Village halls are the backbone of many communities and without this facility many would have no village hub to run events.
This section is aimed to give an overall picture of the halls in North West Sutherland and guidance to those who manage halls and community buildings
Information is available on all aspects of village halls including
- The responsibilities of village hall committees
- Health and Safety Legislation and implications for village halls
- Preparing a Health and Safety File
- Preparing a Health and Safety Policy
- Carrying out Risk Assessment
- First Aid
- Recording accidents/incidents
- Hiring procedures
- Various sample policies and forms
It is the responsibility of the voluntary management committee to ensure the health and safety of employees, volunteers and visitors while engaging in organisational business. This responsibility is often delegated to a member of staff or volunteer in the organisation whom the voluntary management committee ensure is competent to deal with it. There are various legal requirements governing Health and Safety at work. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 obliges an employer to ensure “as far as is reasonably practicable” the health, safety and welfare of all staff. It expands upon this general principle in detail.
In order to comply with the basic provisions of this legislation the following arrangements should be made:
Health & Safety
A risk assessment should identify protective and proactive measures that can be taken and arrange for these to be carried out in an organisation of more than five employees the employer must publish a safety policy and make arrangements for implementation in general the working environment should be suitable in terms of heat, lighting, ventilation, space etc. health and safety information to staff and volunteers should be provided a safety committee can be established if Trade Union appointed safety representatives request this safety representatives are entitled to time during work hours and time off to undertake training in order to be able to carry out their duties.
Hygiene is a basic part of health and safety and washing and toilet facilities should be provided and maintained hygiene is especially important if you prepare or provide food or drink for consumption by the public and you must be sure that you satisfy the relevant regulations. Advice is available from the Food Standards Agency an Accident Register should be kept of all accidents that result in a personal injury a number of staff should be trained as First Aid Officers and relevant facilities provided. Staff must notify a First Aid Officer in the event of an accident that results in a personal injury or if anyone shows symptoms of ill health. An employee under medical supervision e.g. diabetes, epilepsy, or a like condition that may require specialist treatment, should notify the First Aid Officer of the condition as soon as they join the staff or the condition is diagnosed.
Organisations should have in place suitable emergency procedures e.g. fire alarms and evacuation. “In Case of Fire” notices should be posted in every building.
Property and Equipment must be maintained and be of a standard to ensure personal safety. Equipment should be regularly inspected and serviced. Faults should be reported immediately and equipment should be withdrawn from service and repaired. The work environment should be safe and free from clutter.
Dangerous substances (including fuel or chemicals) and drugs must be safely stored.
Hall committees will want to ensure the health and safety of all those that use the hall. However, the amount of legislation that can apply and the responsibilities can seem very scary to committee members.
The Protection of Children (Scotland) Act 2003
This Act – known as ‘POCSA’ – aims to improve the safeguards for children by preventing unsuitable people from working with them. It allows Scottish Ministers to set up the Disqualified from Working with Children List which came into operation on 10 January 2005.
This act is due to be revisited and will be bringing new changes to the Disclosure procedure. Lets wait but it should be noted that the hall committee are responsible to ensure any groups using the hall where children are present have the correct policies, safeguard and people not on the disqualified register in contact.
HIGHLAND LICENSING BOARD GUIDANCE NOTE FOR VOLUNTARY ORGANISATIONS LICENSING (SCOTLAND) ACT 2005