Does your club need Employer’s Liability insurance for volunteers?

By Emma Drew

April 5, 2016

Does your club need Employer’s Liability insurance for volunteers?

Volunteers are a valuable asset to any sports club and as part of their role often carry out maintenance repairs on the club’s behalf. This is a great benefit, but can lead to a number of pitfalls that the club should protect against.

While it is quite acceptable when a volunteer carries out basic maintenance on a club hut or clubhouse, and generally much appreciated, it is important to realise that the club should carry the same duty of care towards such a volunteer as it would towards an employee.

Every now and then volunteers can be at risk of personal injury and if they suffer an injury that results from the work they are carrying out on the Club’s behalf, under the Club committee’s instruction, this could manifest itself as an Employers’ Liability claim against the club. In such circumstances the club would be indemnified by its Employers’ Liability insurance, presuming such insurance has been arranged.

Most insurers working in the sports arena understand that maintenance work is often undertaken by volunteers and this is accepted as an insured activity under the Employers Liability insurance. One question often raised is to what extent the club’s Employers’ Liability would cover different degrees of work, however, from painting and minor repairs to re-roofing or major works.

The usual threshold relates to work that could be undertaken by a reasonably competent DIY enthusiast, using normal household tools. This would be acceptable to insurers, but if the club is undertaking anything more specialist, such as roofing, even if the volunteer doing the work is an expert or professional, this will be outside the scope of the insurance cover and specific arrangements should be made with the clubs insurers.

With regard to major works, we would always recommend these are carried out by contracted specialists with their own insurance cover, but please check with your insurance broker if you are about to undertake any activity and are unsure of your insurance protection.

Notwithstanding the Employers’ Liability issues, be aware also of regulations relating to certain works, such as gas fitting and electrical work, when volunteers are undertaking repairs at your clubhouse or hut.

It is a legal requirement that some works, including fitting a boiler or major electrical works such as the installation of a ring main, need to be certified by a qualified professional. Minor works do not need to be certified but it is advisable to have them inspected and certified by a qualified professional to ensure that they have been installed correctly and are safe to use. Failure to do so could result in problems with your insurance cover if the repair work is in some way defective and a loss results.

For example, if a volunteer carries out some minor electrical work at your hut or clubhouse and, as a result of a fault with this work, a fire is caused, insurers may decline to cover the repair costs if the work has not been appropriately certificated by a qualified professional in line with the regulations. Saving on the cost of hiring a professional contractor could ultimately become costly in these circumstances.

How can we help? 

Perkins Slade can provide advice and guidance about Employer’s Liability cover for clubs and insurance protection for clubhouses and huts.

For more information please email Sports Enquiry or speak to them on 0121 698 8000.

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