Uachtarán Cumann Lúthchleas Gael John Horan was in the 4 Seasons Hotel, Monaghan, last Wednesday night to launch the Safe Club Initiative, a Croke Park scheme that is designed to adopt a proactive approach towards health, safety and insurance issues in clubs. The scheme is the brainchild of the National Health and Safety Committee with input from the National Insurance Committee and indeed, the GAA insurers and was headed up by Declan Flanagan, with Monaghan agreeing to run a pilot project to test how effective this scheme can be in addressing those issues of health and safety, but in particular, addressing the insurance issues.
The President paid tribute to, Declan Flanagan and the National Health and Safety committee for their work in bringing this scheme thus far and spoke of the 2 important aspects of the scheme. The 1st was the safety of members and the safety of those others who use the GAA’s premises and the 2nd and possibly the more important aspect, would be to address the claims culture that has seen insurance costs for clubs increase dramatically in recent years. “Reduce the claims” he told the club delegates “and you reduce the award of damages which in turn will reduce the cost of insurance to clubs”.
The scheme is essentially designed to create a proactive approach to health, safety and insurance issue and is based on an extensive checklist that covers 23 different aspects of clubs from their property, to their grounds information, to buildings and all aspects of building maintenance, to machinery, to the accommodation of spectators, the use of gymnasiums, facilities for use by a non-GAA groups and a special checklist for clubs with bar facilities. “Clubs must think safety and act safely”. the President told the club delegates and he stressed how the checklist can be used extensively during the Safe Club workshops which can become an engaging educational tool.
The pilot project in Monaghan will see all clubs complete the audit as per the checklist as well as having a number of seminars and workshops on various aspects of the scheme and on completion of the process, clubs will be audited and their premises and grounds inspected, using the Safe Club checklist. The National committee will assemble the results and provide a debriefing to all clubs with monetary rewards for those who are the most successful in implementing the scheme.
If the scheme is deemed to be a success and can be seen to reduce insurance costs by way of reducing the number of claims and eliminating a lot of the measures that lead to claims in the 1st place, then the scheme would be rolled out right across all 32 counties.