A golf club’s duty to ensure its staff are healthy at work

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 12, 2018 09:35 Updated

This guidance from the National Golf Clubs’ Advisory Association (NGCAA) looks at the duties employers have to ensure their staff are healthy at work.

Employers have a legal duty of care to employees to ensure health at work, as set out in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

Legal commitment

Employers have a legal duty of care to employees to ensure health at work, as set out in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. It is important for managers to reflect this duty and review their own documentation at regular intervals to confirm this is up to date.

In addition to reducing safety risks, this means operating the club in a way that minimises harm to an employee’s mental health, for example by ensuring that the demands of jobs are not unacceptable and having policies and procedures in place to support individuals experiencing mental ill health at work.

Clubs that introduce an employee well-being policy are demonstrating their commitment to maintaining the positive mental health and wellbeing of their employees. However, this is a joint responsibility between the employee and the employer, not just the responsibility of the clubs.

This article takes a look at policy objectives, club managers, employees, health promotion initiatives, training and communications, relationship with other policies and mental health awareness.

The objective of a well written policy is to demonstrate the club’s commitment to encouraging positive mental health in the workplace in the broadest, holistic sense. The policy should demonstrate that whilst the club aims to fulfil its legal obligations and responsibilities, it will also provide a range of additional services to employees, whether this be dietary information, access to information on how to stop smoking, workshops on alcohol consumption, weight management, testing for diabetes, dementia awareness etc.

Wellbeing, reduced absenteeism and performance are linked so by improving an employee’s access to information surrounding their health the club can increase profitability, retention rates and reduce absence levels.

Club managers

Club managers are integral to this role. Managers should implement strategic measures to minimise the risks to employee wellbeing, particularly from negative pressure at work. Managers must familiarise themselves with the Health and Safety Executive’s stress management standards, and use these to mitigate psychological risks in their teams. For example, managers should ensure that employees understand their role within the team and receive the necessary information and support from managers and team members to do their job. Managers must also familiarise themselves with the club’s policies on diversity and tackling inappropriate behaviour in order to support staff, for example on bullying and harassment issues.

In particular, managers must ensure that they take steps to reduce the risks to employee health and wellbeing by:

  • ensuring that the right people are recruited to the right jobs and that a good match is obtained between individuals recruited and job descriptions;
  • keeping employees in the team up to date with developments at work and how these might affect their job and workload;
  • ensuring that employees know who to approach with problems concerning their role and how to pursue issues with senior management; and
  • making sure jobs are designed fairly and that work is allocated appropriately between teams;
  • making reasonable adjustments when a health issue arises.


Employees must take responsibility for managing their own health and well-being, by adopting good health behaviours (for example in relation to diet, alcohol consumption and smoking) and informing the club if they believe work or the work environment poses a risk to their health. Any health-related information disclosed by an employee during discussions with managers must be treated in confidence.

Health promotion initiatives

There are a number of additional health promotion initiatives that managers can implement to raise awareness of health and lifestyle issues affecting mental health and wellbeing. Such programmes could cover stress management, disability awareness, bullying and harassment, lifestyle behaviours and physical activity and fitness.

Employees should be encouraged to establish clubs and groups designed to foster well-being, for example lunchtime walking or cycling clubs.

Training and communications

Managers and employees should be encouraged to participate in communication / feedback exercises, including stress audits and staff surveys. All employees are expected to be aware of the importance of effective communication and to use the media most appropriate to the message, for example team meetings and one-to-one meetings.

If employees believe that their work, or some aspect of it, is putting their well-being at risk they should, in the first instance, speak to their manager. The discussion should cover workload and other aspects of job demands, and raise issues such as identified training needs.

Discussions between employees and their managers should always remain confidential. If it is necessary to seek professional health the manager should seek authority to either write to the employee’s GP or to refer them to an occupational health advisor. This will allow the manager to assess the employee’s continued fitness to work and implement any recommended adaptations to the working environment.

Other measures available to support employees in maintaining health and wellbeing might include:

  • procedures for reporting and handling inappropriate behaviour (for example bullying and harassment);
  • subsidised gym / sports facilities via local sources;
  • special leave arrangements;
  • opportunities for flexible working;
  • support for workers with disabilities; and
  • utilisation of the club’s grievance policy.

Relationship with other policies

The employee well-being policy should be designed in conjunction with other policies and procedures covering attendance and health, including policies on special leave, flexible working, the management of short and long-term absence, sick pay, bullying and harassment, equal opportunities and staff training and development.

Mental health awareness

It is also helpful to train managers in mental health awareness so that they are equipped to recognise the signs of mental health issues and how to provide the necessary support and / or implement adjustments.

The NGCAA provides support, advice and guidance – from start to resolution – on all legal matters impacting upon both proprietary and private members’ golf clubs. 


Alistair Smith, the chief executive, is based in the office and is on-hand to offer advice and support. 

The National Golf Clubs’ Advisory Association (NGCAA)

The Threshing Barn, Homme Castle Barns,

Shelsley Walsh, Worcestershire, WR6 6RR

Tel: 01886 812943

email info@ngcaa.co.uk



Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 12, 2018 09:35 Updated
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1 Comment

  1. Jim March 11, 10:28

    Hi Jenny/Alistair

    Great post and its good to see people are finally taking mental health and health in general at work seriously. As someone that works in health care (health insurance to be exact) I can’t tell you how happy that makes me feel!

    Great website you have here. Keep up the fantastic work.


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