Health and Safety Legislation

Rugby clubs have a variety of health and safety requirements. This webpage has been produced to help clubs check that their procedures for managing health and safety are sufficient to ensure the welfare of everyone using their facilities.

In terms of legal requirements, there are two main considerations for rugby clubs:

  • Firstly, the “duty of care” is a common law duty that applies to all individuals and organisations and has been developed by the courts
  • Secondly, health and safety legislation such as Acts of Parliament and regulations set specific duties for employers in order to limit the risks to anyone coming into contact with their organisation. The main Act for clubs to be aware of is the Health and Safety at Work Act

For further details, please visit:

Clubs with paid employees (including paying players)

These clubs fall within the main scope of the Health and Safety at Work Act and are required to ensure safe systems of work and a safe working environment for their staff, paid players and others using the premises where the work takes place. Therefore, if a club pays players or employs a secretary and a steward the requirements of the Act apply to activities in and around their place of work.

For further details, please visit the Health and Safety Executive website.

Clubs with no employees (volunteers only)

Most health and safety law and regulation applies to employers. As such it is not legally binding on rugby clubs without employees. 

The RFU recommends that rugby clubs without employees achieve the same standards of health and safety required of employers. This demonstrates to volunteers that they are valued and enables the rugby club to satisfy its duty of care.

It is key to remember, the Health and Safety at Work Act only lays down statutory duties; a common law (i.e. non statutory) duty of care towards others applies to all those who visit, work, or are affected by a club’s activities.

For further details, please see the RFU Health and Safety Responsibility to Volunteer Workers for Clubs Guide (PDF 396kB).

Does your club need a health and safety policy?

If you have five or more employees (including any payment of players) you must have a written health and safety policy and it must be on display or a copy provided to every employee.

For further details, please see the Health and Safety Policy HSE Example. Or try the online legal document service provided to rugby clubs, which includes a Health & Safety Policy creator.

To access the system click here. Clubs will need to register by entering the RFU clubs' voucher code - ARAG751BIZ. 

Risk assessment

Risk assessment is a technique for identifying and controlling hazards associated with an organisation’s activities. All rugby clubs should undertake risk assessments. Undertaking risk assessments demonstrates commitment to volunteers and the duty of care owed to them. They are also an excellent way to identify and overcome health and safety problems.

For further details, please visit the RFU's Risk Assessments page.

Further health and safety support is available from the RFU Legal Helpline: call 0330 303 1877.

Alternatively, the Health and Safety Executive website for further support and information.