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Arrows being pulled from target

Health and safety is everyone’s business

July 16th 2021
Vicky Sartain

Safety is everyone’s responsibility, and the pandemic has put an even greater emphasis on that fact. But is your club doing enough to address the issue?

More often than not, health and safety is simply an agenda item in a club committee meeting, something that we do to keep the insurers happy. Most members have never seen a risk assessment and certainly do not feel ownership or engage with the subject. Does any of this sound familiar? Covid has provided the opportunity for this important topic to rise up the agenda and get some much-needed focus.

The pandemic has led to many clubs now recognising that every member ought to take ownership of health and safety, and make it part and parcel of club life. It’s important to set up a group of members to review what can be done better, how to keep the subject on the agenda and how to ensure everyone remains engaged.

Done well, the health and safety activity can enhance members’ experience. Secondly, it can engender a team spirit and increase appreciation of what the club is doing for the members. This isn’t just in terms of Covid arrangements but also looking at all aspects of participation. This includes travelling to the session, assembling the range, arranging practice sessions and maintaining an archer’s own equipment.

Club health and safety case study

Changing the balance of attitudes from being someone else’s problem to taking individual ownership, and suggesting ideas and implementing them is achievable. Archery GB would love to hear about your successes so we can share best practice. To start the process, here’s an example implemented by Deer Park Archers. The club has formed a sub-committee to look at achieving the above.

“The easy part was updating the risk assessments. It was a little more challenging to ensure we covered the whole club experience,” said Roger Crang of Deer Park. “Covid arrangements were already in place and workable for the club. Our committee had finessed their health and safety comms by producing a brief for members via the regular newsletter. They had also created a short video showing the new set up, but one unusual idea in particular has worked a treat!”

Playing cards with archery health and safety guidance

On the cards

Deer Park produced a set of 52 playing cards that cover a wide range of topics, ranging from general health and safety issues to actual shooting guidance. Some cards are specific to the facilities. Similarly, some cover guidance that a member can put into action from the moment they leave their home to reach the range. These include all the basic topics from range discipline, pulling arrows, Covid rules, and clothing. In addition, car parking, personal equipment maintenance etc are covered.

The playing cards are stored with the general equipment, which supports the coaches and field captains running each practice session. They are accessible to all members.

Selected major practice sessions now take a three-to-five minute break for the acting field captain to comment on a topic(s) to the group. The cards provide all the basic information to facilitate this, and questions and answers are encouraged and given. Therefore, health and safety is kept on the agenda. In conclusion, it creates a sense of shared ownership and, says Roger, the feedback has been positive, particularly with respect to comments about the general management of the club and the care of its members.

Your ideas welcome

If you have an innovative idea for addressing health and safety, or other issue at your club, do let us know. Please email: magazine@archerygb.org

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