Ask H&H: hunter trial health and safety report

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What sort of issues do I need to consider when preparing a health and safety report for a novice hunter trial?
KDL, Northants

As an event organiser, you will have a duty of care to both spectators and competitors.

According to Samantha McEwan, head of equine law at Stone King Sewell Solicitors, you will need to carry out a risk assessment before the event, and take steps to eliminate or at least reduce the identified risks as far as possible.

The following points should be considered as a minimum, although this is not a definitive list.

• How are people going to get in and out?

• Is the collecting ring and start/finish area large enough and roped off?

• Does your insurance policy cover the event?

• Are there enough people at the event to act as stewards?

• Is your course safe? Are there any overhanging trees or cables? What is the ground like? Make a last check of the ground on the day, particularly if the weather is bad

• Advise competitors in your conditions of entry that riding hats and body protectors meeting current safety standards must be worn

• Ensure that dogs are kept on a lead at all times

• Ensure food hygiene for any catering facilities

• Provide adequate toilets

• Keep an accident book

• Limit the use of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs)

• Communication: your stewards will need mobile phones, whistles, flags and walkie-talkies

• Arrange suitable medical, vet and farrier cover for the day

It is advisable to include a disclaimer on your entry forms and promotional material stating that the organiser has taken steps to ensure the health and safety of all present, but that visitors must take their own personal safety precautions.

In terms of planning the logistics of your event, you can seek help from the British Horse Society’s affiliation scheme, British Riding Clubs.

Information

British Horse Society www.bhs.org.uk

Stone King Sewell Solicitors, tel: 01285 649717 www.skslaw.co.uk

This Q&A was first published in Horse & Hound (11 June, ’09)

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