Safety policy

SWHC - Safety policy

Saffron Walden HC - Safety Policy 

The purpose of this document is to provide an outline of the safety processes in place at Saffron Walden HC and provide guidance to players, parents, coaches and other role holders as to how to create a safe environment for playing hockey. 

The intention is that this document is read in conjunction with the guidance provided by England Hockey and that this document will be updated over time as guidance is changed or refined. 


  • General Advice and EHB Guidelines 
  • Safety Officer 
  • Regular Risk Assessments 
  • Accident/ Incident Reporting 
  • Coaching
  • Coaching Independently
  • Coaches and Parent Helpers - Coach Player Ratios
  • Access to the Pitch
  • Frozen Pitches/ Cancellation 
  • First Aid Provision
  • Access to Medical Records - Emergency Services 

General Advice 

Coaches, team captains and other role holders should be familiar with England Hockey Safety Guidelines and their implementation at the club and they can be accessed via the link below - 

Everyone involved in preparing and delivering hockey sessions at Saffron Walden HC, including matches and tournaments, should always prioritise the safety and wellbeing of players and take all reasonable steps to ensure that the activities are appropriate and players can participate safely. 

In practical terms, coaches delivering sessions should undertake the following - 

  • Safety Preparation 
  • Carry out a risk assessment prior to starting the session (regular brief risk assessments comprise checking the pitch, equipment, lights etc.) 
  • Check they have charged phone with an adequate signal to call emergency services 
  • Have access to relevant medical information, in case players are seriously injured (or parents in attendance in the case of younger juniors) 
  • Session Planning
  • Ensure there are sufficient coaches attending including at least one first aider with a kit
  • Have a plan of the activities appropriate to the age and skill level of the participants
  • Be familiar with emergency procedures, postcode of the pitch, first aid kit, defibrillator etc. 
  • Delivery
  • Players should only come on to the pitch once the session has started 

• Check players have gum shields and shin pads (mandatory for U18s)

• All activities, including warm up and cool down, should be supervised

• Prioritise safety during all activities, e.g. ensure adequate separation between small groups • Consider changing conditions such as weather and adjust or curtail activities

• Stop activities in the event of an incident

• Complete accident forms/ incident reporting 

Safety Officer 

Saffron Walden HC is committed to creating a safe environment for everyone involved in the sport and we have an appointed Safety Officer to - 

  • Develop and maintain policies based on the guidance provided by England Hockey - these include the following 
  • Regular review of safety policies to ensure best practice for coaching sessions including pre- session risk assessments, coach player ratios to ensure adequate supervision throughout sessions, best practice for warm ups and matches, availability of first aid/ defibrillator, parent contracts, availability of medical information, etc. 
  • Guidance for team captains for dealing with injuries during matches, especially away matches and making contact with parents in the case of under 18s. 
  • Making forms available for recording regular risk assessments, accidents/ incidents, injury monitoring for EHB and compliance with insurance 
  • Reviewing first aid provision and organising regular first aid courses 
  • Ensure policies are distributed to committee members, coaches and team captains - full details of policies are available on our website but briefing notes, checklists and forms are made available by email and are included in coach the coaches and team captain briefings that take place at the beginning of the season 
  • Review and monitor the implementation of policies to ensure adherence and create best practice 
  • Send out reminders for completion of risk assessments and accident forms 
  • Review coaching sessions and match arrangements with coaching heads and club captains to ensure these follow safety policies 
  • Highlight issues with club committee for resolution 
  • Coordinate issues that may arise either formally through the policies and procedures put in place together with risk assessments and accidents forms and regular reviews but also for ad hoc issues that may be reported by anyone. 
  • The role of Safety Officer is overseen by the club committee 
  • The Safety Officer can be contacted on 

Regular Risk Assessments 

Site Risk Assessments are required at the start and midway through the season and the club committee will review findings and ensure action is taken as necessary. 

Session Risk Assessments are required ahead of each session

• Lead coach at start of Mens/ Ladies Training Tue and Thu evenings to cover the whole session • Lead coach for Lower Mens Training Wed evenings

• Lead coach for U14Bs Training Fri evenings to cover whole session

• Lead coach for Junior Training Sun mornings to cover whole session 

Checks comprise the following 

  • Details of the site, date and time; e.g. JFAN 1st May 9:00 am to 1:00 pm 
  • Session details; e.g. Junior Training 
  • Visual check - this will include the pitch and cage e.g. no hazards, weather OK, no damage to the cage or gates; no damage to or obstructions on pitch, goals moved back if not in use, surrounding areas such as clubhouse and car park. 
  • Equipment check - no damage to goals, lights OK (not required during daylight) 
  • Sign off and checked by; e.g. lead coach or safety officer 

Coaches will email confirmation to Safety Officer, who will collate responses and provide regular reporting to the club committee, as well as responding to issues raised such as - 

  • Damage to equipment, locks to the cage, access to the clubhouse etc. should be advised to the Safety Officer, who will in turn advise the School (and if necessary SWANCAT) and highlight to lead coaches and club captains. 
  • Issues that may impact ongoing sessions such as problems with floodlights should be advised to the club committee so they can provide more general communication to club members. 

Coaches when taking sessions and captains playing matches should always check equipments and environment to ensure that it is safe and in case something has been missed. Anyone can advise issues to the Safety Officer, who can ensure the correct action is taken forward. 

Coaching Independently 

England Hockey recommend that coaching sessions are always lead by a Level 2 (or equivalent) coach and SWHC have adopted this as a standard policy. 

We have lead coaches who all meet this qualification and can cover sessions when they are available to do so. We encourage and will pay for unqualified coaches to gain qualification through England Hockey courses - specifically coaches need to complete a workshop course such as Engaging Games for Children before attending a Sessional Coaching course. 

Current Qualified Coaches 

Duncan Campbell David Grammar Spencer Hill Vanessa Hill 

Rob Kerrison Andy Mackintosh David Reynolds Grant Ward Martyn Webb Ant White 

If the regular coach is not available and another coach cannot cover, we cancel the session. 

Coaches and Parent Helpers 

England Hockey recommend that coaches and parent helpers who are in regular contact with children or vulnerable adults are DBS checked and attend a Safeguarding course every 3 years 

Coaches should attend a formal safeguarding course once qualified but can renew this with an online course. Parent helpers can attend an online course and the club will reimburse the cost. 

DBS checks are arranged through the club Welfare Officer. 

Coach Player Ratios 

England Hockey recommend that coaching sessions should have the following coach/ helper to player ratios and sessions are planned on this basis. 

• U8s 1:8

• Juniors 1:12

• Adults 1:16

This is to ensure there is adequate supervision of activities throughout the coaching session 

Planning at the beginning of the season reviews the number of regular helpers along side player numbers to ensure we can maintain adequate ratios. If there are concerns as to whether we can meet these ratios, a diary planner is used to check numbers of helpers per session. 

If we are short of helpers for a particular session, the coach can ask a parent to help out (U8s, U10s and U12s parents are required to be pitch side throughout the session) and may make amendments to the session to make it safer to manage. 

Coaches should always consider the safety of the session and if necessary cancel the session if they consider it unsafe. 

Access to the Pitch 

Ensure that sessions are suitably supervised, including warm up and cool down activities and that there is no access to the pitch before the sessions starts. Players should - 

• Wait for the coach to invite you on to the pitch

• Have a supervised warm up at the start of the session • Not warm up at the side of the pitch 

Coaches should ensure the pitch is locked outside of sessions and raise any issues with the safety officer. 

Frozen Pitches/ Cancellation 

It is important that the Lead Coach and/ or Safety Officer make decisions as to whether a coaching session needs to be cancelled and are supported in their decisions. 

When a frost is forecast (temperature forecast to drop below 3o), it is recommended that the pitch is checked about 30-40 mins prior to the session to allow time to cancel and communicate with players. The lead coach or Safety Officer will check the pitch and cancel if it is frozen to avoid potential injuries from players falling on a slippery surface or landing on a hard frozen surface. 

Notifications are sent on Teamo but it is recommended that for Junior training, the coach stays to turn players away and ensure that the pitch is locked and lights turned off, when leaving. 

The pitch will sometimes freeze during a session and the lead coach and/ or Safety Officer should review the state of the pitch and if necessary stop the session and cancel any subsequent sessions that evening. The lead coach and/ or Safety Officer should ensure all juniors have been picked up and ensure that the pitch is locked and lights turned off, when leaving. 

First Aid Provision 

The club ensures that a first aid kit is available at the clubhouse and is accessible for all hockey training sessions and matches and that a first aider is present for all training sessions. 

Sessions will be planned based on having coaches and helpers available with first aid qualifications and to make this easier the club will arrange annual first aid courses so that we have good numbers of first aiders available and the 3 year currency of the certification is maintained. 

Coaches and team captains are provided with first aid kits and replenishment supplies are available in the clubhouse. Kits have been made Covid compliant by being stocked with PPE. 

In case of emergencies, call 999 and provide details to the operator. They will advise what needs to be done and will assess whether an ambulance is required. 

Due to Covid restrictions, organisations such as Living Sport have withdrawn first aid courses and arranging bespoke courses has proved very difficult due to restrictions around venues. England Hockey accepts that coaches can continue to coach when certificates have expired but should renew these as soon as practical and coaches should refresh their knowledge using online tutorials from St John’s Ambulance. 

Access to Medical Records 

Medical records for players should be kept securely so that coaches can access them in case of emergency. Parents and adult players should provide medical details when registering and these are held on LoveAdmin and access is provided to coaches. Club administrators are very likely to be available by phone if there is a problem accessing LoveAdmin and should be contacted. 

Although it is the responsibility of adult players and parents of junior players and to determine their fitness to play, it is good practice for coaches ask groups if there are injuries or issues to take into account during training. 

Emergency Services 

Contact emergency services by dialling 999 - it is recommended that coaches ensure they have a charged mobile with an adequate signal whilst running sessions. 

The pitch is situated at Joyce Frankland Academy, Newport, Essex CB11 3TR but the postcode for the pitch itself is CB11 3TZ. Entrance is in Bury Water Lane which is off the main B1383 Cambridge Road 

Once an ambulance has been called and is expected to arrive shortly, ask an adult to wait by the bottom gate to guide the ambulance in. If an ambulance requires access to the pitch itself, there 

is a double gate situated near the sheds and the padlock uses the same key at the other padlocks - there is a spare available in the clubhouse. 

A defibrillator is available on the side of the fitness centre on the wall opposite to the main carpark and overlooking the cricket green. The emergency services can provide the access code for the defibrillator and the unit provides guided instructions so no training is required. 

Coaches should only coach with other adults in attendance and if there is problem contacting emergency services, send an adult to use a nearby phones; e.g. there is a caretaker on site and residential houses in Bury Water Lane. The pitch post code is marked on a sign at the pitch and should guide the ambulance to the pitch 

Accident/ Incident Reporting 

In the event of a an incident requiring hospital or emergency treatment, an accident form should be completed and provided to the safety officer to retain and details provided to England Hockey for their injury monitoring on their website. 

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