Keeping It Safe – GMIT Clubs & Societies

 

Introduction

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.

 

Statement on Health & Safety

  • 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

 

Duty of Care

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 & High Risk Sports
As part of the Code of Practice design we have identified the risk status of all GMITSU Sports Clubs and defined the risk status using the following definitions:

 

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.

 

Club Categories

All clubs affiliated to the GMIT Sports Clubs & Societies are separated into categories according to the risks involved with the particular sport, as follows.

Category 1A – Mainstream sports, where risks are inherent in the sport and accepted by all participants or which involve no special risk.

• Aerobics / Step

• Studio classes

• Athletics

• Badminton

• Basketball

• Cross Country

• Cricket

• Golf

• Karate

• Gymnastics

• Darts

• Squash

• Swimming

• Tennis

• Ultimate Frisbee

• Volleyball

• Water Polo

• Yoga

• Aqua Aerobics

• Table Tennis

• Trampolining

 

Category 1B – Mainstream sports but risk of contact injury.

• Camogie

• Gaelic Football

• Handball • Hockey

• Hurling

• Boxing

• Kickboxing

• Rugby

• Soccer

• 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

 

Risk Assessment

  • 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

o             Step 1. Identify any hazards

o             Step 2. Identify what control measures are already in place

o             Step 3. Identify if the hazard is likely to cause harm

o             Step 4. Identify if additional risk reduction measures are practical / necessary

o             Step 5. Record the findings in writing

 

Step 1. Identify any hazards

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

 

Step 2. Identify what control measures already in place

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

 

Step 3. Identify if the hazard is likely to cause harm

High – could occur quite easily

Medium – could occur sometimes

Low – unlikely, although conceivable

 

Step 4. Identify if additional risk reduction measures are practical/necessary

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

o             Etc

 

Step 5. Record the findings in writing

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.

 

Maintaining Safe Equipment

While all club/socs equipment will remain the property of GMITSU, each club/soc is responsible for the security and maintenance of the equipment in their possession. Some clubs use equipment, the failure or malfunction of which, could lead to serious personal injury e.g. sub aqua, boat clubs, etc.   You should give consideration to the following areas in your Code of Safe Practice:

 

  • Usage of Equipment

You must provide training as necessary in the safe use of all equipment used by your club/soc.  Equipment must only be used for the purpose intended by the manufacturers.  All equipment must be subjected to a visual inspection for defects before use (in some instances a written record of this inspection may be required).

 

  • Equipment Log

Clubs/Socs should maintain an up to date equipment log.  New equipment purchased during the year should be added and any equipment considered obsolete be removed. This should also include:

 

 

  • Checking Equipment

Inform your members that equipment should be checked thoroughly before use to ensure it is in good condition and that it is suitable for use, giving guidelines as to what they should look for.

 

  • Storage

All equipment must be stored, transported and used in a safe manner.  Care guidelines for equipment should be available to those responsible for storing equipment.

 

  • Regular Maintenance of Equipment

All equipment must be maintained and serviced as per the manufacturer’s instructions and / or National Governing Body guidelines.  Only trained / competent persons may repair equipment.

Clubs/Socs should state the name of the Committee Officers with responsibility for equipment and practice preventative maintenance and regular safety checks.

 

  • Damaged Equipment Procedure

Damaged or unsafe equipment must never be used.  If a piece of equipment is damaged it should be separated from all other equipment, and marked or tagged so that it cannot be used until the appropriate repair or disposal has occurred.

 

  • Disposal of Old Equipment

If equipment is considered too old for use or unsuitable for use then it should be disposed of.

When doing this it is important to ensure that the equipment is disposed of in a way that ensures

another party cannot use it, as this may lead to an accident or incident for which the club/soc may be found negligent and responsible. The club/soc must keep a record of how and when the equipment was disposed of.

 

  • Unwanted Equipment

Items of equipment that are still suitable for use, but the club/soc no longer has a use for, cannot

be passed on to other groups for use. The club/soc that passes on the equipment will be held liable if the equipment is found to be unsuitable and an accident occurs. Equipment can only be passed on if it can be proved to still be suitable and safe to use.

 

  • Hire of Equipment

Where a club or society is hiring in equipment for use on campus where there is a high potential risk of an injury/accident, the club/society officers must first obtain permission from the Buildings and estates Office. A copy of the vendors insurance certificate must be sent to the Buildings Office.

 

Organising Trips

Here are our top tips for planning a trip to make sure it is a safe and successful well planned trip for all your members!

 

Clubs/Socs must ensure that they have appropriate risk assessment in place for: –

  1. a) Any activity that is off campus, and involves an overnight stay.
  2. b) An activity which is not the mainstay of the Club/Socs practice e.g. Paintballing,
  3. c) A tour or overseas trip

 

Trip details may change due to alterations in the weather, or simply by someone failing to turn up.

You should amend the details accordingly.

 

Top Tips for Planning a Trip

There are a number of areas that clubs and socs should consider when planning a trip, we have identified some common areas that should be considered, however this is by no means a definitive list and you should ensure that all safety issues relevant to the activity are addressed.

 

 

Trip Leaders It is essential that any person organising a tour, trip or activity within a tour/ trip have the necessary knowledge, experience and qualifications, where appropriate, to do so. Ultimately the event organiser is the person responsible for managing the safety and health of participants.
Insurance Is all appropriate travel insurance for the group in place? Considerations should be given as to how you might cover medical expenses if incurred.
Risk Assessment

 

Risk Assessments for all activities should be undertaken and all possible control measures put in place.  Guidance notes should be given to participants particularly for medium to high-risk activities and/or when novices are involved. Don’t forget to do a dynamic risk assessment on the day of the trip.
Contingency Plans Contingency Plans for reasonably foreseeable emergencies should be made, bearing in mind the likely hazards of the environment and type of activities undertaken.
Beginners/Novices The ratio of novices to those more experienced will vary depending on the type of activity, level of difficulty, experience of the leader. You must ensure that this ratio is appropriate for the trip in question.
Itinerary A full trip itinerary should be prepared and circulated to all members.
Trip Membership & Activity Form All clubs and societies must complete a Trip Membership & Activity form, detailing date of the event, location, accommodation, transport, and the names, ID numbers and contact numbers of students participating in the trip.  The trip Leader must ensure that 1 copy of this form is given to Sports or Society officer and 1 copy is taken on the trip
Social Trips may have social elements to them.  You should advise your members on the following:

• Where parties can safely go and when

• What behaviour is acceptable

• A minimum number of people in a group where appropriate.  It is strongly advised that individuals not be left alone, particularly at night.

Equipment This needs to be in proper working order and should be frequently checked

throughout the trip

First Aid You should ensure you have the appropriate first aiders available and the correct First Aid equipment and an accident reporting procedure.

Emergency Procedure

For all the planning and preparation, there still exists the possibility of emergencies occurring.  .  All Accident and Incidents must be reported on the GMIT Accidents report Form to the GMIT Health & Safety Officer, Doreen Geoghegan.  In the event of an emergency, please follow carefully the guidelines as detailed below

  • Stop and think. Assess the situation. Stay calm.
  • In the case of major emergency (serious injury or death) activate critical incident policy – contact communications officer Regina Daly.
  • Ensure that the group is safe and accounted for.
  • Are there any hazards present that may affect the group?
  • Attend any casualties if it is safe to do so.
  • Give first aid within the groups capabilities.
  • Contact emergency services
  • Get/ give any third party/ witness/insurance details if necessary.
  • Gather the information required by the Emergency Services:
  • Name(s) of group members
  • Number of people injured
  • Locations of group members
  • Medical condition of group.
  • First Aid given
  • Age(s) of group members
  • Time of accident
  • Equipment available to group
  • Co-operate fully with the Emergency Services.
  • Someone from the group accompany casualties to hospital.
First Aid

When an accident happens, your first reaction is vital and the more you know about first aid, the more effective you will be.  Therefore it is necessary for clubs and societies to have a first aid provisions in place to provide the knowledge and confidence to make a difference in an emergency.  The following provisions are recommended:

 

You must take a fully stocked first aid kit.
You are responsible for maintaining a fully stocked first aid kits. Please see the Sports Office for first aid supplies.

  • After an accident or an incident you must complete the GMIT Injury/Incident Report Form and submit it to the GMIT Health & Safety Officer, Doreen Geoghegan. In the event of an emergency, please follow carefully the guidelines as detailed below.

 

Child Protection Policy

All Club/Socs that work with children or vulnerable adults should have a child protection policy in place. The Irish Sports Council provides detailed guidance on developing good practice for safeguarding children, through their ‘Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children’s Sport in Ireland.  By following the principles, policy and practice guidelines contained in the Code, adult sport leaders are playing their part in providing an enjoyable and safe environment in which children can learn and thrive.  Your National Governing Bodies may also have a child protection policy and will be able to give detailed guidance about how to respond to reports of suspected abuse.

 

 

The Coach & members under 18 years

If you have members under the age of 18 years your coach must complete a ‘Volunteer/Coach

Application form for those with substantial access to children’, available from the Sports Office. This is recommended by the Irish Sports Council in their ‘Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children’s Sport in Ireland’.

 

Membership Records

It is imperative that your club/soc has an up-to-date record of names and student ID numbers of its members.