Our Norfolk County Safety Note February 2018 from Charles McIlwhan, County Safety Coordinator.
In most of the activities that we undertake within scouting we are dealing with young people, adult volunteers and visitors.
As adult volunteers we all have a common law “Duty of Care” to the young people and all other adults/visitors to avoid causing injury and damage. In managing this “Duty” we should adopt the basic principles of risk prevention:
• avoid risks or fully evaluate the risks which cannot be avoided
• adapting the tasks to the individual and to changing technology
• replacing the dangerous by the non-dangerous or the less dangerous
• provide collective protection measures over individual protection measures and
• provide appropriate instructions.
Control of Premises:
For those in control of scout premises the “Duty of Care” originates from the Occupiers Liability Act 1957.
This Act defines premises as “fixed or movable structures, including any vessel, vehicle, aircraft, Land and property.”
The Duty of Care is such that “The occupier must take such care, in all the circumstances, as is reasonable to see that the visitor will be reasonably safe in using the premises for the purposes for which he/she is invited or permitted by the occupier to be there.”
Occupiers must be prepared for young people to be less careful than adults. As a result, a higher standard of care is expected from an occupier when young people are visiting his/her premises.
Where you lease a premise, or own a premise sited on land you do not own, you need to be clear about where the boundaries of your premises are and where the responsibilities of the owner finishes and where your responsibilities as occupiers begin. Occupier means those who own, rent or lease premises.
In addition to the above general “Duty of Care” when dealing with adult volunteers, young people and visitors, there are certain other pieces of legislation that specifically target safety in “non-domestic properties” (eg- churches, arenas, halls, scout premises, etc) and place specific legal duties on those who own, occupy or control a premise. Asbestos regulations, Electric regulations, Fire regulations and Gas regulations are some examples.
There is a scout safety policy and a range of guidance on ensuring your premises are safe and ensuring that all activities for young people are fun, enjoyable and safe. This guidance is contained in the safety section of the scout website and is there to assist you in fulfilling your “Duty of Care”, as well as any legal duties.
If I can be of assistance to you, please email me or telephone me.
Charles McIlwhan, County Safety Co-Ordinator