Tag Archives: risk assessment

Outdoor activities with young people – quiz

We’ve just launched our new forest schools outdoor first aid course specifically focused on those working with young people in the outdoors.  So this quiz focuses on a few scenarios to get you thinking about first aid and field safety planning for outdoor activities with young people – for all you first aiders, outdoor instructors and parents – get swotting up…

Field safety and outdoor first aid quiz

Field safety and outdoor first aid quiz

Question 1

You are running a forest schools session when an 8 year old trips and falls, putting his arm into a fire.  There are no obvious blisters but the arm is red and clearly very sore – what do you do?

Answer

The simple and easy treatment for burns is cold water, cold water, cold water.  Ideally you want to get it under a running tap and keep running cool water over it until is stops hurting. If you are in the woods and not immediately by a tap, tipping water over it and catching the water in a bucket and then repeating can be a good way of keeping water running over the area with a limited supply.  Does it need to go to hospital?  Obviously if in any doubt, get checked out, but as a rough guide a blister the size of your hand should be checked out, a superficial burn (red, with no blister) should go to hospital if it is the area of five hand palms (of the casualty!).

Question 2

You are running a rock climbing session with a group of teenagers.  One of the students knocks a loose rock about the size of an apple from the crag.  It hits another student in the head. She was wearing a helmet and is conscious and insists she is fine.  Half an hour later one of their friends tells you they’ve been feeling sick and dizzy though the student herself insists to you she feels fine.  What do you do?

Answer

The simple rule with head injuries is better safe than sorry.  Any change in conscious level, related to a bang on the hand should be checked out in hospital.  In this case, it says the student was conscious, but with symptoms deteriorating (feeling sick and dizzy after the event) this is cause for concern and certainly a reason to get it checked out.

Obviously aside from the medical issue there is the matter of how you handle the fact that the student is saying they are fine.  This comes down to soft skills which can be every bit as important as the first aid skills in getting across gently but firmly the potential risks and the need to be checked out.

There are also the practical considerations which will depend on the circumstances of the age of the students, the number of staff or other responsible people available etc.  These factors will determine how you handle the logistics of getting that person to the hospital whilst ensuring the safety of other participants.

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

Occupational Water Safety Programme

Here at Training Expertise we are committed to running quality training programmes, and tailored courses that are effective at transferring knowledge, skills and attitudes.

Training Expertise RLSS NWSMP Southend child

Safeguarding not Life guarding. The RLSS UK National Water Safety Management Programme, through Training Expertise

We are proud to be working with the RLSS UK as a key provider of this Occupational Water Safety Programme.

The Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS UK) developed this programme to improve water safety across a wide range of working environments and operational sectors. Delivered as a suite of interlinked training awards, specifically designed to assist those organisations with employees who work in or near water to meet their civil & statutory safety management obligations, especially where employees have supervisory responsibilities.

The Health & Safety Executive endorses the sensible, proportionate, reasonable & balanced advice provided by the National Water Safety Management Programme.

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What we do

Since 1998, Training Expertise has been working with organisations and people who operate in outdoor or remote environments. Devoting our time to designing training courses in the fields of first aid (outdoor first aid, expedition first aid and workplace first aid), fieldwork safety, defensive & off road driver training and field leadership.

Over the years we have built a network of elite trainers to deliver this range of tailor made programmes.  These include doctors, paramedics, nurses, field trip leaders, mountain rescue personnel and crisis management experts.  We pride ourselves on the quality of training, adaptation to the operating conditions and recommendations of practical solutions.

Some perspective on wildlife dangers

Nice infographic from Bill Gates, gives a bit of perspective to the dangers we should consider.  People considering field safety and risk assessment will often focus on the rare, wierd and wonderful and forget that old adage – common things happen commonly…
wildlife dangers put in perspective
wildlife dangers put in perspective

You can see more on the figures from the graphic at business insider.

 

 

 

 

Latest Fieldwork and Expedition standards – NEW BS8848

We were excited to be at the RGS this week for the launch of the updated British Standard for visits, fieldwork, expeditions, and adventurous activities, outside the United Kingdom.  So whether you are a seasoned user of the standard, or new to it – here’s what you need to know…

BS884 - supporting safe ventures

BS8848 – supporting the safety of remote ventures around the world

What is BS8848?

BS8848 is the British standard for organizing and managing visits, fieldwork, expeditions and adventurous activities outside the UK.  It is a voluntary standard which documents established good practice and specifies the processes needed to manage overseas ventures, from gap year activities to adventure holidays and charity treks.

What does it cover?

It covers core principles such as:

  • assigning clear roles and responsibilities to those involved
  • planning ventures to help ensure key elements are not missed
  • providing clear and accurate information to participants
  • appointing competent staff with the right skills, training and know-how
  • preparing risk management plans

What has changed?

  • The good news it is shorter – the committee have aimed to make the new standard more focused on the key elements and have condensed the standard down to core principles in order to achieve this.
  • There is greater emphasis on the role of senior managers to take responsibility for the safety management systems of their organisations
  • There is also an emphasis on the importance of providing informed consent – a point emphasised by Alistair Macdonald in his key note address to the RGS conference.
  • This is backed up by again emphasising the importance of  competent staff running trips, and competent participants – especially if they are to be working independently for example on placements, or fieldwork.  As an organisation passionate about the importance of training to develop competences key to fieldwork safety, we are very pleased to see this emphasis in the standard.

Where can I find out more?

An extremely helpful element of the new standard is a free consumers guide which is available on the BSi website.  There you can also buy a full version of the standard, though it will also be available for reference from libraries etc.

As ever, we are very happy to offer help and advice, so if you would like to chat about anything about BS8848, risk management,  field safety or outdoor first aid skills then just get in touch.

Field Safety and outdoor first aid quiz

Happy New Year to everyone.  We hope you have had a wonderful holiday and are looking forward to the adventures 2014 will bring. And what better way to welcome 2014, and to fill those difficult first few hours back in the office than to swot up on your outdoor first aid and field safety skills, to get you prepared for the 2014 field seasons. 

Field safety and outdoor first aid quiz

Quiz question 1:

You are the first on the scene of a rock fall in the mountains.  You are an hour’s fast walk from the nearest road and have no phone reception.  You have the following casualties… what would you do?

Casualty 1 – Unconscious, fast shallow breathing, pale, cold and clammy
Casualty 2 – Alert, screaming of pelvic pain
Casualty 3 – Confused and slurred speech, small bleed from head
Casualty 4 – Conscious, panicking and broken right arm.

Answer:

Firstly make sure it is safe for you to approach and shout for help, just in case anyone is nearby.

Then deal with the casualties in order of priority:

Casualty 1 – (Unconscious, fast shallow breathing, pale, cold and clammy) – is the most immediately serious – showing signs of shock – carry out basic AVPU, Airway, Breathing checks and ensure a Stable, Open, Draining Airway

Casualty 2 – Needs to be kept still, in case of a broken pelvis, they need to be reassured and monitored (perhaps by casualty 4!)

Casualty 3 – Is OK in the short term but needs the cut treating, and monitoring for signs of a compression injury.

Casualty 4 is probably going to be busy monitoring casualties 1 to 3 whilst you go and get help!

If you would like to update your skills check out our outdoor first aid and expedition first aid courses.

Quiz question 2:

You are part of a team of four researchers working in the Musandam Penisular in the north of Oman.  You have planned to work in pairs in the field collecting field sign of Arabian leopards.  You are told that there is reasonable mobile phone reception in the area.  What are the key elements of your safety and emergency plans…

Answer:

With such small teams, communications and emergency management back up plans are crucial.  Should one team member become unwell or have an accident their partner is left in a very difficult situation.  Therefore testing the mobile phone coverage and ensuring each pair has their phones, with fully charged batteries will be part of the daily routine.  However you can’t always rely on these things so a simple back up plan of informing each other, and ideally an additional trusted person such as an in-country agent, of exactly the route planned each day and cut off times for return.

Expedition training and preparation is also important to ensure that all team members are aware of any specific hazards and can manage a first aid or other emergency.

Finally dynamic risk assessment is crucial – what if it turns out the terrain is far worse, or the mobile reception far more patchy… then we may have to rethink the plan, for example getting the whole team to work together.

Flexibility is the key and a constant eye on whether or not the existing safety measures are sufficient.

If its time for you to update your risk management,  field safety or outdoor first aid skills 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.

Water Safety Management – expedition reflections

Business manager Matt has just returned from leading an expedition in South East Asia  and has been reflecting on the challenges of safety near water.

Leading groups of young people overseas relies heavily on good judgement – is this situation safe? How should I control the group and keep them safe, yet let them explore and enjoy beautiful environments?

Reflections on water safety from expedition

training for water safety – water safety management programme with RLSS

Sadly it can be easy for a group playing at the waterside to develop into a dangerous situation rapidly without good management. I reflected how much more confidence courses like the RLSS National Water Safety Manangement Programme can provide in making these judgements.

Picture the scenes:

  • The students are playing volleyball on the beach. They have been working hard for the last week and all they want to do is to cool off in the water, surely having a nice cool splash in the water is just what everyone needs…
  • You are about to board a water taxi across a fast flowing river through the Cambodian jungle…
  • You are sitting by a waterfall in the middle of the forest having just spent all day walking there…

Making judgements is critical – is the water a safe place to be? Should you let the people in your charge in or even near the water?

The RLSS have developed the National Water Safety Management Programme (NWSMP) to help people that work at the water margins. For teachers, group leaders, environmental scientists, dock workers, police officers, construction workers and canal boat owners, this course has proven to be popular across a wide spectrum.

The course looks at the inherent water safety risks associated with different environments; still water, moving water and beach. Participants find themselves learning about group management, risk assessment and rescue techniques.

We have an RLSS NWSMP running on the weekend of the 12-13th October. We also have a, Instructor Certification Course (ICC) running on the 14-15th October, for those people interested in being able to deliver the programme.If you’d be interested in discussing these courses please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Is outdoor adventure for kids a thing of the past?

There was a very interesting article in the Guardian last week with some interesting implications for field safety and outdoor skills training.  Not a new topic but quite an in-depth discussion of outdoor adventure for kids and if it is a reality or even a possibility in the modern world.

It contained the rather scary calculation based on an example family where the grandmother at the age of 11 roamed across 50 square miles. The father, in the 1970s, roamed within 1 square mile. His children wander freely only as far as their 140-square-metre garden permits.  Whilst it is always good to maintain a healthy dose of cynicism of the rose tinted glasses view on the past, it does seem to ring true with much of our experience.

Do your kids get outdoor adventures?

Is outdoor adventure for kids a thing of the past

 

There is some wonderful work done in outdoor education centres and schools in getting kids out to do outdoor and adventurous activities. We’d like to think that some of these opportunities are wider and more accessible than they have been in the past.

At the same time there is still more work to be done in encouraging parents to be less risk averse and more adventurous with their children and indeed creating opportunities for kids to explore by themselves.  Training such as the RGS off-site safety management course and the new RLSS Water Safety Management Program has made headway in arming parents, teachers and activity coordinators with the skills to manage safety and carry out dynamic risk assessment which looks to manage but not eliminate risk.  However there is clearly far more which can still be done.

If you’d be interested in discussing any training in dynamic risk managementfield safety or safety in outdoor adventure for kids, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

To read the article in full see the Guardian online.