Health and Safety

Settle District U3A – Health and Safety Policy


It is the duty of every organisation to take care of the health and safety of its members. Additionally, there are legal requirements which have to be followed. In light of this Settle District U3A (sdu3a) aims to provide and maintain safe and healthy conditions and environments for all members including during the meeting of u3a groups, monthly meetings and at events. The format and content of the policy is based on material developed by the Third Age Trust.


Settle District u3a is covered by the insurance provided by The Third Age Trust. If any activities are being considered where there is uncertainty whether they are covered, the committee will contact the Third Age Trust for further advice.

Fire evacuation procedures in hired accommodation

Anyone organising u3a meetings, events and other activities in hired premises is advised tof amiliarise themselves and their attendees with the required action in the event of a fire alarm and/or fire and, in particular, evacuation routes, assembly points and alarm systems. It is for the organiser of the meeting or other activity to decide whether this requires a rehearsal of the procedure.

Settle District U3A (sdu3a) recommends that attendees at meetings and other activities are reminded of the fire evacuation procedures as often as the organiser deems necessary.

For health and safety – as well as insurance – reasons an attendance list is kept, as appropriate, at each Settle District U3A (sdu3a) meeting or other activity. In the event of an evacuation of hired premises the attendance list can be used to ensure that all members present can be accounted for. At the start of a u3a meeting or other activity members are reminded of the location of the meeting point in the event of an evacuation.

Organisers of u3a meetings and other activities in hired premises should to keep abreast of any changes to the fire evacuation procedures, in liaison with the officer responsible for the venue; and to familiarise themselves with the post code of the venue as this information will be required by the emergency services.

If attendees at a u3a meeting or other activity are forced to evacuate a building the organiser must report this to the Committee. Having considered the report the Committee will liaise with the officer responsible for the venue, and other authorities as appropriate.

Incident reporting

Organisers of u3a meetings and other activities should have available a list of the emergency contact details for each of the members who are likely to be present, as shown on the Beacon database. This enables them to contact next of kin if the ‘injured party’ is incapacitated and to provide next of kin details to the emergency services.

There is no legal requirement for a first aider to be present at u3a meetings and other events. However, the organisers of Settle District U3A (sdu3a) meetings and other activities should ascertain if any of the attendees has any first aid or medical experience. They can then be called on in the event of an accident or medical emergency during a session. However organisers are reminded that the experience of individual attendees may not be relevant to the incident, or their accreditation may be out of date.

To ensure that lessons are learned, and to support any relevant insurance claim, the organisers of Settle District U3A (sdu3a) meetings and other activities should record the details of any incident involving a member participating in a such activities using the attached Incident Report Form. This ensures that any claim which has to be made to the insurers is completed in full. On completion the form is submitted to the Secretary of Settle District u3a who will complete an accident report form where appropriate and make a report to the Committee. The Committee will then make a decision about whether any follow-up action is needed.

Dealing with accidents and medical emergencies

The organisers of Settle District U3A (sdu3a) meetings and other activities should prepare in advance for the possibility of an accident or a medical emergency – however unlikely – to ensure they know immediately what action to take.

Indoor Meetings and Other Activities at a Public Facility

The venue should have – on display – procedures for dealing with an accident or medical emergency. The displayed procedures should include the exact address of the venue, the postcode and location in relation to surrounding streets. (The NHS emergency centre is not local so will not be familiar with local geography). In addition there should be an accessible telephone available for dialling 999.

The organisers of u3a meetings and other activities should make themselves aware of where in the venue these procedures are displayed so they can be accessed quickly. In a venue without access to an emergency telephone, organisers should check the location of the nearest telephone which is useable in an emergency. A mobile phone is a good option but organisers are advised that this should not be relied on in case of signal difficulties.

Every venue should have a first aid kit available on the premises and the organisers should make themselves familiar with how to access it.

It is the responsibility of every organisation owning a building to report accidents to the Health and Safety Executive under the RIDDOR system. Best practice for doing so is to keep an accident book. Users of the premises have a responsibility to inform the contact person in rented accommodation of any incidents, as well as following the u3a’s reporting procedures.

Meetings and Other Activities in a Private Residence and Outdoors

An accident or emergency in a private residence or, particularly, outdoors can be inherently more difficult to deal with than those at an public venue and it is important that the organiser of the activity assesses beforehand the hazards specific to the location concerned.

Organisers should pay particular attention to hazards which are likely to present specific risks to individual Settle District U3A (sdu3a) members who are likely to be present. For instance tripping hazards present a greater risk to members with walking difficulties or

balance issues, particularly in areas which can be more difficult for emergency services to access.

Checking the location of the nearest telephone which is useable in an emergency is particularly important for outdoor meetings, especially since there may be no mobile phone signal in remote locations. There is no requirement for a first aid kit to be available in a private residence or for an outdoor meeting or other activity, but organisers should have one available where possible.

Assessing and responding to an accident or emergency

Organisers of meetings and other activities should call an ambulance if someone has fainted or if a blow to the head has been incurred, even if the person appears to be OK and wants to remain or be taken straight home. Ambulance staff can assess whether a visit to hospital is required.

When an ambulance attends the paramedics may ask for information about the casualty. Members should have an emergency contact on their mobile. In addition the organisers of u3a meetings and other events can refer to the list of members’ emergency contacts.

If the NHS emergency centre advises that an ambulance is unavailable or is unlikely to arrive relatively quickly organisers will be advised to err on the side of caution and arrange for the casualty to be taken to the nearest A&E Department. Even in the case of apparently less serious incidents the organisers of meetings and other activities are advised to err on the side of caution. Most minor accidents can be dealt with by basic first aid but if it appears the person is in any way unwell organisers should ensure that someone takes them home, or that medical assistance is called before they leave.

Risk Assessment

It is important that organisers of Settle District U3A (sdu3a) meetings and other activities are alert to any risks and take appropriate measures to address them. In line with advice from the Third Age Trust’s insurers, Settle District U3A (sdu3a) requires that all meetings and other activities are risk assessed but formal, detailed assessments are required only in specific instances where such an assessment is of particular importance.

Despite this, organisers are encouraged to produce a written risk assessment because of its value in ensuring that all possible scenarios, and responses, are identified and because of its value in identifying any risks specific to individual members who may be present at a meeting or other activity.

Risk Assessment templates for both indoor and outdoor activities are available to the organisers of Settle District U3A (sdu3a) meetings and other activities on the website, and the Committee offers help and guidance with risk assessment when requested.

Physical activities

Settle District u3a has a number of interest groups engaging in physical activities with implications for the health and safety of group members. These include walking groups, sports groups, dance groups and other groups undertaking field trips and site visits such as geology and birdwatching. It is the responsibility of individual members to ensure that they are physically capable of undertaking the activities involved and to conduct themselves in a manner which does not place either themselves or other members at risk. If anyone is at all

uncertain about their ability to undertake or continue with an activity they are encouraged to stop and inform the organiser of the activity immediately. Members will also be encouraged to raise any health problems or concerns privately with the organiser of the activity at the beginning of the session so that they are aware of them.

Whatever activity the group is engaged in the organisers of Settle District U3A (sdu3a) meetings and other activities (for instance group leaders and trustees) should take all reasonable steps to safeguard members – for the sake of all involved.

It is expected that the organisers of physical activities will familiarise themselves with all relevant information relating to the activity and advise participants accordingly. For instance, for a longer distance walk, participants will be briefed on the route, probable weather conditions, distances involved, terrain, the standard of fitness required, and the equipment needed.

In all cases appropriate safety guidelines are established and organisers are encouraged to make these known to all group members. Group leaders are encouraged to exercise discretion in applying the safety measures determined for their group, and to draw these up taking note of the practice of other groups undertaking comparable activity.

When approving the setting up of a group or the appointment of a new leader the Settle District U3A (sdu3a) Committee will satisfy itself that the leader has the relevant knowledge and experience to undertake their leadership role effectively. Thereafter it is the responsibility of the leader in consultation with group members to agree the ground rules for their group.

The organisers of physical activities should have a ‘plan B’ in the event of bad weather or other unforeseen circumstances, and to form an assessment of the ability of all participants to cope with the revised activity. During the activity the organiser should satisfy themselves at all times that every participant is accounted for and be prepared to moderate the activity for anyone experiencing difficulty.

Portable equipment and PAT testing

Settle District U3A (sdu3a) owns and operates a wide range of portable equipment, both electrical items such as laptops and data projectors and non-electrical items such as screens. Much of this equipment is available to be borrowed by the organisers of meetings and other activities. A list is maintained by the Committee of all such assets and details of items which can be borrowed are displayed on the website.

Before a piece of equipment can be used by an interest group, a group member must ensure that they are familiar with how to use it. It is the group leader’s responsibility to book the equipment with the equipment holder and to arrange its collection and return. All users are encouraged to visually inspect equipment they have borrowed for obvious signs of damage before using it. Any damage or problems encountered with the use of the equipment must be reported on its return.

For electrical equipment, the asset list includes details of PAT inspection and testing. It is the policy of Settle District U3A (sdu3a) that all portable electrical equipment is PAT tested every 3 years.

Lone volunteering

On the few occasions that Settle District U3A (sdu3a) members carry out activities on their own they are encouraged to ensure someone else knows where they are and when they should be expected back. Lone Settle District U3A (sdu3a) members are also encouraged to ensure they know who to contact in the event of an incident or accident and to avoid hazardous activities such as using a ladder.

Manual handling

All Settle District u3a members are encouraged to think about manual handling in advance to avoid injury to themselves and others. Any members who might struggle to complete manual handling tasks are encouraged to seek help from others.

Social events and travel

Settle District U3A (sdu3a) arranges social events ranging from day trips and outings to lunches and weekends away. The organisers of such events are referred to the advice on the Third Age Trust’s website which provides recommendations of best practice, describes insurance cover provided and gives information to ensure that neither participating members nor the organisers are putting themselves at risk.

Availability and changes to this policy

This policy and any appendices will be reviewed annually by the Committee. It is available on the Settle District U3A (sdu3a) website or by contacting a Committee member. This policy may change from time to time. Members will be informed via the newsletter and/or the monthly meetings when any material changes are made to Settle District U3A’s (sdu3a) policies and procedures. Members should contact any member of the Committee if they have any queries about this policy, need it in an alternative format, or have any concerns about our health and safety practices.

Date of next review

November 2024