This website uses non-intrusive cookies to improve your user experience. You can visit our cookie privacy page for more information.

What to do to plan and manage low-risk, small-scale sports and activities

Getting started

  • If you are an employer or self-employed sports club owner / organiser, start by using our ‘health and safety toolbox’ site to help you comply with your wider duties under the law
  • For community sports events run by clubs who don’t have employees, start by reading the Cabinet Office ‘can do’ guide.
  • Speak to all the key people who are going to be involved in the club activities to help you identify any significant health and safety issues and what to do about them
  • Check with your sports National Governing Body (NGB) to see if they provide any relevant information.  Most NGBs and networks are members of the Sport and Recreation Alliance (SRA). For NGB contact details see the SRA website.
  • Non-HSW Act considerations like selling food or alcohol, permits, licensing and permissions for road closure, are the types of things that might need a conversation with your local authority.

If you own or manage the playing surfaces and spectator areas

  • Ensure the playing surface is in good repair.
  • Take steps to reduce the risk of competitors being injured if they accidentally collide with any fencing, pillars, lamp posts etc that may be located at the edge of the playing surface.  
  • Depending on the number of spectators you have, manage entrances and exits to prevent crushing.
  • Keep pedestrian walkways free from slip and trip hazards.
  • Take steps to ensure pedestrians and vehicles can circulate safely.

Sports equipment/outdoor temporary structures

  • Check the sports equipment you provide and / or have control over is safe to use (store equipment safely when not in use).
  • Check the proximity to any overhead power lines before moving equipment like rugby posts and/or erecting large marquees / tents – think about how you will do this safely. It may be sensible to have a large marquee erected and taken down by the company it is hired from.
  • Protect people from electric shock or burn. For instance, if you are using mains voltage outside use a ‘trip device’ to ensure that the current is promptly cut off if contact is made with any live part.

Indoor venues/clubhouse/changing rooms

  • Refer to our checklist on church halls and similar premises.  The checklist covers fire precautions and emergency evacuation arrangement, safe movement around the building, electrical equipment, gas appliances, asbestos management and legionnaires disease. This checklist will apply to places like community halls.
  • Deal with any catering related risks eg the use of  hot surfaces, in a sensible way.

Emergencies and contingencies

  • Have a plan for what to do if there is an emergency or something not going according to plan eg because of bad weather - are you storm-ready?
  • Have a means of raising the alarm if there is an emergency.
  • Have adequately trained first-aiders.
  • Ensure an ambulance and/or fire engine can gain access to your venue.
  • Ensure everyone knows about the emergency arrangements. 
Updated 2015-12-23