Monthly Archives: June 2014

Expedition and Field Safety – BS8848 Updates

Cambodia Angkor Wat Sunset smallerA few newsletters back we reported on the conference to launch the updated BS 8848  – the key document in risk and emergency management and field safety.  We are pleased to say that BSi have made further details and information available from that conference so we thought we would share a few notes from each of the speakers for anyone who couldn’t make it…

Dan Palmer…

welcomed the nearly 130 attendees and explained the rigorous review process to make sure the standard retained its relevance and usefulness.

Alistair Macdonald…

made the keynote address, singling out the requirement for informed consent. but also noting that the legal and moral responsibility rests with expedition organizers. “We can’t put the problem at a third-world supplier’s door,” he said. Macdonald emphasized that every trip is different, and that “the devil is in the detail.”

Shane Winser…

explained that the committee had looked at incidents from the last decade. “We know things go wrong. We need to learn and plan from that,” she said. Work had also been done to make the standard easier to use: it has gone from 65 pages to 39; clauses have been regrouped and consolidated; and it focuses on key processes in a logical order of planning, implementation and review.   For more details on what has changed, see our blog

Peter Harvey…

explained that the standard is there to enable people to take risks, to help them understand their responsibilities, and who is taking care of them. “We all want to keep people safe,” he said. “The standard supplies a tool to do that, making sure that everything is clearly communicated, and in particular that senior managers see what is happening on the front line”.

To see more details and a full review of all the details of the speakers and how BS8848 has changed see our first aid and field safety blog and you can see BSi’s full summary of the event BSI-managing-risk-in-overseas-adventurous-activities-event-summary-UK-EN.

If its time for you to update your risk managementwater safetyfield safety or outdoor first aid skills then just get in touch.

Are your hill skills up to this new challenge…

This is really a new one on all of us in the office, but two walkers trapped in a forest of rhododendron plants really made for an unusual mountain rescue situation!

hill skills

The spread of non-native rhodedendron plants has been hotly debated on environmental grounds but it looks like there is a whole new mountain safety and hill skills element we hadn’t considered!


Gabon themed field safety and outdoor first aid quiz

We are busy packing and preparing for one of our team to head off to Gabon for ten days of first aid trainingrisk assessment and emergency management and remote worker support for a new project starting up out there.  So since it’s been a while since our last refresher quiz – what better than a little Gabon themed quiz to top up your outdoor first aid and field safety skills…

Field safety and outdoor first aid quiz

Field safety and outdoor first aid quiz


Question 1

You are managing a remote field camp in Gabon.  One of your team takes a big fall whilst scrambling on a rocky outcrop, twenty minutes walk from the camp.  They land on their front, they are unresponsive but you can detect breathing.  You are on your own with no phone reception… what would you do?


The answer is… it depends! What it mainly depends on is are they now in a STABLE, OPEN, DRAINING AIRWAY position – if so, you could make them safe, protect from the elements and go to find help.  However if they are not, you would have to adjust the position to ensure their airway and breathing is maintained whilst you are away.  Move them as little as possible, support the head and neck – but you must make sure their airway will be maintained whilst you are away from them.

Question 2

You are working in a remote field area of Gabon.  On a trek deep into the forest you discover a river blocks your path into a target study site.  What considerations would you make in deciding whether or not to cross the river?


Rivers can potentially be a serious hazard and sadly drowning does occur on overseas trips.  Therefore we would need to make a number of careful assessments – all of which will be governed by the overall principle: “If in doubt – stay out”!

We;d have to recommend some more training such as our RLSS Water Safety Management Programme, but some considerations would be:

1 – How crucial is this particular site – we have to balance up risk and benefit – an element of risk management which is too often forgot

2 – Your own experience and knowledge of rivers and river crossings

3 – The speed and depth of the water

4 – The entry and exit points

5 – Any hazards in the water, currents, entrapment objects, animals, water borne disease…

6 – If it rains whilst I am on the other side – what will the river look like then…

The number of considerations and the knowledge and experience required to judge all these things takes us back to where we originally started… “If in doubt, stay out”.

If its time for you to update your risk management,  field safety or outdoor first aid skills then just get in touch.