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  1. #1
    Member FlyingFox's Avatar
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    Risk Assessment....

    Hi everyone

    I have a question and I know that someone out there (or quite a few of you) will be able to help!

    I am taking the Beavers out on a walk tomorrow for Hikes Away 1 and I have done a risk assessment for it. I have amended it to take into account the wet weather ie. stiles may be slippery and extra assistance may be needed and care taken... etc.

    But if the rain is really heavy and we don't go I have in place and evening of 'non cooking' cooking (taken from a thread on here!) where we will include melting marshmallows over tealights and putting them between chocolate biscuits! Or so I thought...... it seems I need to risk assess this.

    So to my question! (thanks for staying with me) Do I have to risk assess every meeting? I am assuming the meeting hall has been risk assessed and know if I take the Beavers out, but what about every meeting and activity? I always go over the 'safety rules' like 'be careful with scissors but does it all need to be on paper?

    I have just started my training (at last) and what to make sure that I at least look like I know what I am doing

    Thanks

    Em
    People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built. Eleanor Roosevelt.

    Emma
    BSL Lightning Beaver Colony
    2nd Brize Norton (RAF) Air Scout Group

  2. #2
    Moderator jshirra's Avatar
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    who told you that you have to risk assess it?

    I would say you always are risk assessing every meeting!! for example, little jonny is jumping off the table, you tell him to stop - risk seen, assessed and actioned!

    remembering that marshmallows makes them 'like napalm' acording to someone on here, so making sure clear access to the sink is your risk assessment!

    It may be helpful while starting up, too write it all down so you can see the process you are going through

  3. #3
    Senior Moments Penny E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingFox View Post
    So to my question! (thanks for staying with me) Do I have to risk assess every meeting? I am assuming the meeting hall has been risk assessed and know if I take the Beavers out, but what about every meeting and activity? I always go over the 'safety rules' like 'be careful with scissors but does it all need to be on paper?
    Good grief Em! Are you looking for a full time job? As Jamie says, you constantly risk assess during meetings. All you need to do beforehand is think about any obvious risks and work out how you are going to handle them. Then make sure that you communicate that to other leaders and helpers, either verbally or in writing. I often produce a short briefing note (only a few lines) when we are doing anything risky for the leaders to read when they arrive. If we are working in bases I will always take the riskiest base on myself, and make sure that the most responsible adults take any others that need caution.

    Funnily enough I talked to my Cubs about "risk assessments" last night. I had downloaded one from the PGL website that ran to three pages. I asked the Cubs to tell me what risks were involved in doing various activities, and needless to say they were all quite capable of answering. If you go swimming, you risk drowning, if you do archery you risk being hit by an arrow, etc, etc. One of the older ones eventually said: "Why bother with all that - it's just common sense, isn't it?". At which point I tore up the risk assessment and said: "EXACTLY! You don't need a piece of paper to tell you what the risks are - you just need to THINK!"

    That's all you need to do Em - think! I have only done one written risk assessment in 5 years (on our meeting hall) and that was needed by County.
    Akela & Acting GSL, 1st Tylers Hill


    Yes, those are my legs - and my hiking boots too!

  4. #4
    Member FlyingFox's Avatar
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    Phew! I thought that would be the case! As a mum to a 5 & 7 year old I am more than capable of risk assessment LOL

    As to being a full time job, I am beging to think so as I am doing everything on my own at the moment. I do have 3 fantastic parents helping and my ABSL to be (fingers crossed) is with the RAF playing in 'the sand'.

    It was a comment in passing with another leader, might have been a joke but it did get me thinking!

    Knew that you guys on would know, thanks

    Em
    People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built. Eleanor Roosevelt.

    Emma
    BSL Lightning Beaver Colony
    2nd Brize Norton (RAF) Air Scout Group

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    My BSL and I have worked on creating a new generic template for our meetings; it is quite detailed and included the programme zones and methods used for each activity. Next to the activity blurb is the expected times, a list of any equipment we might require, and a small 1 or 2 line risk assessment.
    Usually (as most people have pointed out) the risk assessment is common sense but a few lines next to each activity not only encourages safe working practices but also prompts us to consider any possible problems that could arise.

    It only takes a few minutes, but it is nothing in-depth. As most people have stressed, health and safety (like the Beaver Scout Safety activity badge) is common sense!

  6. #6
    Member FlyingFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merlin&Kestrel View Post
    My BSL and I have worked on creating a new generic template for our meetings; it is quite detailed and included the programme zones and methods used for each activity. Next to the activity blurb is the expected times, a list of any equipment we might require, and a small 1 or 2 line risk assessment.
    Usually (as most people have pointed out) the risk assessment is common sense but a few lines next to each activity not only encourages safe working practices but also prompts us to consider any possible problems that could arise.

    It only takes a few minutes, but it is nothing in-depth. As most people have stressed, health and safety (like the Beaver Scout Safety activity badge) is common sense!
    This is excatly what I do I just wasn't sure if it was enough
    People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built. Eleanor Roosevelt.

    Emma
    BSL Lightning Beaver Colony
    2nd Brize Norton (RAF) Air Scout Group

  7. #7
    Senior Moments Penny E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingFox View Post
    Phew! I thought that would be the case! As a mum to a 5 & 7 year old I am more than capable of risk assessment LOL
    Precisely Em - your whole life is one continuous risk assessment. "Be careful!" "Don't do that!" "Watch out!"

    Don't bother writing it down unless it really is a risk that is out of the everyday experience of the team you have.

    Very good luck with the recruitment campaign!
    Akela & Acting GSL, 1st Tylers Hill


    Yes, those are my legs - and my hiking boots too!

  8. #8
    Assistant ESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    Although you shouldn't need to do a formal wrtiten risk assesment for every meeting I would think it might be worthwhile doing a written risk assesment for anything out of the more ordinary in a meeting such as things involving flames (even candles) (NB this is for Beavers I am quite aware that for Scouts flames aren't that out of the ordinary ). It shouldn't take more than 5 - 10 mins to complete a pretty through risk assesment. This is only so that you fully consider all the risk and how to best mitigate them (and have this on paper when the chance of something going wrong is a higher than usual)

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Friday ESU & ABSL and Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
    www.falkonerscouts.co.uk

    Bookings Secretary - Wike, North Leeds District Campsite - www.wikecampsite.org.uk
    www.leeds-solar.co.uk
    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

  9. #9
    Senior Member Chris Lambert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingFox View Post
    So to my question! (thanks for staying with me) Do I have to risk assess every meeting? I am assuming the meeting hall has been risk assessed and know if I take the Beavers out, but what about every meeting and activity?
    Yes. You need to risk assess every second of every activity. You need to review continually and take appropriate action if the risk changes.

    BUT...

    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingFox View Post
    I always go over the 'safety rules' like 'be careful with scissors but does it all need to be on paper?
    ... it doesn't all need to be on paper. You only need to write it down in particularly complicated situations, if you need to provide it to someone else or if it helps with the thought process.

    Assessing risk isn't complicated, it's just thinking about what could go wrong, how likely it is and whether that's acceptable. Normal people do this continually without even thinking about it.

  10. #10
    Senior Member DonTregartha's Avatar
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    I did two risk assessments when I was an ABSL for my training. One was 'Activities in hut', the other 'Activities outside'

    BTW Jamie, it was me who said about Napalm having had a cub plonk a flaming marshmallow on the back of my hand at cub camp.

    Bucket filled with water is my advice!


    Don Tregartha
    Group Chair and Webmaster
    1st Wing Scouts

    Check out our responsive Joomla web site www.wingscouts.co.uk one site fits all...

  11. #11
    Tilley lamp fan! Howslo's Avatar
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    I must admit, I've seldom done written assessments, but didn't like to admit it, because I thought I'd be the only one!

    But as said, you constantly asses things as you go along, using good old common sense!
    Howard
    Joined as a Cub in 1980
    ACSL 1991 to 2000
    CSL 2000 to 2009
    Acting GSL 2002 to 2010
    SL 2008 to 2011
    GSL 2010 onwards. To retirement?!
    www.evingtonscouts.org.uk
    @19thLeicester
    19th Leicester (Evington) Scout Group

  12. #12
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    Agree with most of the people here
    Yes you risk assess it but you don't need to write it down.
    We will do a written risk assessment for camp but will also risk assess on the fly as we go

    Dave
    Dave Brookes
    Scouter in Charge 4th Swindon
    Cub Scout Leader 4th Swindon
    Webmaster Swindon Gang Show
    http://www.wiltshirescouts.org.uk/swindongangshow

  13. #13
    Senior Member Raksha W's Avatar
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    I've been told something different

    I've been told to write a risk assessment for every meeting, so I do, and it takes about 10 minutes. It covers me then for anything that goes wrong in that if I've written down that I thought getting burnt with a marshmallow was a risk, and that the measures I'd taken to avoid such risk were to have water on standby, to explain to the children that marshmallows stick and burn, and to be extra careful etc. it is my proof that I was not being negligent if something bad should happen.

  14. #14
    Moderator jshirra's Avatar
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    that seems very....american for want of a better word. Covering you back, and doing extra work, just so you don't get sued!! i don't like that culture to be honest!

    At the end of the day, you should risk assess how you do it best, not the way you have been told to do it - if that is how you want to do it Raksha W, then carry on, but please question it if it is not helpful to you!!

  15. #15
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    I risk assess on paper county events (that I help organise) and send them to the leaders who are participating. Generally that is because they cover a wide variety of activities.

    For a general Explorer meeting at the hut, there is a standard risk assessment for the building in my mind (it's not the type of building where much could go wrong!) and it is adapted when I get there if circumstances have or need to be changed.
    I point out things to the Explorers and they are very much aware that I would have to fill in a large amount of paperwork if something happened ;-)

    All risk assessment is, is identifying where an incident could happen and showing that you have minimised that risk.

    Barney

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