One of the cornerstone pieces of health and safety legislation is The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
Under this legislation any commercial operation is required to:
- Make "suitable and sufficient” assessments of the risks to the health and safety of any employees whilst they are at work
- Identify any significant hazards and control measures in place and document these where 5 or more people are employed
- Assess the risks to the health and safety of persons not in their employment arising out of, or in connection with, the conduct by the business in the operation of their undertaking
- All businesses have a legal duty to protect the health and safety of employees and anyone else who could be affected by their work
Each risk assessment should contain the location, activities being undertaken and be relevant to the activities of that site. The assessment of risk is often a straightforward and simple process but:
- Adequate steps must be taken to identify and assess potential areas of risk within the workplace
- Actions must be taken to control identified risks
- Failure to undertake a risk assessment is breach of statutory duty and means a business has no defence against prosecution and civil action in the event of an accident
Further information on the Risk Assessment process can be found here - http://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/faq.htm
A risk assessment is a careful examination of anything in your work environment that could cause injury or ill health. It is important that the risk assessment process includes the following key steps when the exercise is carried out:
- Identify the hazards
- Decide who might be harmed and how
- Evaluate the risks and decide whether the existing precautions are adequate or whether further control measures are required
- Record your findings and share them with staff
- Review your assessment and revise it if necessary to ensure controls are appropriate for the risks
- Carry out necessary reasonably practicable control measures as necessary
In simple terms, if you perceive there may be a foreseeable risk to you or anyone else during your working activities a risk assessment must be completed. The concept of a risk assessment is NOT to stop activities but is an effort to make them as safe as is reasonably practicable.
To carry out risk assessments effectively a golf club must:
- Have a sufficient level of competence to identify hazards, evaluate the associated risks and find ways to either eliminate or control them
- Knowledge of the working activities and practices
- Consider all reasonably foreseeable circumstances including those in which normal controls may have been overridden or disabled e.g. employees overriding safety features for easy access, guards removed to carry out repairs or maintenance, etc.
- Consider situations where there could be an immediate risk of danger e.g. if a fire breaks out or safety critical equipment fails
- Prepare measures to ensure healthy and safe conditions are maintained until people reach safety or the danger is averted
- Act upon the findings, eliminate risks where possible or reduce them to as low a level as is reasonably practicable. A business should base risk control measures on general principles of prevention
- Ensure that the business takes into consideration any groups that are particularly vulnerable to injury or ill health e.g. those already disabled in some way, young people or new/expectant mothers
- Do not forget those who may come indirectly into contact with the business e.g. cleaners, delivery drivers, trespassers or members of the public. The business owes any such persons a duty of care
- Be aware that certain types of risk assessment may need a specialist assessment carried out by a person competent to do so e.g. asbestos, legionella, fire and noise
Questions to Consider
- Have documented risk assessments been carried out for all activities linked to the golf club?
- Have they been completed by persons with sufficient competence?
- Do they all follow the same structure and process?
- Have reasonably practicable control measures been implemented when necessary?
- Have these risk assessments or their findings been communicated to employees and third parties?
- Have the completed risk assessments been reviewed on a timely basis?
The above guidance provides an introduction on the main requirements needed to adequately manage this health and safety topic. If you require further guidance, risk assessments or template documentation on this subject please consult your relevant full guidance health and safety website (BIGGA, England Golf, Scottish Golf, Wales Golf). If you do not hold the log in details for this website, for your club, please speak to your golf club management team to identify who the account administrator is and request the details.