Tag Archives: field safety

Risk Assessment at Explore at the RGS

Dom was at the RGS Explore conference this year running a seminar panel session on tropical forest expeditions and also speaking about how a risk assessment can save your life. Here are his thoughts on an inspirational weekend….

The Explore conference is a wonderful annual event at which expeditioners, new and old, come together to inform, inspire and assist each other to make some wonderful expedition ideas a step closer to reality.

RGS Explore - Risk assessment

How the twittersphere captured Dom’s RGS talk… slightly wonky!

I had the, perhaps dubious, honour of being asked to speak on the subject of risk assessment. Of course, it is always an honour to be asked to speak at such a wonderful venue, but amid talks of exciting adventures, inspiring fieldwork and daring do, it can be a tricky job to engage people in the topic of risk assessment.

However, listening to speaker after speaker, I began to realise the extent to which risk assessment is embedded in every expedition – in fact though they rarely mentioned it by name, speakers regularly referred to how they managed risks on their trips.

Olivia Taylor from the Cambridge Trollaskagi Expedition talked of how they selected a location where they knew they could access mountain rescue support, if needed. Three doctors from Cornwall to Cape Town reflected on their decision to buy their tyres on ebay for £100 and seasoned explorer Paul Rose talked of applying pre-planning and dynamic risk assessments on swimming with walrus and filming polar bears. Even the irrepressible Dave Cornthwaite was pictured skate boarding in a helmet and high-vis vest!

So there it was, though no one likes to talk about risk assessment, they are all doing it.  Adventurers want to come back safely and they need to convince funders that they will. So they all plan, they all consider the things that might go wrong – and they all assess and re-assess the risks they face and change their plans accordingly. The sooner we can shift the impression of risk assessment to this practical, pragmatic and hands-on approach and away from a pen-pushing, tick boxing exercise – the sooner people will truly engage with it and the safer we will be.

As ever Explore was a wonderful event, inspiring, informative and enabling, I’m already looking forward to next year.

If you’d like to learn more about our approach to risk management and our courses on field safety and outdoor first aid then just get in touch.

The fun to risk ratio

Having heard Dom’s recent talk on practical risk assessment and field safety at the RGS, Rob Mills from Gobi Desserts kindly sent us this link to a chart of fun to risk ratio! Thought we’d share this nice light hearted reflection on how we can look at risk in the context of adventure… //www.adventure-journal.com/2013/07/charting-adventure-the-fun-to-risk-of-injury-ratio/

Congratulations to our Explore 2013 Risk Assessment Winners

What a wonderful and inspiring weekend at the RGS Explore 2013 event – more thoughts on a great event to follow – but just a quick congratulations to the winners of the expedition risk management competition prize.  Two wonderful projects which Training Expertise and Equip-Me are delighted to able to support through the prizes of a Biolite stove and training vouchers.

Have a look at their great websites – both wonderful examples of projects with adventure, science and public engagement at their heart – we wish them all the luck in the world…

Winning Training vouchers: Elsa Hammond – ocean row

And winning the Biolite Stove – a wonderful example of engaging cutting edge science with a wider audience: Volcano files.

Thanks very much to everyone else who entered and the very best of luck to everyone planning their trips – you will get there – keep going and have wonderful expeditions.

Below are the four key top tips on risk assessment from Dom’s talk on Saturday – we hope they help you to enjoy safe and successful travels:

Good risk assessment:

  • Involves the whole team
  • Is specific to the risks of YOUR project
  • Is implemented in the field
  • Is applied dynamically.

If we can be of any help with advice, expedition first aid training, or expedition and fieldwork training, just get in touch.

 

Risk Management for Adventure – top tips

Dom was recently asked to write an article about risk management for adventure, we thought we’d share his thoughts:

Even amongst the general public the words risk assessment are enough to create a range of reactions from a scowl, a yawn or even an angry growl.  So trying to use the words amongst the fun loving, live and let live, freedom and self-determining adventure world can be a real challenge. At best it can be seen as a paper pushing nuisance and worse still as a barrier to people’s passions and dreams or even to their safety.

On the other hand, most of us accept that if you want to plan an adventurous expedition to a remote mountain range it would be pretty fool hardy to set off with no prior planning, to jump on a plane, with no kit or equipment, no idea what to expect, what the conditions are likely to be like etc. As soon as you start to consider these kind of issues you are risk assessing – long before you go near a form or a spreadsheet.

So how do we make risk assessment and field safety simple, practical and easy:

  • A written risk assessment is important proof that you made sensible and reasonable steps to do things safely
  • But remember it is just that – sensible and reasonable things – don’t try to write down every possible eventuality or reams of paperwork, it should be a usable, practical and most importantly flexible document
  • Think of practical and simple ways to build dynamic risk assessment into your every day activity, keep your eyes open for changing circumstances, use team meetings to discuss changing plans, or keep an expedition diary or log
  • Involve everyone in practical solutions for risk management – it is a culture and not a piece of paper.

We run field safetyrisk management and outdoor first aid throughout the year, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss your plans.

You can read the full article at the Adventure Medic website to see more tips at advice on adventure risk management.

Training expertise at emergency services conference

Training Expertise – the next emergency service!

Matt promoting the NWSMP at the Emergency Service Show at NEC

Promoting National Water Safety Management Program

Matt is looking very pleased with himself with all the big toys! Today he’s at the NEC where Training Expertise are working with the RLSS to promote the excellent new National Water Safety Management Program for which we are one of the RLSS’ key providers.

RGS Explore 2013 – Top weekend for all expeditioners

We are delighted that Training Expertise will again be at the RGS Explore conference, the year’s top expedition weekend event.  It is on the 15th to 17th Nov and early bird booking is open NOW! We’re pleased to announce that Business Manager Dom will be speaking on the main stage about practical solutions to risk management in field safety.  He will  also be chairing the tropical forest panel.

We’re really looking forward to it and hope as many of you as possible will be able to join us there. There are lectures, workshops and exhibits to help organise your own expedition or field research projects in a variety of environments and disciplines. Over 90 leading field scientists and explorers to provide inspiration, contacts and advice over the course of this unique weekend.

What’s more there is an early bird booking discount available NOW of just £75 and only £55 for students and under 25s! Full details of the conference and how to book is available at the RGS website.

Mountain safety – carbon monoxide in tents

A new study has further illustrated the potential field safety dangers of carbon monoxide in tents, especially with modern, highly waterproof and airtight tents where levels of poisonous carbon monoxide (CO) from the burning stove can build up fast.

carbon monoxide in tents

mountain safety – danger of carbon monoxide in tents

A small scale study from several Michigan emergency room doctors suggested the type of stove fuel used and the type of tent can make a difference.

It is important for mountain safety that anyone working on remote expeditions through to duke of edinburgh trips in the UK is aware of the issues and has the outdoor skills and outdoor first aid knowledge to take precautions and to treat any potential cases.

To read more about the full findings of the study see the full article here.

 

Vehicle safety on expeditions overseas

New Training Expertise Business Manager Matt Ilott has just returned from leading an amazing school expedition to Cambodia with our partners at Wilderness Expertise.  He’s been reflecting on one of the biggest challenges we face when working overseas – vehicle safety.

One of the hardest elements of expedition travel safety – when it can be hardest to control the team and their safety is undoubtedly when using vehicles. Splitting the team to fit into the forms of transport available, be it Tuk-Tuks, taxis or minivans can be a real challenge, with hectic roads and language barriers. 

Cambodia expedition vehicle safety

vehicle safety on overseas expedition in Cambodia

It is crucial to know what to look for when assessing the vehicle safety, the driver and their driving.  So, some top tips:

  • WHO is driving – select trusted drivers, get local recommendations, ensure they are licensed and fit to drive
  • WHAT are they driving – is the vehicle appropriate and in good working order
  • WHEN they are driving – when did the driver last take a break…
  • WHERE are they driving – plan routes and avoid known hotspots, busier times of day where possible
  • HOW are they driving – don’t be afraid to say STOP and get out!

If you’d be interested in discussing any training in dynamic risk assessmentfield safety or vehicle safety on expedition, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

If you know of a school looking for an amazing adventure next year, check out Wilderness Expertise’s outstanding school expeditions.

Casualty’s outdoor first aid advice – and a good cause…

Very interesting to get a casualty’s outdoor first aid advice reflecting on her experience of an accident in Scotland this winter.  Her tips are shared via Andy Kirkpatrick’s great blog and you can also find details of what she is planning to do to raise funds for Lochaber MRT by way of thanks for their help that day.

casualty outdoor first aid advcie

outdoor first aid from the casualty’s point of view

 

Fieldwork and conservation grant available

Calling all fieldworkers – Whitley Awards are worth £35,000 in conservation and fieldwork funding to be spent on projects over a period of one year. Up to seven Whitley Awards will be available in 2014 and applications are open… NOW //whitleyaward.org/2013/08/2014-whitley-awards-application-now-open/