NADCAA – HEALTH & SAFETY POLICY
The NADCAA Committee takes health and safety very seriously and the safety, health and welfare of plot holders are of paramount importance.
The NADCAA Committee is committed to providing and maintaining a safe environment for our plot holders and others affected by our allotment fields and provides and maintains health and safety information and guidelines in conjunction with tenancy agreement rules which all members are expected to read and adhere to.
The Association has no power to make members adhere to these statements and guidelines but members who fail to do so risk injury to themselves and other allotment users and visitors. Members who display negligence should be reported to the field manager and/or a member of the committee.
Regular checks will be made by field managers, committee members and the committee’s Health and Safety Officer – members failing to follow the rules and guidelines may, if deemed necessary, be evicted from their plot(s).
All activities carry an element of risk and allotment gardening is no exception. Everyone needs to take health and safety seriously but it is also important to use common sense and not become ‘litigation paranoid’. Good gardening is safe gardening, and many risks to both ourselves and others can be easily prevented.
Under civil law, and as set out in the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957, all plot-holders have a duty of care to anyone accessing their plot, and the pathways for which they are responsible. This includes both authorised and unauthorised visitors. As an association, we have a communal duty to ensure that common areas, such as the car park and main access paths are safe. The law requires that in all these areas we exercise at least a ‘reasonable’ level of care regarding safety.
Although unlikely, a claim could be made for negligence when an individual suffered an injury because we didn’t take reasonable precautions. It is not possible in English law to exclude liability, for example by way of a notice. We are also obliged to comply with other laws, such as those regarding environmental and wildlife protection.
Health & Safety Policy
NADCAA has implemented and maintained the following in support of this policy:
- NADCAA has appropriate insurance cover for all of its sites and activities.
- Clear lines of communications are identified.
- Health and safety issues are displayed as bulletins on field display boards, the NADCAA website, emails and verbally one-to-one with plot holders.
- Health and safety performance is treated by NADCAA as equal with all other priorities.
- There is an ongoing consideration of opportunities for continuing improvement in health and safety.
- There is continued support for committee members and plot holders with the provision of appropriate training and advice.
- It is recognised that the control of health and safety risks is primarily a function of the NADCAA committee and field managers but also dependent on the support of all plot holders with them exercising their duty of care to themselves and to others.
- The committee encourages plot holders to keep the use of chemicals to a minimum, to be used appropriately and in line with the manufacturer’s instructions.
The NADCAA Health & Safety Policy is implemented through our tenancy agreement and constitution, newsletters, website and introduction to the site by field managers. In addition, a risk and hazard assessment will be carried out by designated person(s) on a regular basis and appropriate actions taken both to minimise hazards and risks, and to update this policy.
A hazard is something that can cause injury, for example an uneven path, vehicle movements, unsafe use of power tools, exposed sharp edges, etc. Hazards can sometimes be removed, but may be inevitable. Risks are the potential threats caused by the hazards, for example injury from a hidden sharp edge or a vehicle accident – risks can usually be avoided.
Injuries and ‘near-misses’ and any other safety-related issues must be reported to the field manager and/or a member of the committee so that any existing hazard or risk can be eliminated and prevented in the future.
It will be ensured that plots are free from hazard on leasing to new plot-holders and to advise them of this policy and any known hazards elsewhere on their plot’s field.
A risk assessment of each field will be undertaken on behalf of the committee by a designated person (or persons) on a regular basis. This usually involves touring each field, identifying hazards, assessing risks and deciding on actions. Risk assessment involves listing potential risks caused by these hazards, assessing the frequency that people are exposed to those hazards, the probability of injury and the impact of such injury. Some risks are so great that immediate action must be taken, some require remedial actions to be considered and others may need no action. All plot holders should make their field manager or a member of the committee aware of any new hazards that appear as soon as possible.
Risk assessments are issued to all plot holders on an annual basis at rent renewal time or can be accessed via the website. Risk assessments are ‘live’ documents which will be reviewed and updated regularly – all plot holders should ensure that they are referring to the latest risk assessments available.
Most injuries are easily prevented – good gardening is safe gardening and it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that we garden in a safe way.
This health and safety policy will be reviewed and updated at the NADCAA Annual General Meeting to ensure that it continues to be relevant and effective.
This Health & Safety Policy was prepared and issued by the Management Committee of the Newton Abbot & District Co-operative Allotment Association Ltd.
Date: 20th October 2014