6B: Health and safety

Health and safety is a complex area involving legal responsibilities – make sure that you research all areas fully

Section 6 progress

Sport carries a number of risks and penalties can be very high for failing to adequately plan for and avoid risk. However, don’t allow fears about health and safety to stop you encouraging people to take part in activities which can ultimately improve health and prevent illness. A balance of risk needs to be taken at all times.

  • You are responsible for health and safety in any development process from the moment you gain legal responsibility for the building. Before this point the construction company has responsibility. Prepare and complete your research before this point so that you are ready straight away.
  • At the design stage your architects and design team should advise on current health and safety regulations that must be considered.

Organisations also have a duty of care towards their volunteers. Reasonable steps should be taken to assess the risks and ensure volunteers are provided with the same standard of training, equipment and accommodation as employees.


Official guidance can be obtained from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Please check official HSE guidance on each issue to make sure you do not miss any details.

As an employer you have a duty of care towards your employees. This means protecting their physical and mental well-being while in the workplace. Make sure you comply with legal regulations (such as the working time directive), and that support is provided in stressful situations.

Make sure staff are trained to consider the health and safety implications in all decisions they make. A building is a dynamic environment with people and equipment constantly circulating. Carelessness and thoughtlessness are a significant cause of accidents.

Other considerations

Fire regulations

  • The most important consideration is ensuring sufficient fire exits. The local fire authority can provide guidance and will issue a fire safety certificate once they are satisfied with the arrangements that are in place. You must ensure that the building has a working fire alarm and an adequate number of fire extinguishers. A company should be contracted to maintain both the alarm and extinguishers on a quarterly basis. You must designate an assembly point away from the building.
  • Everyone who uses the building regularly should be aware of fire procedures. Drills should be conducted to make sure that evacuation happens quickly and smoothly. This is particularly important when the building first opens and whenever there is a significant increase in users. Drills should be evaluated for errors and delays, with changes made to procedures as appropriate. You should keep a record of the people in the building at any one time. In the event of fire this will give the fire fighters information on who is still in the building. If you have tenants consult with them on fire procedure and encourage them to designate a fire marshal for their office.

First aid

All buildings should have first-aiders on site at all times. Ideally, all staff should be trained. This avoids complications when organising shift patterns and planning annual leave. An accident book for the building should record all incidents. This will help identify any recurring issues and help you resolve them.

Community: Has the community organisation prioritised Health and Safety and designated someone as responsible to oversee its implementation?