Health and safety law for leisure activities: Mitigating Risk

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The leisure sector has a wide range of activities under its title including swimming, leisure centres, countryside visits, children’s play and motorised leisure pursuits, as well as adventurous, thrill-seeking activities such as bungee jumping.
Leisure activity operators must protect the health and safety of workers and those participating in the activities they manage.
Participation in leisure activities is meant to be an enjoyable experience, which means that operators need to protect participants from real risk without wrongly restricting beneficial leisure activities. The Health and Safety Executive’s risk management principles are therefore vitally important in the management of leisure activities.
Other than the Adventure Activities Licensing Regulations 2004, there are no specific health and safety laws for leisure activities. However, leisure activity operators must comply with their general duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and their associated regulations.
“The aim of adventure activities licensing is to provide assurances to the public about the safety of those activity providers who have been granted a licence. In this way it is expected that young people will be able to continue to enjoy exciting and stimulating activities outdoors without being exposed to avoidable risks of death or disabling injury.
A licence indicates that the provider has been inspected by the Adventure Activities Licensing Service on behalf of the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority, with particular attention being paid to their safety management systems with young people, and has been able to demonstrate compliance with nationally accepted standards of good practice in the delivery of adventure activities to young people, with due regard to the benefits and risks of the activity.”
Operators must make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the health and safety risks to both workers and participants to help decide what they must do to make their activity safe. This is known as risk assessment.
Once these risks have been assessed, operators should implement sensible and proportionate measures to control the risks.
Here at Sport and Leisure our core business is to provide insurance solutions to sports and leisure industry – including risk management. For more advice on risk management for your leisure activities or an insurance quote please contact us on 0161 300 6340 or send us an email
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