For help, advice and discussion about stuff not related to aviation. Play nice: no religion, no politics and no axe grinding please.
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By rikur_
One for the lawyers I suspect.
I have many voluntary roles from sports clubs to Parish Council (dizzy heights!)
All are now facing similar dilemmas about reopening facilities.
In all cases we've got a green light from Government to open from 4th July, generally with a 2 - 3 page briefing note somewhere on advising us to do a risk assessment and make pragmatic mitigations.

Some committee members/trustees/Councillors are naturally worried about being prosecuted or sued personally if as a result of reopening someone gets ill, and therefore would prefer to take the cautious approach of leave the facility/service closed, and head off down the golf club/pub.

My understanding is that Councillors generally have statutory immunity (s265 Public Health Act 1875) unless a criminal offence has been committed. So providing they e.g. comply with HSWA (e.g. risk assessment, mitigations, follow government advice), there is no real risk to them, even if someone were to get ill. (Arguably at risk for misconduct in public office for leaving public facilities closed without a reason in the public interest?)

Other voluntary roles (e.g. sports club trustees) seem to have only insurance to fall back upon, and even if following Government and sporting body advice, ultimately individuals could be targeted. I'm guessing this is more likely to be sued for damages than a prosecution, as I'm not sure what offence would have been committed.

Expertise welcomed. (Speculation also observed with passing interest!)
I have exactly this issue as an officer of my gliding club. My proposal to the Committee is that, because any liability we might face will be based on negligence, we should:

1. Explain clearly what protective measures we are (and aren't) taking.

2. Make it clear to members and (when we allow them) visitors that they must make their own decision about the levels of precaution they wish to take , eg if two pilots fly together they negotiate things like mask wearing, deferring to the most cautious of the two.

3. Institute a rule that no-one must pressure another to reduce the precautions they wish to take.

We are deliberately not trying to protect them against the consequences of their own decisions - my view is that to do so might expose us to liability if we failed.

As it stands, the officers have no special knowledge about Covid risks above other members, so no duty to take special precautions. But we must do what we say we will.

Paying customers need further thought. I think the approach above should still be adequate, but communicating it clearly to them is more challenging (with liability risks if we fail). If we had employees, I'd be thinking even harder about them, employers give them instructions and thus do have to protect them to a higher level).
rikur_ liked this
By avtur3
rikur_ wrote: .... Some committee members/trustees/Councillors are naturally worried about being prosecuted or sued personally if as a result of reopening someone gets ill, and therefore would prefer to take the cautious approach of leave the facility/service closed, and head off down the golf club/pub....

I am having a similar discussion in relation to two car clubs I'm involved with.

The first point, how is anybody going to be able to pinpoint that their point of contact and subsequent suffering from the virus is down to one specific occasion. I don't wish to make light of it but the world-leading track and trace system we were promised on June 1st simply does not exist. So if someone becomes ill how on earth could they identify the point of contact with sufficient accuracy that it would stand up in a court of law.

Secondly, if they all head off down to the country/golf club then straight away that indicates another possible source of infection.

Put all reasonable mitigations in place and let individuals take personal responsibility for what they decide to do as a result.
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By Flyin'Dutch'

A sensible approach - what is the world coming to...
I cannot comment on the legal aspect of personal liability cover, but to reduce the chance of it being necessary the Risk Assessment that you mention is the key.

A thorough hazard analysis / risk assessment with documented and implemented mitigations should be produced and visitors encouraged to review. For a members club, this can be sent to all members and ask them to return a confirmation prior to visiting. This shifts some responsibility back to them.

Slightly different scenario, but this is what we did at work.
By johnm
Most liability cover works on the basis that if the courts find you liable then you are covered, but it's worth checking individual scenarios.

As far as Covid is concerned, as others have said reasonable documented risk assessment and related mitigation methods is essential and those should be consistent with published guidelines where they are available.

It's easy to overthink this sort of thing in the land of the ambulance chasing lawyers and the compensation culture, but simple and straightforward guidance and a clearly stated expectation of individual responsibilities to be followed should be a successful approach.
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By eltonioni
HMG has been publishing endless reams of guidance into my inbox and this one happened today.

COVID-19: Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities
Guidance for those managing community centres, village halls and other community facilities on safely re-opening multi-purpose buildings. ... =immediate

@profchrisreed here's the recreational GA page in case you haven't seen it. ... l-aviation

All of these pages are updated as and when there's something new but the easy way is to subscribe to the emails.
kanga liked this