KEEPING IT SAFE – GMIT CLUBS & SOCIETIES

We want you to organise events and activities safely, and to keep risks to a minimum for your safety and the safety of your members.  As a club and socs committee member you should ensure that the advice and guidance in this section is followed, and that the safety of all participants is paramount in your activities. If an accident occurs and you have not made suitable safety provisions, you may be deemed to be negligent. GMIT has a dedicated Health & Safety Officer (Doreen Geoghegan, e-mail doreen.geoghegan@gmit.ie,) who will be happy to provide you with more specific guidance and support on how to keep things safe.

  • GMITSU Clubs and Societies are committed to a safe and healthy environment for all staff, students and visitors.
  • The management of health and safety is the responsibility of everyone.
  • GMITSU Clubs and Societies aim to provide a wide range of services within a safe environment. This environment will be secured by a proactive approach to Health and Safety.
  • Health and Safety is based on a partnership approach and will not work without teamwork.

Under current legislation, as clubs/socs organisers, you have a legal responsibility to ensure, in so far as is reasonably practicable, that all activities are undertaken in a safe and healthy manner and that you do not cause injury by negligent acts and omissions.  You must be in a position to demonstrate that you have fulfilled your duty of care to the participants in your activity.  Negligent acts and omissions are not deliberate, but often the incident and/or injury are foreseeable. By identifying potential hazards and threats and putting in place reasonable controls (prevention measures), the risk of an accident or incident happening is reduced.

Risk Management

Health and safety is ultimately about managing risks.  This means identifying and assessing risks and then responding to them.  Risk management should be managed and integrated at a committee level and information should be passed on to all members in your club or soc.  The broad nature of clubs and socs activities means that risk areas are broad.  Some general risks that could apply to your club or soc and include:

  • lack of competent coaches/leaders
  • unsafe equipment and facilities
  • no emergency medical plan
  • persons with disabilities/specific needs
Mainstream Sports

These are sports that involve no major risk or where contact and exertion risks (e.g. person to person, person to ball/implement/environment) are inherent and accepted by participants. For clubs such as these simple adherence to National Parent Body Guidelines should be sufficient to address most if not all risks associated with playing the sport. In some cases specific control measures for the contact aspects of the sports may be required. For some of these sports such as GAA, rugby, martial arts, etc, refereeing and first aid provisions are particularly important.

High Risk Sports

  These are sports where there is a high risk of injury due to the nature of the sport, the environmental in which the sport is carried out or the dependence of participants on safety critical equipment. Examples include kayaking; rock climbing; hill walking; surfing; sub aqua, etc.

The risk assessment for these clubs will require more detail than for mainstream sports and simple reference to national guidelines will not be sufficient. A description of how these rules will be implemented by the club will be required along with details of how equipment will be maintained, how the safety of participants will be ensured, etc. Many of these sports involve activity in dangerous environments and again this will have to addressed.


Category 1A

Mainstream sports, where risks are inherent in the sport and accepted by all participants or which involve no special risk.

• Aerobics / Step • Basketball • Karate • Swimming
• Studio classes • Cross Country • Gymnastics • Tennis
• Athletics • Cricket • Darts • Ultimate Frisbee
• Badminton • Golf • Squash • Volleyball
• Water Polo • Yoga • Aqua Aerobics • Table Tennis
• Trampolining


Category 1B

Mainstream sports but risk of contact injury.

• Camogie • Boxing
• Gaelic Football • Kickboxing
• Handball • Rugby
• Hockey • Soccer
• Hurling • Tag Rugby
• Team Handball


Category 2

Intermediate Risk, where affairs are normally well-conducted but the safety of participants depends upon implementation of procedures and codes of national or local governing bodies. In some cases, the sports are carried out on the premises of other bodies.

• Archery
• Airsoft
• Karting
• Polo
• Horse Riding
• Skiing

  • An Assessment of risk is nothing more than a careful examination of what, in your activity could cause harm to people, so that you weigh up whether you have taken sufficient precautions or should do more to prevent potential harm
  • Virtually every National Governing Body (NGB) has guidelines on safety. The individual club/soc risk assessment takes this one step further in that it is relevant to the activities and circumstances of your club/soc within your University.

Before considering the stages of risk assessments it is important to clarify the key terms:

Hazard: Something with the potential to cause harm.

Potential Harm: Physical injury or ill health in those exposed to the hazard.

Risk Assessment: An evaluation of the likelihood that harm could arise from the hazard and the likely severity and extent of the harm.

RISK ASSESSMENT PROCEDURE

A hazard is anything that has the potential to cause harm. Sports clubs should consider factors such as:

o             the environment e.g. the weather, the location of the activity, etc

o             the hazards within the sport e.g. open water sports, SCUBA

o             hazards associated with the equipment used e.g. weapons in marshal arts, boats and trailers, etc

o             travel and equipment transport to and from venues

o             towing of vehicles – important for water borne clubs

o             Third party facilities used

Some possible risk control measure that may already be in place include:

o             Specialist training

o             Special safety equipment for the sport

o             Participant safety briefings

o             National Governing Body Guidelines e.g. rules, use of referees, good practice guidelines etc.

o             Use of qualified and insured coaches only

High – could occur quite easily

Medium – could occur sometimes

Low – unlikely, although conceivable

What more can reasonably be done do to reduce the likelihood of an accident happening? For example can you:

o             Try a less risky option or another way of doing things

o             Provide or undertake additional training

o             Purchase specialist equipment

o             Carry out ‘safety briefings’ with all members

o             Provide clear procedures for club members to follow

Record the findings in the Club Risk Assessment.

Dynamic Risk Assessment

It is not possible to control external venues and perform risk assessments in advance.  However, it is just as important to identify the risks of an external venue before beginning an activity.  Before an activity, it is crucial that a competent person makes a thorough assessment of the scene to ensure that it is suitable and safe for use. This person might be a qualified official or referee, qualified coach, or suitably experienced member of your club/soc.  If the venue, environment, equipment, weather etc is considered unsuitable then the activity should not commence until it has been made safe, or an alternative venue has been found, even if this means postponing the event. Never jeopardise the safety of your members.