9th September 2015
Last season British Fencing received a number of reports of clubs where fencers were not complying with its Clothing Rules, notably involving sparring in shorts at sabre.
It is therefore appropriate at the beginning of the season to remind all coaches and clubs of the need for their fencers to follow the BF Safety Guidelines and Clothing Rules, as much in the clubs as at competitions, at all weapons and in all respects.
These are to be found at:- http://britishfencing.com/uploads/files/safety_guidelines_11_dec_2014.pdf, section 4.3, 4.4 and appendix 1.
Not only does failing to comply potentially risk accident and injury but it has insurance implications.
The BF insurance brokers have reminded us that the policy is underwritten on the assumption that the clubs, coaches, officials and fencers follow the BF Safety Guidelines.
So it could be argued that, in the event of an injury, a claim of negligence against a club or coach would include an allegation that the BF Safety Guidelines were not followed in some way. And that should such an injury occur to a member who was personally in breach of the safety guidelines, e.g. by fencing in shorts, and wilfully so in breach, this would be likely to weaken his case for negligence against the club or coach, as it could be demonstrated that it was he who was negligent. But equally that, should it be shown that the club or coach knowingly allowed the breach to occur, then this would strengthen the prosecution’s case, particularly if there was a pattern of tolerance of such behaviour.
In other words failing to comply with the BF Safety Guidelines might mean that the insurers might not cover should a claim be made.
Ensuring fencers comply with the BF Safety Guidelines, and in particular the Clothing Rules, protects fencers from injury and clubs and coaches from the risk of claims of negligence.
The Safety Guidelines exist for the safety of all participants in fencing.