuals, sports and physical activity clubs and National Governing Bodies to avoid carelessly causing injury to people) in situations such as:
- Loaning equipment to others
- Fundraising walks, events and sponsored runs
- Hosting tournaments and competitions
- Organising day trips; selling food at events