Your club may own a wide variety of safety-critical equipment for use by your members. Whatever gear you have and whatever system is in use to lend it out to members, your club has a responsibility to take reasonable steps to ensure that equipment is reasonably safe for use by members.
While this may seem daunting if you have a large amount of gear to keep track of, by making sure you have a good system of record keeping in place you can greatly reduce the amount of work involved. Remember, student clubs often have a high membership turnover; how will future committees know when to retire all the new gear you buy this year?
Your club should have a record of age and usage of all your club’s pooled equipment, as well as records of any inspections, which should be done periodically by a responsible person. Consider setting a retire-by date for new gear, in line with manufacturer recommendations. When you have to retire gear because it is damaged or too old, make sure you properly dispose of it so it can’t make its way back into the system.
Make sure your gear is stored somewhere secure, dry and away from any chemicals that may damage it. Access is important, can you always know where your gear has been if anyone from the club can take gear whenever they like?
Your members should know how to check whether equipment is safe before using it. Point them in the right direction of expert advice if they are unsure (guides below!) and consider a code of conduct for your members who borrow pooled gear.
Much of this information comes from the Club Equipment guideline, available on the BMC website, where you can find much more detailed information on these issues to point you in the right direction.
The BMC also provides a wealth of technical information on the correct care and use of many types of safety-critical equipment. It publishes the comprehensive Care & Maintenance booklet as well as individual guides to specific kinds of kit, essential reading for all new kit secs!
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