Risk Management

There are two extensive club documents available, neither definitive, on Risk Management and Risk Assessment. Every Committee Member, Dive Marshal and Dive Instructor should read these documents and adopt their principles in their activities.

Overview of Risk Assessment

Risk Assessment involves a close look at all the activities that the Branch is involved in, be it Pool Training, Open Water Training, Open Water Diving, Compressor Operations, or even Social Events.

A risk assessment will look at each activity and decide what hazard (potential harm) can arise during the activity.

Each hazard will be assessed as to its severity, and the likelihood that it may happen.

Combining these will give an overall risk factor.

The assessment will document the existing controls that already exist to minimise the likelihood.

The assessment will document the measures that already exist to minimise the severity.

If the risk factor is too high, then additional controls or measures may have to be put into place.

Duty of Care

Prepared by P.J. Debney, Partner of Cartwright & Lewis Solicitors. 1998

Common Law Negligence

This section contains a very general and basic view of negligence. The term ’injury’ used herein means primarily physical injury and consequential financial losses.

Where Does Negligence Fit Into Our Social Fabric?

Deliberately causing injury to others is a criminal offence resulting in punishment of the perpetrator.

Some injuries are accidental. The circumstances giving rise to them are wholly unforeseeable. No one is responsible. No compensation is payable.

In between are ‘negligent acts. They are not deliberate, but the injury is foreseeable. The negligent person will not be punished, however the injured party may seek financial compensation as a result. The compensation is paid by the individual who has caused the loss and could amount to millions of pounds!

What Does It Do?

The system of rules is designed to determine in any incident of injury, whether the negligent act actually caused injury, whether compensation should be paid and if so how much.

How Does It Affect Me?

In order to satisfy or ‘discharge’ that duty of care you must behave as a ‘reasonable person’ would but taking into account your specific skills, knowledge and experience.

Your neighbours are those people whom might be injured by your negligent acts and omissions. They will include anyone for whom you have accepted responsibility.

The duty of care requires you to consider the consequences of your acts and omissions and to ensure that those acts and/or omissions do not give rise to a foreseeable risk of injury to any other person. Clearly one is not expected to guarantee the safety of others, merely to act reasonably.

Does Ordinary Membership of A Club or Society Affect My Ordinary Duty of Care?

Not usually. You still owe the individual a duty of care to your neighbours. In a club these will include other members and anyone else who could be affected by your actions or omissions.

Will Being A Group Leader of A Club or Other Activity Affect My Ordinary Duty of Care?

It may do. As a group leader (or team captain) you have accepted the responsibility of leading others.

It should be noted that on any outing where a group leader has not been appointed the most experienced and or qualified person there ought reasonably to intervene and at least advise if a foreseeable risk of injury arises.

Will Accepting Office in A Club Affect My Duty of Care?

Yes, it may well do so. If you accept a position you are likely to agree to carry out certain functions which may affect the safety of others both inside and outside the club. You are accepting responsibility and you must not create a foreseeable risk of injury and you must take reasonable steps to deal with any foreseeable risk of injury which exists or arises.


It is not possible to lay down golden rules which if followed will preclude the possibility of a successful civil claim. However, behaving responsibly and considerately is likely to mean that no injury will be occasioned in the first place.

The safety net that we all hope we will never need is third party liability insurance. If a compensation claim is successfully brought then this insurance should pay out. All members of the BSAC automatically have such cover.

From Nottingham University Student's Union