Further Important Notes

Some societies pay, or may be considering paying, for "Public Liability cover" through the operators (e.g. local authority, school, church or community) of the venues where they meet.

Affiliiates are recommended to check the terms of that arrangement very carefully and establish exactly what risks are covered. Although you will probably be well protected from accidents happening as a result of problems with "the fabric" of the venue e.g. roofs, walls, electrics, plumbing, chairs, etc., for which the owner will be responsible, there may be circumstances in which an Affiliate itself may be still be called upon to reimburse the owner's insurance company if the Society itself has been found to be negligent in any way. If there is any doubt, it is recommended that you seek a full disclaimer from the operator.

It will be noted that on both schemes, the policy requires that the "insured" takes reasonable precautions to minimise losses and avoid risks that might give rise to legal responsibility for injury to persons and damage to property.

Most affiliates meet for a couple of hours per week/fortnight/month and use equipment that generally operates at modest levels of voltage, and furthermore is usually in constant attendance for that duration.

There are no specific edicts as to what "reasonable precautions" should be but it has been determined in discussion with our broker that minimum precautions should be as follows.
At each meeting, a responsible society officer should check for badly sited cables and ensure that only experienced people should connect and operate the equipment. At regular intervals an officer should also check all other visible points of concern eg frayed cables, damaged extension leads, loose connections, damaged plugs, scorch marks on equipment, etc. It would helpful if evidence of having conducted these inspections was minuted in the official records of the society.

It is not necessary in order to secure the effectiveness of the insurance policy for the equipment itself to be inspected and thus there is no need eg to take the case off an amplifier and check inside.
Of course, affiliates might wish to have assurances beyond the mere existence of the insurance policy and take more comforting precautions for the protection of their members and visitors by having a proper inspection of the equipment either by suitably experienced members of their group eg a radio technician or an electrician or maybe by an external professional. This is their choice but not doing so will not invalidate the insurance!

If affiliates' equipment is complex or of particularly high value, then they might wish to consider undertaking a basic level of portable appliance testing (PAT). This was designed for the testing of heavier duty workplace appliances but, despite being fairly expensive for most affiliates to undertake, it may be appropriate for specific circumstances.

Use of a residual current device (RCD)(such as those used to protect ourselves from rampant lawnmowers) might represent an additional precaution to protect against voltage interruptions or surges that lead to general electronic problems.

Finally, affiliates should be aware that some hirers of venues include in their conditions of hire a requirement for any equipment used on their premises to have been tested. If a simple assurance that affiliates' equipment had been inspected and was in good working order was not accepted by the authorities then there would seem to be no choice but to follow whatever requirements were being imposed. This would ensure that later problems did not arise with insurers on the grounds that the society had not complied with the landlord's conditions of hire.

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