Risk Assessments

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AliceB
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Risk Assessments

Post by AliceB »

Does anyone know of any useful resources (other than the wonderful UKRGB of course) for writing risk assessments?

Have been asked to write several site spacific risk assessments recently...yawn!

zezayer
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Post by zezayer »

If they are kayaking related, the bcu dont like them and will support you if you say that the risk will be assessed in situ (dynamic risk assessments) and thats all you need to do :)
- Im trying to remember full story from student safety thing but i cant sorry (anyone else remember?)
Maybe e-mail the bcu for more info.

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Tom_Laws
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Post by Tom_Laws »

Problem is schools and whatnot still want bits of paper to wave.

Tom

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pwilkinson
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Post by pwilkinson »

Yeah, thats what they said at the student safety weekend, you can't write one because due to things like water levels its always different. This means that you risk assess as you paddle making them dynamic. They said if anyone has a problem with this to put them in touch with the BCU and they would support you fully.

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Post by bib_bob_euroslap »

yea, theres too many things going on that change so dynamic risk assessment is needed, but there are also things that will remain constant!

So what we do with out Uni club risk assessments is state what all the constant risks are, e.g. coldness and hypothermia, dehydration, injuries from innappropriate clothing etc etc. but we also include the fact that dynamic risk assessments will have to be carried out on the trip also.

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Patrick Clissold
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Post by Patrick Clissold »

I have a great risk assessment (can risk assessments be great?) for my expedition proposal written by Mr Robt. Its a good kayaking orientated one. I could email you it if you like.

RAO Cumbria
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Risk Assessments

Post by RAO Cumbria »

Mark Davies
BCU Regional Access Officer - Cumbria
cumbriaaccess@aol.com

Support the rivers access campaign
www.riversaccess.org

Bertie..
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Post by Bertie.. »

Alice,

I'm a risk manager when at work, and I ran a session at the last Wessex Coaching Forum on risk assessment - both static and dynamic risk assessment. If you let me have your email I can send you the slides that I used to present the topic and we can discuss further.

For those who think you can only do dynamic risk assessment, I'd argue that you can't do a dynamic risk assessment until you understand the generic risks involved i.e. have done a static risk assessment.

Dynamic risk assessment is little more than knowing and observing key risk indicators, key control indicators and key performance indicators - all driven by an understanding of the generic risks and your objectives, and then overlaying the changing situation on your static assessment e.g. 'normally we'd run this weir guys, but today, the level's a bit high, little Johnny's already swam and half of us have forgotten our throwlines'. The risks are still the same, the probability and impact have changed.

But let's not for a moment start thinking that a static risk assessment is the act of completing a formal document, that's nothing more than documentation of your earlier risk assessment.

Finally, there's a big difference between you as a coach undertaking dynamic risk assessment on the water, and your employer/university/club asking for a static risk assessment to be performed. One protects you, the other protects the employer/university/club from you.

I'm thinking of turning my presentation into some formal guidance employers/clubs/universities/coaches as part of a project I have to undertake for the BCU - would anyone find this useful??

Happy to discuss further, if you can afford my consultancy rates!! ;-)

Bertie..

Dave Thomas
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Post by Dave Thomas »

Bertie.. wrote:I'm thinking of turning my presentation into some formal guidance employers/clubs/universities/coaches as part of a project I have to undertake for the BCU - would anyone find this useful??
Yes please!! (from this club coach, anyway)

It sounds from what you have said as though it is a more sensible and useable framework than anything else I have seen to date - from the BCU or elsewhere.

Indeed, I am only sorry that the BCU didn't see fit to publicise that Wessex forum throughout the SW region (that's an on-going bone of contention, incidentally!) - I would probably have attended that Forum on the strength of such a session alone!

Dave Thomas

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Post by Bertie.. »

if there's interest - I can re-run the session at the next forum (in Weymouth, March 26th). Fortunately, it's one of those sessions that only needs 3 or 4 to make it worthwhile so it can be slotted in really easy.

I'll have a chat with Paul Hurrell, the organiser, and see if it's possible to get the space.

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Post by Bertie.. »

a number of people have contacted me already about my slides - wow, should have charged a fee for them!

They're on my laptop at home. I'll dig them out tonight and either email them around, or make them available via my website - either way, I'll post here.

If you're interested, email me at graham dot beckram @ portman dot co dot uk. I won't reply (believe it or not my day job is starting to get in the way), but I will get them to you.

If you've pm'd me, I've already added you to the list.

Cheers,

Bertie..

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james fleming
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Post by james fleming »

Alice

Written Risk Assessments are required by law. This comes from the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

‘Dynamic Risk Assessments’ originated from the fire service. They claimed that you can’t write a risk assessment for fighting a fire as the situation changed all the time. Fact is, that in most fires and situations about 90% can be foreseen. The dynamic approach as opposed to written risk assessments wont stand up in a court of law. This has been tested in a number of cases.

It is the same in canoeing. All of the hazards are evident and risks emanating from them. It’s the actual thinking about it and writing this down that is confusing.

As for the BCU position, I don’t know. However, if they were as professional as any other organisation, I do not think they would argue against written risk assessments.

Don’t know about the “…yawn!” part.

It is through bad planning and poor risk assessment that people can be injured.

This has been highlighted from a number of school outings where a fatal outcome occurred and the leading person has mentioned “I didn’t think about…”

Some information on a trip going wrong is highlighted on the HSE web site at http://www.hse.gov.uk/schooltrips/

If you need information on writing risk assessments or where to start check out http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg163.pdf which is widely used for information to writing risk assessments.

If you want a hand or more information let me know and Ill help out…

James

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Post by Steve B »

Another little point to bear in mind - 90% of the things you do to to run a river trip happen off the water. Selecting the venue, choosing and checking equipment, planning transport, informing management/school/coastguard/whoever of your plans, deciding what experience/skills the participants need, communicating with them prior to the trip, choosing the right people to assist, checking the weather forecast... and so on and so on. Many of those feed into a risk assessment.
Steve Balcombe

Bertie..
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Post by Bertie.. »

James, am I right in thinking that the fire service dynamic risk assessment is focussed on the safe person concept, i.e. if you can't ensure a safe place (or at least one in which the threats to life are not constantly changing) then you should ensure that you have safe people?

Hopefully, as coaches we should be selecting venues in which the nature of the threats to life are not dynamically changing. I don't mean that the river shouldn't change as we progress down it, but instead that a section of a river e.g. a rapid isn't changing it's nature as quickly as a burning house would (putting aside the speed some rivers can flash flood in!)

dwill
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Post by dwill »

Alice,
Plas y brenin have a risk assessment that you can download
from their website.
Click on "information" then "downloads".
hope this helps.

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james fleming
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Post by james fleming »

Bertie, not sure on that one. Not taking anything away from this thread…I did hear that the HSE were so against dynamic risk assessment they took one of the fire authorities to task on it.

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Post by Bertie.. »

Hi James, I'd heard similar. I think the point the HSE were making was that dynamic risk assessment is a great tool for managing incidents on the ground, where people were being put into very dangerous and ever changing scenarios (which lets face it is fairly unique - although other rescue groups use it to), but it doesn't protect the employer from claims.

One of the things I'm keen to get across to people when talking on the subject is that risk assessment is largely about context, i.e. the risks we manage as coaches on the river, are different to the risks faced by the employer/club/uni when allowing us to take groups on the river.

Ona river we can dynamically risk assess (though I think we tend to do this in a different manner to the fire service concept of dynamic risk assessment). However, the uni/club/employer will be expected to do a static risk assessment on whether or not that activity should occur in the first place, who should lead, what quals they should have, what kit they take, what contactg details they have etc.

Classic example is health & safety risk assessment - if anyone thinks it's done by an employer to protect their people they're highly mistaken, it's done to protect the firm from proscecution. Similarly, fire safety in an employer is done to protect the firm, not the individual....

damn, I'm beginning to sound like a risk assessment anorak.. someone shoot me!!

Jstoppy
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Risk Assessment

Post by Jstoppy »

What a great discussion so far, our club too are going through the Risk Assessment (RA) debate. As mentioned earlier RA in clubs are different and dynamic RAs are not enough to discharge our duty of care especially as Chair. Thanks I learning lots and it is aiding my decision making process.

I do hope that Bertie is able to publish any advise or guidance.

A topic I wish to bring to this forum is the use of Route Cards (as per Mountain Leader Award), to identfy the permanaent hazards on any river trip, ie. drops, obstructions, weirs, emergency get outs, timings, dawn/dusk etc. The route card them forms the basis of a written risk assessment with all the generic issues of Transport, Personal Protective Equipment, protection and skill level, added. This is where this Guide book ( a great resource to us all) as been invaluable in there production.

I tend to hand these out to all members of the paddling group before the trip, so an informed decision can be reached on whether to run the river/drops etc or more importantly educates new coaches/guides and paddlers to the risks. More over it is great to demonstrate to parents/guardians that we have considered the known hazards/risks and emergency action and that we are taking all reasonable steps, considering the nature of the hazards we play with.

Site risk assessements are broken in to two parts, building and river coaching, all classed as home water.

Remember, from a club point of view, once written all thats needed is a review and update the Route Card & General Risk Assessment before you do the trip, which I believe a court would judge as reasonable. I agree with Bertie that then the club is protected and our coaches understand the process we wish them to follow. Remembering from my training so far it is for us as leaders to prove reasonable care and documents, like those mentioned above, unfortunatly are your evidence in compensation society we are moving towards.

I hope this helps with your debates, and look forward to the replies.

JOhn S

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Adrian Cooper
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Post by Adrian Cooper »

That all seems like a good plan and aids confidence building but I am still not clear as to the rejection of dynamic risk assessments.

We have a basic plan, we produce a Route Card which labels all of the more awkward drops, we check the internet for latest hazards and we try to get an understanding of the water levels. But when we get half way down the river we find a tree down blocking the route. At this point we need the dynamic element and it really does not make sense to get out a form and start filling it in.

Further, every guidebok worth itssalt will advise of the likelihood of changes to river features after storms and this could well make the Route Cards redundant. Again the dynamic assessment comes into play once you get there.

I just don't think you can carry out a complete assessment from the comfort of your living room.

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Post by Bertie.. »

Adrian, I think you've hit the nail on the head. Dynamic risk assessment is a tactical risk assessment of specific problem that you encounter, often arising from a change to the situation. It is a tool in your armoury, but not the only tool, and it certainly woulnd't stop the club from being held liable. A static risk assessment is more of a strategic tool, i.e. it should be used to risk assess whether the activity should be undertaken in the first place.

For example, I could static risk assess taking a group of novices on the Upper Dart, without needing to commence the river trip. If I didn't, but then took a group of novices down the upper Dart, no amount of arguing that I was dynamically risk assessing on the way down would help me out if little Johnny (a close relative to John Doe) didn't come home. The question would be - what was I doing there in the first place?

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Post by PO8 Paddler »

look at this generic RA, Its a start ?

http://www.expeditionkayak.com/risk.php

Rgds

steg
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Post by steg »

PO8 Paddler wrote:look at this generic RA, Its a start ?

http://www.expeditionkayak.com/risk.php
That's a very specific risk assessment for a particular person doing a particular journey. Even then I would say that it is overly long and detailed.

Bearing in mind that I come from a outdoor centre background, I try to keep written risk assessments as general as possible so that it can apply to different groups, doing different activities and being lead by different people without having to generate reams of paper.

Some 90% of a RA is the same regardless of the location and even then hazards can be dealt with on a fairly generic basis, eg:
open water: wind, waves, other water users, ...
rivers: access down steep banks, obstructions across river, ...

Ste

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Post by bib_bob_euroslap »

steg wrote:
PO8 Paddler wrote:look at this generic RA, Its a start ?

http://www.expeditionkayak.com/risk.php
That's a very specific risk assessment for a particular person doing a particular journey. Even then I would say that it is overly long and detailed.

Bearing in mind that I come from a outdoor centre background, I try to keep written risk assessments as general as possible so that it can apply to different groups, doing different activities and being lead by different people without having to generate reams of paper.

Some 90% of a RA is the same regardless of the location and even then hazards can be dealt with on a fairly generic basis, eg:
open water: wind, waves, other water users, ...
rivers: access down steep banks, obstructions across river, ...

Ste
Yes its a very person specific RA but it wouldnt be hard at all to change it into a group RA. The control measures should just be kept brief perhaps, but it does cover a lot!!!

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Jerry Murland
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Post by Jerry Murland »

I offered Alice B the risk assessment I wrote for my own operation on the Wye, I had no reply so I presume it was not required. A thank you would have been nice though!
May every dip of your paddle lead to a rediscovery of yourself

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james fleming
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Post by james fleming »

Dude...she might be busssy or out long term boating....unpluged for a while.

Chris Bolton
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Risk Assessment is a process

Post by Chris Bolton »

From discussions I've had with HSE and others in my field of work (structural engineering, not paddling) the important point about a Risk Assessment is doing it, not writing it. The HSE booklet doesn't require a written assessment per se, it just requires a written record that you've done one.

You might say the distinction is pedantic; it's not meant to be. I've seen risk assessments which aren't worth the paper they're written on, because the author set out to:

- produce a piece of paper

instead of

- working out what the risks are and how to eliminate or manage them, and then recording the outcome

I don't know if this view has been expressed in outdoor activity risk assessment, but I don't see why it's not just as valid.

Chris

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james fleming
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Post by james fleming »

Chris,

Risk Assessment (RA), whether writing or implementing them is always controversial.

Some peoples view on health and safety is;

· Cost!
· What are you talking about! That wont happen here!
· I don’t really know what you are talking about?…

Some people forget that RA, is a two way (some times more) vehicle. More that one people can contribute to it.

What I can tell you for fact is that your HSE booklet (you never mentioned the name) might not have the specifics on RA but it is covered, as mentioned in my previous post, under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

Employers are, legally, required to provide written RA’s by law. No ifs, buts or maybes. Must!

The piece of paper outlines, for example, what the hazard is (water), who it might affect (the group that are taking part in the lesson), preventative precautions (PFD), record what you have done (on a bit of paper) and review, if necessary. This is one RA for water. Add on other factors such as temperature etc it builds up.

From some one in the construction industry I am a bit surprised your outlook is not a bit more proactive. After all, there are more deaths in the construction industry than any where else, specifically those who fall from height and you work in the structural engineering.
Don’t think I am imp[lying anything I am not.

AliceB
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Post by AliceB »

Jerry Murland wrote:I offered Alice B the risk assessment I wrote for my own operation on the Wye, I had no reply so I presume it was not required. A thank you would have been nice though!



I'm sorry Jerry but I have been away on a Canoe trip with school which has taken up an incredible amount of my time which means I have been off line for several days, so thanks to James Fleming for leaping to my rescue on that front!



thanks to all of you who have replied...I will be checking out all your hints and web sites. There looks to be a wealth of information out there.



Those of you who've offered help and want to e-mail me stuff this would be much appreciated, you can e-mail me on edp2f5@bangor.ac.uk

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Written or done

Post by Chris Bolton »

James,

Woah! I think you've picked up the wrong message. What you say about cost, won't happen here, etc, is all true, but it doesn't relate to what I wrote.

What I'm trying to say is that to do an effective RA, the focus needs to be on doing the assessment, not writing it up, as it often seems to be. I'm not for a minute suggesting that anyone pays less attention to RA, just that a lot of current effort may be misdirected. I'm challenging the culture behind writing risk assessments, because it's not working, and it's failing to reduce accidents.

The HSE publication I meant was the one you linked, that's why I didn't name it. It doesn't say you have to do a written RA, it does say you have to have a written record that you did an RA, and what the hazards and conclusions were. Yes, you still have to have a piece of paper, but that's not the point of the exercise.

The piece of law you quote goes into great detail about what the RA must include, and I'm not disagreeing with that. All it says about writing that down is "Where the employer employs five or more employees, he shall record - (a) the significant findings of the assessment; and (b) any group of his employees identified by it as being especially at risk." That's the full text on writing it down. In practice, a lot of so called RAs that I've seen are filled with insignificant findings which do nothing but mask the real issues. I'm not saying people do that deliberately to hide the real issues; the problem is that they're hiding them from themselves as well. Maybe this doesn't happen in your field?

I could take offence at your last para (but I won't because I obviously didn't make my point clearly!); nowhere was I suggesting cutting corners or being less safe. Quite the opposite, I'm trying to be proactive. If you talk to HSE construction inspectors you'll probably get the same reaction to RA as mine.

Chris

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james fleming
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Post by james fleming »

Chris,

Very sorry…didn’t mean to get at you.

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