I’m a new Safety Officer, what do I need to know?

The primary purpose of a safety certificate is to set the safe capacity of a designated ground or of a regulated stand at a non–designated ground. In addition to setting the safe capacity the safety certificate will set out the detailed terms and conditions with which the certificate holder must comply if that capacity is to be maintained.

Safety certificates are issued by the local authority. Depending on the area in which the sports ground is located the local authority will be either the county council, unitary authority, metropolitan or London borough.

The Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds (Green Guide) provides detailed guidance on calculating how many spectators can be safely accommodated within the viewing accommodation of a sports ground. The Guide also provides advice on measures to improve safety at sports grounds.

Although the Guide has no statutory force many of its recommendation will be given the force of law at individual grounds by their inclusion in the safety certificate for that ground.

To assist the local authorities discharge their functions under the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 (1975 Act), at grounds at which designated football matches are played, the SGSA has produced Safety Certification, which provides a single source of reference on the safety certification process, monitoring and enforcement.

Check the regulations

Which parts of a ground should be covered by a Safety Certificate?

The terms and conditions of the safety certificate should cover all areas to which the spectators have access, including restaurants, licensed bars, and concourses.

What is a Safety Certificate?

Under the provisions of the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 (the 1975 Act), county councils, unitary authorities, metropolitan or London boroughs are responsible for issuing and enforcing a safety certificates in respect of any sports ground in their area which has been designated by the Secretary of State.

Monitoring Local Authorities

The SGSA has published guidance on Safety Certification which provides a single source of reference on the principles and procedures governing the safety certification of sports grounds. The SGSA uses this document as a yardstick when keeping under review local authorities which come within its regulatory oversight.

Insight

Reflections on the Hillsborough Inquest verdict

SGSA Chief Executive Karen Eyre-White reflects on the verdicts of the Hillsborough Inquests

Terrorism, Technology and Thinking – Key messages for Venue Safety

In this blog, Head of Inspectorate Ken Scott reflects on the challenges for modern stadiums.

What’s new in the 6th edition of the Green Guide?

The new Green Guide is launched in late 2018. This page details what is different from the 5th version. Further details is provided in the Guide itself.

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News

Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds

The new edition of the Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds is now available.

Government review of evidence relating to the all-seater policy

Government has recently announced that it will commission an external analysis of evidence relating to the all-seater policy. Its aim is that initial analysis work will be completed by the end of 2018.

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Tools and resources

Guide to Safety Certification

This guidance updates and supersedes the guidance on safety certification issued by the Football Licensing Authority (FLA) in 2001.

Standing in Seated Areas

In this paper, from 2013, we examine the nature and causes of spectators standing in seated areas at Premier and Football League grounds.

Model Safety Certificate

You can download a template for a safety certificate here

Safety Advisory Group – Terms of Reference Checklist

Certifying authorities considering whether to make changes to the SAG Terms of Reference as a result of the wider understanding of safety may find this checklist helpful.

Safety Management

Safety management at sports grounds has steadily become more sophisticated and more professional over the past twenty years. “Safety Management” draws together good practice on safety personnel, safety management procedures, event management and preparing for incidents.

National Occupational Standards for Steward Training

The National Occupational Standards (NOS) for Spectator Safety are standards which set out the skills, knowledge and experience needed to work in spectator safety.

Concourses

Concourses draws upon the views and experience of safety officers, leading stadia architects and engineers in addition to the survey work of the Core Cities group of local authorities. It examines how floor space factors are applied in other similar venues and contains clear advice on concourse occupancy levels and floor space factors which will provide an invaluable source of information for sports ground managers, designers, safety advisors and interested agencies when upgrading existing or designing new facilities at sports grounds.

Safety Certificate Checklist

This checklist may be helpful for certifying authorities when checking safety certificates for possible changes as a result of the wider understanding of safety

Guidance

Reducing slip hazards on concourses

Advice and guidance on reducing slip hazards on concourses. with links to additional guidance via the Health and Safety Executive website.

Counter-terrorism in sports grounds

For a number of years the UK has been at a threat level of severe (an attack is highly likely) and ground management should have developed plans that are in place to provide protective security appropriate to that level.

Advice on Drones

You may be familiar with the scenes from the Partizan stadium during the Serbia v Albania Euro 2016 qualifying game, when a drone carrying a pro-Albanian flag landed on the pitch. The violence that ensued both on the pitch and in the stands is a reminder of how quickly situations can change.

What does Zone Ex mean?

In the planning, design and management of sports grounds it may be helpful to consider the circulation area in terms of zones.

What are P and S factors

The safe capacity of a sports ground should take account of both its physical condition and its safety management. These are known as the (P) factor and the (S) factor respectively.

Can I hire Stewards whilst they are still training?

Yes. If they have undertaken all aspects of relevant familiarisation and induction training they may start work accompanied by a qualified steward.

What are the alternatives to level 2 NVQ in spectator safety?

In order for a qualification to be an acceptable alternative it must cover all of the National Occupational Standards for Spectator Safety, include an assessment of occupational competence by a qualified assessor and be issued by an awarding organisation regulated by Ofqual

How to calculate the safe capacity of a sports ground?

The responsibility for calculating the safe capacity of a ground rests with the ground management. Where any part or parts of a ground are covered by a safety certificate issued by the local authority the capacity calculated by ground management should be reviewed by the local authority and if validated included in the safety certificate. Further information and detail is available in the Green Guide.

When should the first annual inspection and structural appraisal be undertaken at a new, or recently completed, stadium?

It is usual that the safety certificate or operations manual will require ground management to obtain every 12 months , a report from a competent person that the structural elements have been inspected and found to be adequate.

What they're saying

“Fan safety at sports grounds is paramount. The world looks to us as an example of how to manage risks and improve safety records and this guide will continue to contribute to that legacy.”

Rt Hon Jeremy Wright MP, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport