Sports Massage Therapy Legal Obligations

Health, safety, hygiene and protection are essential in the work place, and even more so in a sports massage environment. The law demands every work place is safe and healthy for employees and clients.

There are a handful of laws which must be followed including:

The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) provides the comprehensive underlying legal framework to encourage, promote and maintain high standards of health and safety. To ensure businesses are actively achieving this, the employer must:

-Complete risk assessments

-Consult with everyone at harm in the workplace

-Provide hygienic facilities

-Report and record injuries as appropriate

-Have appropriate insurance cover

These aspects all promote health and safety which is a main legal requirement of any organisation.

Manual Handling Operations Regulations (1992, amended 2002) draws attention to musculoskeletal disorders caused by manual handling, lifting, repetitive strain disorders and unsuitable postures. The Operations Regulations outline measures which should be taken to reduce these disorders. When working as a Sports Massage Therapist (SMT), it is essential to minimise the risk of handling injuries. A SMT must be able to discuss the law as well as future lifting techniques to reduce future injury.

Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations (1981) regulates that there must be appropriate first aid treatment, along with a first-aider at all times, in the event of an emergency. The minimum first aid provision includes:

-A fully stocked first aid kit

-An appointed individual to take charge of the first aid kit

-Clear indication as to where the first aid kit is located

This meaning a mobile SMT would need to be a fully qualified first aider, along with carrying their own first aid kit.

Data Protection Act (1998) regulates the processing, usage and storage of personal data recorded electronically or on hard copy. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) ensure that all data is used and stored ethically, as well as being kept confidential. SMT organisations will most likely have to register with the ICO, as they work with many external clients and process personal data in both paper and electronic formats.  SMT client records must be:

-Stored for 8 years if the client is an adult

-If the client is a child, it should be kept until their 25th birthday- 26th birthday if the client was 17 when treatment ended

-If on paper, should be secured immediately after use and not left out

-If stored electronically, should be password protected and have back-up systems with the same security strength.

Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act (1969) ensure there is appropriate insurance covering accidents, or ill health.

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (2002) ensures employers must take precautions against the risk of hazardous substances. This includes checking both the therapist and client aren’t allergic to any substances which may be found within any lotion used during the massage.

Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (1998) ensures employers must have equipment and machinery which is safe to use and adequately maintained. This includes the massage bed which will be used.

If you’re interested in becoming a Sports Massage Therapist, please follow this link- becoming a Sports Massage Therapist

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