St Albans City Football Club has been prosecuted after a 71-year-old volunteer died after falling through fragile roof sheeting at the club’s ground. The man was carrying out repairs when he fell through the material on to the terrace steps below. He suffered fatal injuries as a result of the fall. St Albans City Football and Athletic Club Ltd was fined £1000 and ordered to pay costs of the same amount.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the death of the volunteer. It was found that the club had not made sure a suitable system was put in place to authorise certain types of jobs that volunteers might carry out. It was established that inadequate levels of supervision, when coupled with the fact that volunteers could gain uncontrolled access to the club’s ground if they had keys, enabled access to the roof to perform repairs in a way that was not safe.
5 tips to help protect volunteers who may be in the workplace:
- Do a risk assessment to determine how, when and where volunteers might undertake roles in your workplace, and the risks that might be present. Consider how the inexperience of volunteers, or their lack of knowledge of the risks present, might play a factor.
- Consider the best controls to put in place to protect volunteers. This might include regular training and update sessions, as well as a detailed induction programme to ensure they know the site layout, inherent hazards and the controls being used to mitigate risks.
- Ensure that volunteers are supervised at all times when on site. Make sure they sign in and out, and that you know where they are at all times. Check that, if they have keys to the premises, they know when they are allowed to enter, and for what purpose.
- Be clear on the jobs and activities that each individual can undertake, and make sure the volunteer understands these. It is likely to be a good idea to have these items agreed in writing, and to have a safe system of work for volunteers to follow agreed in advance.
- Check that the volunteer has a named point of contact to report to, and that they know to raise any concerns or queries if they have them.
It is vitally important that the safety of volunteers is considered in the risk assessment process, and that those on site in this capacity are suitably protected at all times.