Welcome to the Health and Safety page of the Derbyshire Scout Association website.
This page is here to help you with general safety advice, pointers to where to go to for information, and how to contact me if you need help.
We all have a duty to ensure that whatever we do is conducted in a safe manner 'so far as is reasonably practicable'.
Roughly translated, this means that what we do whilst scouting, be it meetings, activities or camps/sleepovers, we have to ensure that everyone goes home in one piece. My role is to advise and support you to make sure that scouting within Derbyshire is carried out with minimal harm and injuries.
Health and safety is not an excuse to stop fun, nor to prevent activities from going ahead. Its simply a set of rules and advice to make sure activities can be carried out without unnecessary risk and therefore minimize injuries or damage.
There are a lot of resources to help you achieve this. The scout website has lots of information.
If you need help applying it, or if you have a specific health and safety issue you need a hand with, please get in touch. You can do this by using the contact form.
Lets make sure we are all.safe
Accident statistics from Peak 2015
These were injuries that were reported to Health and Welfare, so of a more serious nature than ones that would have been dealt with by leaders.
Unsupervised free time was used as a category for cause as well as an activity:
- As a cause: this was when the individual was not being supervised and this was attributed as the cause of the actual injury. There were 8 such occurrences.
- When noted as an activity (there were 6 such injuries) this is when young people were out and about around the camp and not under the direct supervision of their leaders. Some injuries at this time were as a result of playing games, or rough and tumble. The number differs from the one above as the cause could have been a slip, for instance.
Slips and trips:
- 4 injuries were caused by a loss of footing, two slipped due to the surface and one tripped over a tent peg in a washtent.
- 7 injuries occurred whilst walking or running around the camp, and this was classified as the activity being carried out at the time.
No injuries investigated gave cause for concern due to a lack of supervision or inappropriate instructions or activities.
Overall, there were a few points to consider:
- We probably can't do anything about slips and trips around a muddy/wet camp...
- Post wackers are harder to use than first thought? There were 2 injuries so there shpould be a reminder on how these are used.
- 2 injuries were due to lighting stoves/boiler. One of these was a young person. More information may be required on the lighting of such equipment. Groups should be reminded to check the age and model of their equipment, and consider if the models with piezo ignition would be safer than models that don't have it.
- 8 injuries were down to lack of technique or general awareness of a situation/activity. This should be considered within risk assessments for activities, along with what can be done about it to make the activity safer
Risk Assessment using the Vowels AEIOU
This is an easy way to carry out a risk assessment by using the vowels. It's a simple way to teach Young Leaders and anyone else not familiar with carrying out a risk assessment.
This is how it works... Go through the vowels, noting down the following:
A - Activity
What activity is being carried out? A game, craft activity, camp, a walk, lighting camp fires, chopping wood, cooking etc.
E - Environment
What environment will the activity take part in? Inside the scout hut, outside in a park, a field (potentially with rabbit holes, tree roots...), in the dark, wet and muddy... etc.
I - Individuals
Who is taking part? As well as the obvious size and age differences between Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Explorers, and Leaders, there is also maturity, strength, and understanding, as well as an ability to follow (or not follow) instructions. There may be an individual who has particular needs that need to be catered for.
O - 'Oh my goodness, what could go wrong'?
This depends on the activity, the environment and who is involved. Consider all possibilities. This could be injuries to individuals, and damage to equipment.
U - What are you going to do about it?
This section is the most important. Once all the other parts have been noted, now decide what can be done about particular risks/things that could go wrong. This might include supervision, the ratio of leaders to young people. It may include ensuring the young people have suitable footwear and clothing for an outdoor activity. When an activity is taking part in the dark, what lighting will be available? If the idea is to carry out an activity in the dark, can you check for trip hazards before it starts? Are there any areas that will be out of bounds, and how will you ensure they are out of bounds? If a craft activity includes using glue, paint, glitter etc. what can be done to make sure there are no disasters, either for clothing, flooring, or eyes? How can sharp tools and craft knives/scissors be used safely when either doing crafts, cooking or chopping wood? What will be put in place when using fires?
It's important that you carry out a risk assessment - it isn't important what it looks like.
You can use something as simple as the form below: