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Planning an exciting and safe programme

Wednesday 10th August 2016

The last thing any of us want to happen in our activities is for a young person or leader to have an accident or sustain an injury. It is possible to plan an adventurous and exciting programme, whist at the same time making the safety of young people and leaders our top priority. There really is no need for us to be risk averse!

It’s all about assessing the risk and putting plans in place to reduce the probability of an accident occurring, and if it did occur, reducing the likely severity of any injury that might be sustained. In doing so it is also important to consider and assess the benefits of the activity; this is known as a Risk-Benefit analysis. As exposure to personal risk is recognised as an important aspect of growing up, and a certain level of risk in our lives is accepted as necessary to achieve certain benefits.

Did you know?

All BB activities are subject to a risk assessment being completed?

How do we do this?

A risk assessment need not be onerous, time consuming or a complicated task. It is really all about using common sense!

“A risk assessment is not about creating huge amounts of paperwork , but rather about identifying sensible measures to control the risks in your workplace.”

Health and Safety Executive

To carry out a risk assessment is to stand back from the activity and think about the hazards and risks that could occur. This should be done for the entire programme of activities that you offer in your Company. It is then good practice to record these hazards and risks.

Having a number of leaders involved in undertaking risk assessments is a good idea, a different pair of eyes may see what we have missed or become too familiar with.

Did you know?

The Boys’ Brigade has no set requirements for the number of leaders required in terms of staffing ratios, as it is necessary to fully consider the leader to children and young people ratio based on the activity being undertaken. Although it is important to remember that at all meetings a Captain, Lieutenant or Warrant Officer must be present, in addition to other registered leaders as required.

Things to consider

  • Meeting Place – the space we meet in, the condition of the space and suitability for the planned activities, for example arranging a church BBQ outdoors.
  • Children & Young People – the numbers, their ages, ability and understanding.
  • Leaders – the experience and skills of leaders, including adequate numbers.
  • Equipment – the equipment and apparatus we use e.g. scissors, hockey sticks, footballs.

When thinking about completing the risk assessment, you need to think about the Hazards and the Risks involved, remember:

Things to consider

  • a Hazard is anything that may cause harm.
  • the Risk is the chance, high or low, that somebody could be harmed by these and other hazards, together with an indication of how serious the harm could be.

From this point we now consider the Control Measures, in terms of what do we do to reduce likelihood of these occurring e.g. ensuring adequate supervision, removing obstacles, making sure the children all understand what is being asked of them, ensuring that any special needs are being taken into consideration.

The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) advises that risk assessments should not be over complicated. In most activities, the potential problems or hazards will be few and can be dealt with by a few simple measures. Checking them is common sense, but a necessary requirement.

Providing the control measures are adhered to you should be able to draw a conclusion that the activity you are undertaking is safe to go ahead with.

Key Tip

It is important to make sure that all leaders supervising activities have read the risk assessment and are aware of the potential hazards and the necessary control measures to minimise the risk of an accident occurring

Occasionally, completing a risk assessment will highlight concerns, which may require you to think differently about the way you carry out that activity.

Further advice on completing a risk assessment can be found in the Safety Handbook which can be downloaded from the Leaders website together with template risk assessment forms.

What do I do if an accident does occur during a BB activity?

No matter how comprehensive the risk assessment is, occasionally someone may have an accident or sustain an injury. The immediate priority is always the wellbeing of the injured person and the safety of the rest of the group. You will need to assess the injury and administer First Aid if appropriate, or seek the assistance of a medical professional.

It is also really important that in the event of a child/young person being injured that you inform the parent/carer of the accident and where appropriate make a follow up phone call or visit to check on their recovery.

Did you know?

Over 90% of claims made are where the injury occurred at the beginning or end of an activity or when there is inadequate supervision.

What else should you do?

Below is a tick list of actions to follow:

  • Accident Book – The injury must be recorded in the accident book at the venue where it happened or where first aid is given.
  • Professional Medical Attention – If the person requires professional medical attention (eg; needs to visit GP or hospital as a result of the injury) a BB Accident Notification form must be completed and returned to BBHQ at Felden Lodge. The form is available on the website
  • Negligence – If you think a negligence claim is likely to be made against The Boys’ Brigade you must inform BBHQ at Felden Lodge, regardless of the injury
  • Your Risk Assessment – Remember to keep a copy of the risk assessment. If a claim is made, the Brigade Insurers will often require a copy of the risk assessment

Any questions or concerns If you have any questions or concerns about risk assessments or the safety of activities which you are planning or carrying out please get in contact with BB Headquarters.

Jonathan Eales
Business Director

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