Health and safety is about the hazards that exist in your usual club environment. Are there fire exits? Are there enough toilets and hand-washing facilities? Do you have a first aid kit and people trained in its use? What will you do in the event of an accident or civil defence emergency? Do you have contact numbers for your members’ next-of-kin to ensure they can be contacted in the case of an illness or injury?
However big or small, the club should have plans in place to deal with health and safety issues. How extensive these plans are will vary, depending on the size and structure of your club. But even if the club is small and uses a local community centre for its meetings, it’s still important that these issues are considered.
The club’s legal requirements change according to whether or not you employ paid staff. But, in short, club management and members should consider the following guidelines to ensure everyone remains healthy and safe while participating in club activities.
Essentially, the club must comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 2016. The Act aims to prevent harm to all people at work and to others who are in, or in the vicinity of, workplaces. This means that employers and others (you and the club) must maintain safe working environments and implement sound health and safety practices.
If the club does not employ anyone, but depends on a group of volunteers, it is still important that reasonable steps are taken to ensure the health and safety of members, participants and volunteers. WorkSafe may audit and assess your event, you are required to provide them the information they request if this happens. But they can’t enforce those recommendations unless you have paid employees.
An important way of ensuring your club is up to scratch with the Act is to develop a health and safety policy. This is your club’s statement on how it will ensure the health and safety of anyone involved in its activities. Appoint a health and safety coordinator to develop a policy for the club and ensure this is upheld. This includes hazard management, accident reporting, safety checklists, emergency procedures and accident reporting.
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