7th December 2021

UKA’s H&S Lead Ash Charlwood Blogs on Latest Health and Safety Developments

Ash Charlwood – UKA’s Health and Safety Lead

We are all passionate about Athletics, in whatever form that is, track, off-track, walking, jumping, throwing, strength & conditioning. Within this we manage that very grey phrase, “Health & Safety” through training, competence and risk assessment.

Health and Safety can sometimes feel very boring, but it is an essential part of ensuring that everyone involved in activities have a positive, safe and fun experience so they can achieve their goals. It is essential that we understand that personal goals, whether it is couch to 5k or an Olympic or Paralympic podium, are thought about carefully for both athlete development and safety management, which go hand in hand.

UK Athletics recognise that there are a number of clubs striving to create safe and attractive spaces for people to take part in activities all round the UK. Sometimes, volunteers will get together to “tidy up” those areas – and this is something that falls within the insurance provided by UK Athletics via the policy covering club activities.

We ask that clubs have risk assessments that cover their significant risks. It’s important to remember that tidying up might also have significant risks associated with it.

Whilst we rarely see incidents reported, it is important to recognise that even voluntary groups must follow good practice to ensure that members and the club itself are kept safe.

Sadly, recent case law fined a voluntary angling association for breaching health and safety laws following a fatality. Details of this case can be found in here.

This serves as a timely reminder when perhaps less athletics activity is taking place, but more volunteer activity is occurring that might not be a part of ‘normal’ club activities.

UKA provide a Health and Safety Helpline, supported by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. If you need any help with producing a policy or risk assessments you can call 0121 248 2235 or email athleticsafety@RoSPA.com