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Employers Liability Update

Golf Clubs, like any employer providing services has a duty to protect its employees, and its visitors and guests from work related risks.

Monday 3rd of April 2017 09:00

Golf Clubs, like any employer providing services has a duty to protect its employees, and its visitors and guests from work related risks.  The law imposes a range of duties broadly under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (“the 1974 Act) and the multitude of Regulations, and approved Codes of Practice made thereunder.  Guidance is found from the Health and Safety Executive and support from a range of organisations from private companies through to charitable organisations such as RoSPA. It’s a minefield.  In addition to the principle statute there are at least 21 sets of Regulations or other Acts which you must take note of.

Assistance can also be found through your employer’s liability and public liability insurers and/or their intermediaries.

Good communication of your health and safety policy to your employees, to your members, and to your visitors (including casual visitors who may pass across your land) is essential.  Formal assessment of risk and appropriate signage will avoid the risk of the near £400,000 liability in Phee v Gordon and Niddry Castle Golf Club.

Some comfort was given to clubs under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 which amended the old Section 47 of the 1974 Act.  The cases on this change are still few and far between but it remains the view that there is now a requirement to allege negligence or fault as well as breach of a statutory provision for liability to arise.

However, it is not enough merely to be able to show that you have undertaken a thorough risk assessment.  You must implement the required processes; you must periodically review and, as appropriate, update both the assessment and the processes; and you must ensure those processes are followed and adhered to.  A failure to ensure (insofar as you can) a process is followed may give rise to liability where an accident occurs because a process was not followed.

 

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