Most of us know that the Health and Safety Executive is the governing body when it comes to health and safety in the workplace and public areas, and although you are running an amateur sports club and are not a corporate or industrial workplace, your sports club may need to follow various health and safety directives as well. Of course, whilst everyone has fun at sports events and activities organised by your sports club, there needs to be a level of health and safety so you can enjoy the activities without worrying about any untoward risks or dangers. But what do you really have to know about health and safety regulations as an amateur sports club? Let’s find out.
For employers or self-employed individuals/volunteer organisations which have employees running a sports club:
If your amateur sports club falls under this category, your club has to follow the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974. Under this law, you are obliged to do what is reasonably practicable to ensure the safety of your employees and other individuals. You are seen as an employer, so you are compelled to follow the general tasks and duties employers have for their employees in regards to health and safety. As an employer, you are also required to protect those at your ‘place of work’ or other people involved with your organisation, such as volunteering coaches, members, spectators, and visiting teams.
For volunteers who are running a sports club:
If you are a volunteer who runs a sports club, the law on health and safety doesn’t generally fall on your shoulders since you don’t technically have employees. But if you are responsible for premises such as a playing field or a clubhouse, then you will have to follow health and safety directives regarding this.
For instance, any volunteer or individual who has control of the premises like the playing field or clubhouse will have to make sure that the premises are safe; not only this, they should also make sure that access to the premises is safe and any equipment within the premises is safe as well. More often than not, this duty is shared between the owner of the premises, the users, and your club’s management officers or committee. But your legal responsibility will also depend on the amount of control you have over the equipment and premises. For instance, if you manage the premises or own them, you are expected to keep them in good condition and repair. If you use sports equipment, you are expected to check its safety for the sake of athletes and spectators.
It is important to note that the laws on health and safety will not cover matters that arise out of the activity or sport itself, such as a broken wrist or ankle. For this, a duty of care covered by common law may be applied.
Of course, it’s in your best interest to ensure your members’ and spectators’ safety at all times; this is just common sense and will improve your club’s reputation amongst the people in your community. But to make your tasks much more convenient, manageable, and efficient, you can always take advantage of special membership software such as that from http://www.coacha.co.uk, which is geared towards the better overall management of sports clubs around the UK and beyond.
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