An important topic often glossed over or given little attention, health and safety law and practice is intended to prevent accident and injury in workplaces or public environments. It is therefore important that thought is in fact given to this topic.

Volunteers and running cricket clubs

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (‘the Act’) (which is the primary piece of legislation in this area) will apply to cricket clubs which have one or more employees (the Act is considered elsewhere on this site). The Act will not therefore generally apply to volunteers running a cricket club (where that cricket club has no employees). However, the common law relating to personal injury does apply to volunteers and it is therefore important that volunteers are nonetheless mindful of health and safety principles and practice.

Common law and the duty of care

Under the common law, organisations and individuals (whether volunteers or otherwise) have a duty of care to each other and others who may be affected by their activities. Where something goes wrong, individuals may, in some cases, sue for damages using the civil law if they are injured as a result of another person’s negligence. But, for a negligence claim to succeed, the injured person must show that the defendant had a duty to take reasonable care towards them, and they have suffered the injury through a breach of that duty. The injured person must also show that the type of loss or injury for which damages are being claimed was a foreseeable result of the breach of the duty. Anyone (including volunteers) with control of premises like a clubhouse or cricket ground has a duty to see that the premises, access to them, plant (e.g. sports equipment) and substances provided are safe for the persons using them so far as is reasonably practicable. Often this is a shared duty between the premises owner, a management committee (cricket club committee) and others (e.g. Groundstaff). The extent of a cricket club’s legal duty will depend on the level of control it has over the premises and the type of plant or substances provided. For example, if your cricket club owns or manages the premises, then you would be expected to keep the premises and any sports equipment provided in good repair. If your cricket club uses sports equipment then you would be expected to take reasonable steps to check it is safe to use e.g. check nets are secure before a game so they won’t collapse and injure a player. For more information on managing Health and Safety in sports clubs visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/entertainment/leisure/amateur-sports-club.htm 

Insurance

In order to reduce the risk of claims made against them or their employees/volunteers, cricket clubs may wish to consider obtaining public liability insurance (and other forms of insurance) to cover potential claims arising from personal injury or other risks in relation to their activities. The needs of individual cricket clubs will differ and specialist advice may be sought.

This information has been prepared by the ECB as a general guide only in regard to health and safety and does not constitute advice on any specific matter. Further guidance in regard to health and safety may be found on the website of the Health and Safety Executive (http://www.hse.gov.uk) and a number of links to such guidance are incorporated into this information. Whilst it is hoped that the guidance contained below is helpful for cricket clubs, no liability can be accepted by the ECB for any action taken or not taken as a result of this information (or in regard to the content of third party websites).