Participation health and safety
Participants of a club can be defined as anybody associated and interacting with the club – including but not limited to:
- Players and competitors
- Competition support staff
- Members and supporters
- Opposition or fellow competitors players, spectators and support staff
Health and safety includes not just an individual’s physical wellbeing but also their mental wellbeing.
Player and Competitor Safety
Just about all sports carry personal safety risks for the participants, no matter how passive the activity. In this instance, clubs should have a dual focus:
- Strategies to minimise player and competitor injury
- Procedures to adequately deal with injuries when they inevitably occur
When considering player and participant safety, the following should be considered by clubs:
- Know of any pre-existing health conditions and ailments
- Know of any medications taken by participants
- Do the participants have an adequate understanding of the rules of the game and
- Have participants been taught safety and injury minimisation
- Are participants using suitable protective equipment
- Are participants prepared correctly
- Are weather policies in place which cater for
- Extreme heat
- Other unsatisfactory weather circumstances
- Are participants evenly matched physically if contact is part of the contest
- Do participants have access to enough water (or other suitable fluids) and food before, during and after the competition
Dealing with Injuries
No matter what the sport or the age of participants, injuries will occur during both practice and competition. Just to make sure this is clear, let us repeat that again.
No matter what the sport or the age of participants, injuries will occur during practice and competition.
Clubs must ensure they have prepared accordingly by ensuring:
- Enough people with first aid skills present or if there is a high probability of injury then qualified medical practitioners should be present
- Injured players be accessed and removed from competition in a safe an efficient manner
- Ambulance access to playing field
- Stretchers ready and easily accessible
- Fully stocked first aid kits and medical supplies ready and accessible
- A telephone with contact numbers of doctors, hospitals and ambulance readily accessible
On competition and training days it is important that a thorough review of the venue is completed prior to the activities commencing. It is important that safety issues such as the following are considered:
- Is the competition venue safe? Is it clear of any dangerous material (e.g. significant levels of dust in indoor venues or rubbish on outdoor fields)
- Is all protective padding and equipment available and correctly utilised?
- Are all hazardous materials safely and securely stored?
Clubs not only have a duty of care toward sporting participants but also to the spectators who come to watch.
Important issues for clubs to consider are:
- Traffic management – can spectators enter and exit car parking in a safe orderly manner?
- Is there enough parking available?
- Are there safe walk ways from car parks to the venue where spectator walkways are separated from vehicles?
- Are there enough venue entry and exit points and are they clearly identified to spectators?
- Are spectator viewing areas a safe distance from the competition?
- Do spectators have access to adequate amounts of food and water before, during and after the competition?
- Is there adequate lighting of spectator viewing areas, car parks and walk ways?
- Are security or competition day attendants required?
Further Risk Management Information
a) Risk Identification and Management
b) Cash Management Strategies
c) Asset Protection
d) Participation Health and Safety
e) Club Governance Risks