Dorchester Town FC Safety Certificate – What you should 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. In the case of Dorchester Town the issuing authority is Dorset County Council. The County Council have created and chair a Safety Advisory Group that is formed by a mixture of organisations,

· Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue
· Dorset County Council Health and Safety Department
· Mechanical and Electrical Engineer
· Local Building Control
· West Dorset District Council Building Control
· South Western Ambulance Service NHS foundation trust
· Dorset Police

These people meet on a regular basis to discuss the safe operation of the local sports clubs, Weymouth, Poole Town, Wimborne Town and Dorchester Town.

On their first visit in November 2017, we as a club, were not in possession of a valid safety certificate, the one we had expired in 2012 post the Plymouth Argyle Fixture. For whatever reasons the annual safety inspections hadn’t been carried out within our area.

The Safety Advisory Group carried out an audit on our Football Club and its stadium. This Audit looked at everything from the health and safety of our match day operations and our day to day operation. The Stadium was inspected structurally, Mechanically and electrically as well as safety in respect of a Fire Risk, both when empty and on a match day.

From this Audit DTFC were presented with an action plan of hazards and fails which we needed to rectify within 1 month, and a list that need to be rectified within 3 months. This list compiled of 63 faults and hazards, 22 needed to be completed within the month and 37 needed to be completed in the 3-month window from their visit. On the positive note we passed 4 of the hazards inspected.

Failure to rectify these hazards would have resulted in sections of the stadium being closed down and an inability to hire the venue out until we had completed the list.

The Majority of these Actions, as a fan visiting the stadium on matchdays, you would probably not be able to notice, however following a Site visit for an audit of how we operate on our match days, the Safety Advisory Group highlighted an extensive list of actions which we needed to comply with.

This list was made up of the following:

· Pre-match risk assessment of our opponents. – sent to Dorset police
· Pre-match safety briefings – sent to Dorset Police
· Increase in safety stewards
· Appointment of a safety officer
· Removal of clutter from around the ground.
· Rectification of damaged or missing seats in the main stand
· Signage to highlight emergency exits around stadium
· Painting of all steps yellow around the stadium
· Fire doors to not be held open
· PA System to be audited every fixture
· Crush barriers to be pressure tested
· Perimeter walls both pitch side and stadium perimeter to be structurally certified
· Walkways to be kept clear around the stadium
· No Alcohol to be consumed behind the goals
· No bottles to be sold with lids on
· No sale of cans
· Post-match de briefing of stewarding team
· Post-match report sent to Dorset police feeding back on matchday.

Following the installation of the 3G surface it was advised by Tiger Turf, our pitch supplier, that we need to make the stadium a ‘non-smoking stadium’ and a ‘no chewing gum zone’, both of these can result in the warranty being reduced.

As a safety stewarding team, it is easier to police the no smoking rule if we made the stadium a no vaping stadium also. As from a distance it is difficult to tell the difference between smoking and vaping. As a safety team we felt it would be appropriate to allow fans to move to the site designated smoking area to smoke during half time, this doesn’t have to be done it is a gesture from the club to its fans.

If at any-time the Safety Advisory Group visit our stadium which they will do unknown to us and we are deemed to be not following our rules the named responsible person on the safety certificate can be fined £5,000 per failure and also the club will be fined per fault also, and more importantly the club could find it has sections of the stadium closed down, or worse the whole stadium closed down.

This is something that has happened to other clubs: Hereford have had a stand closed by the local Safety advisory Group and Slough were delayed opening their new stadium due to failing to meet with the safety requirements.

Every fans safety and experience when visiting our stadium is of ultimate importance to us all.

Document Download (pdf).