The National Golf Clubs’ Advisory Association (NGCAA) says golf clubs now have even greater cause to give Health & Safety issues a higher priority.
The Health & Safety (Offences) Act 2008, which gained Royal Assent on 16th October, came into force earlier this month and raises the maximum financial penalties that can be imposed, as well as widening the range of offences for which an individual can be imprisoned. This includes club committee members and directors.
“This new piece of legislation does not impose any additional duties upon individuals or golf clubs; however it does increase the scope for penalties and sentencing powers where breaches of Health & Safety legislation are found,” says Michael Shaw, chief executive NGCAA
A summary of the main provisions is as follows:
• The lower court maximum fine will increase from £5,000 to £20,000 for most offences. Higher courts remain with the power to impose unlimited fines.
• Both lower and higher courts will have the power of imprisonment. A Magistrate’s Court can sentence up to 12 months, a Crown Court up to 2 years. This obviously applies where individuals are prosecuted, rather than corporate entities, though the higher fines apply to both. Individual members of your committee/board can be prosecuted!
• Some offences, currently only triable in lower courts, will be triable in either higher or lower courts.
Health & Safety regulation is gaining an increasingly higher profile and local authorities are being encouraged to take more action against offenders.
“The new legislation definitely needs your focus,” says Mr Shaw. “Is your club a member of the NGCAA? Over one thousand clubs and golfing organisations are.
“NGCAA, formed in 1922, is the only national organisation in the UK dedicated to advising golf clubs on all legal aspects of golf club management and administration.”