Health & Safety and Responsible Persons

I have created this topic as I posted on a separate topic about this and I think it needs discussion between ACC members.
As all Adult staff are CFAVs now and are no longer officially part of the Military, I would like to ask about Adult Staff and their responsibilities within the Health & Safety Act. We are regularly told we are not employees and do not receive pay, just a volunteers allowance, reinforcing our status as volunteers. So when undertaking the role of responsible person for a unit or activity, the act mentions that the person should be employed.
So does that mean that the employed staff (WExO or equivalent, HQAC staff) become the responsible people above us mere volunteers?
I have passed this question up my CoC, so I await an answer from above!!

I’d say that’s always been the case to be honest. Technically they have always been the responsible person; we as volunteers just assist them in discharging that responsibility by ensuring we follow the appropriate organisational procedures.

1 Like

But where is that written down? Has it been altered with the change in Adult Staff status?
Can such an important role be delegated?

Can I get 3 hours a month admin support at Sqn to update RAs, H&S noticeboard, conduct checks etc etc then from the permanent staff?
Can I heck!

That’s what it takes. That’s all time by volunteers not spent on direct cadet activity.

What exactly do Wing permanent staff fill their time with?

1 Like

Sending emails telling us to do menial Admin tasks.


Bob makes a very relevant point (taken from other topic)

I think you are looking for a problem where there is none. ACP5 states that RAFAC members are viewed as ‘members of the public’ with respect to the HSAWA 1974. So we aren’t the formally ‘responsible’ person.

That’s why the RCs are DDHs and have a full time RSA. They are the responsible ones.


So who is the responsible person for a Squadron HQ? The RC or the OC?
If it is not the OC, why do they have to complete all the paperwork?

1 Like

No I think you are missing the point…

As OC I was responsible for carrying out RAs, inspections all to be followed at the sqn if I am not legally liable or responsible then what’s the point??

If there was an issue someone has injured themselves and decide to sue it doesn’t matter if we followed my RA to the letter as it’s not been done by anyone with responsibility to do so and also it’s been approved by the wingco another volunteer who is also has NO responsiblility for H&S legally.

So where does the real responsiblity lie and if under H&S law we are not responsible why are we being instructed to carry out H&S duties?

Another point though… everyone in the Corps is now viewed as a member of the public. RIDDOR regulations dictate that in the event of a member of the public being injured the HSE MUST be informed, how many times have the HSE actually been informed??
Our WXo I know doesn’t fill in a riddor form for every incident!!

Having worked as a volunteer manager, in a different sector, I would say that the above quote from the H&S is a bit of a red herring.

Our take on it was that a Volunteer was a volunteer up until the point of volunteering. Once they arrived on site (or otherwise discharged their duties for the company), they became staff (unpaid).

We had had staff (unpaid) occupy safety critical roles, and positions of senior management.

I would theorise that by agreeing to act as staff, we legally become staff (unpaid), and therefore H&S legislation is as relevant to us as it is the CAC.


But where is that theory written down? Policy rules in our organisation! And lawyers love the phrase “If it isn’t written down, it hasn’t happened!”

Fair point.

The HSE gives guidance to sports clubs - I’d hazard a guess and say that Sqns are the rough equivalent.


"Health and safety law does not generally apply to volunteers running a club with no employees, unless the club has responsibility for premises like a clubhouse or playing fields.

Anyone (including volunteers) with control of premises like a clubhouse or playing fields has a duty to see that the premises, access to them and plant ( eg sports equipment) and substances provided are safe for the persons using them so far as is reasonably practicable1. Often this is a shared duty between the premises owner, a management committee and users."


I agree that all staff and attendees have a duty to ensure that their premises are safe. But my question is around the position of responsible person for a premises. Our premises are publically owned and we have employed people within our structure to take responsibilities, whereas Sports Clubs may not. There is a great deal of responsibility and paperwork passed down to volunteers, I am asking if thought has been put in to this area with the changes in staff status.

I agree.

I think I may have said before that I think RFCA should take sole responsibility for the buildings, including alarm testing, monthly H&S checks etc.

We seem to have inherited the title of ‘Building Manager’ somewhere along the way, even though we’re unable to rectify faults, manage budgets, prioritise repairs etc.


I agree sports clubs etc maybe communily owned by its members and managed through a committee. The ACO is owned by the government through the MoD therefore they are employed through their paid staff to be responsible for implementation and compliance.

As it statesd with the Act this is generally not a volunteers responsibility to ensure compliance but to act with due care in whatever they do as to the guidelines laid down by paid employee’s. The paid employee’s as I read the Act are the ones solely responsible for ensuring whatever activity is undertaken has been assess as ‘safe’ and is being undertaken

The employer(employed) should act under S3 with regard to the health safety and welfare who are on their premesis who are not employee’s. Who and above in their CoC are employee’s therefore the responsibility is theirs not the unpaid volunteer.

And RFCA can??
I am sorry but RFCA is one of the most incompetent organisations I have ever came across!


They maybe incompetent but they are responsible for building standards and integrity and risk remains with them.


Or more importantly have a standard of training that would stand up in court in the event of an incident.

1 Like

They are meant to, but not sure they have!


The acid test is when the wheels fall off, who is it they hang out to dry? Even if you do all you can I wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw a full grown bull elephant, if it went wrong. When you don’t feel you can trust the management, is not a good point.

Personally those self-serving FTRS sucking money out of the public purse getting paid handsomely for non jobs should be doing H&S for squadrons. Then they need to actually be on a squadron not sitting in an office or at home.