NBCYC has Health and Safety responsibilities under both the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and under Civil Law.
Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), "The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSW Act) is criminal law aimed at protecting employees and others who may be affected by work activities. It is enforced mainly by HSE and local authorities. Health and safety legislation does not, in general, impose duties upon someone who is not an employer, self-employed or an employee.
HSE and local authority health and safety officers have no power to investigate incidents or pursue enforcement action in relation to most purely voluntary activities (subject to limited exceptions such as where a volunteer is in control of non-domestic premises)."
In other words, NBCYC's duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act arises as a result of our responsibility for the premises.
Again, according to the HSE, "Under the common law, voluntary organisations and individual volunteers have a duty of care to each other and others who may be affected by their activities. Where something goes wrong, individuals may, in some cases, sue for damages using the civil law if they are injured as a result of another person’s negligence.
But, for a negligence claim to succeed, the injured person must show that the defendant had a duty to take reasonable care towards them, and they have suffered the injury through a breach of that duty. The injured person must also show that the type of loss or injury for which damages are being claimed was a foreseeable result of the breach of the duty.
Liability in individual cases is a matter for the courts, depending on all the circumstances of the case and the actions and standards it is reasonable to expect from each of the parties involved. If the court decides that a particular claim does not have merit, then it will reject it. It can also reduce any damages awarded to reflect the extent of any contributory negligence on the part of the injured person."
Health and Safety Practice at NBCYC
Since most of the members of NBCYC, including those on council, only visit the club infrequently the majority of the aspects of Health and Safety practice are embedded in group activities that we carry out along with a few regular tests and inspections that are carried out by the Land and Buildings Officer. Risk assessments are carried out and recorded where appropriate. The following important points should be remembered:
1. Members and the club are both responsible for the safety of the activities they carry out and the equipment they provide.
2. Members finding problems with club facilities should report it promptly to the Commodore or the Land and Buildings officer. If the member is capable then they could rectify the problem or make it safe, and if not the Commodore or Land and Buildings officer could offer advice on how to make it safe.
3. Members should take care when using other members equipment as the club only inspects and tests club systems and equipment. For example there are a number of steps and small ladders stored by the boat blocks. These belong to members and are not checked by the club. All equipment belonging to the club is marked as such.
4. Members are reminded that the electricity supply to the hook-up boxes is restricted to 6 Amps and therefore these are to be used for charging batteries and small hand tools only.
Routine Inspections and Tests Carried Out at NBCYC on Club Premises, Buildings and Equipment
The following tests and inspections are carried out and records made:
1. RCD's on hook-up boxes and in buildings - approximately once every 3 months
2. PAT testing of club owned portable appliances - at planned intervals depending on the type of equipment and its use.
3. Visual inspection of club premises, fixtures and equipment is regularly undertaken generally on a monthly basis and is covered in the council meeting minutes under the Land and Buildings report. General maintenance is undertaken by the membership twice a year, usually in April and October.
4. The safety of the trees around the club site is continually assessed and also professional opinion is sought, usually on an annual basis.
NO ELECTRICAL REPAIRS ON CLUB EQUIPMENT SHOULD BE ATTEMPTED BY MEMBERS. ONLY QUALIFIED COMPETENT PERSONS ARE PERMITTED TO TOUCH THE CLUB'S ELECTRICAL SYSTEM AND EVEN THEN, THE APPROVAL OF THE LAND AND BUILDINGS OFFICER IS NECESSARY