We take our responsibilities as organisers of voluntary events very seriously and have committed ourselves to a training programme to ensure that our events are as safe and enjoyable as possible for all who take part. All our events are individually risk assessed and we make every effort to ensure that the chances of accidents and injury are kept to an absolute minimum.
The reality is, of course, that freedom from accidents can never be guaranteed. Our tasks leaders will give an introductory talk at the beginning of every work session outlining the hazards involved. Often these are not much more than reminding people that the ground can contain such hazards as sharp objects or animal faeces, but it is still important that these risks are brought to the attention of volunteers. There will also be guidance on the correct use of tools and an opportunity for you to ask questions before proceeding. We ask you to follow the guidance of the leader who will set out work procedures with safety considerations in mind.
Although many of our events are aimed at adults, we are happy for families to get involved. We do insist, however, that all children under the age of 16 are kept under the supervision of their parent or guardian, who are expected to take responsibility for ensuring that they follow safety guidelines. The tools we use can cause serious injury if they are not handled responsibly, and the leader may restrict the kinds of tools that children are allowed to use. We ask all volunteers to respect this. In extreme circumstances we reserve the right to ask people to leave if we believe their behaviour is inappropriate or dangerous.
We always recommend people wear sturdy footwear, gardening gloves and clothes appropriate to the weather conditions on the day. We often have some spare pairs of gloves for loan if you don't have any.
We have a certain number of tools and we do ask that you handle them with the respect you would your own.
Certain risks are almost always present:
There is a risk of slips and falls on the steep banks of the walk and of tripping on undergrowth. There is also a risk of cuts and abrasions from sharp objects, glass and thorns and on rare occasions needles have been found. Animal faeces and urine is often present and some plants may be irritant or even poisonous. Working in cramped areas, especially with long-handled tools in groups also introduces the risk of contact with other volunteers. In the event of minor incidents, we are equipped with a basic first aid kit.
Always cleanse your hands before handlling food and after finishing a work session. Many of our sessions end near a cafe or other place where there are washing facilities. And finally if you have any questions about anything, please ask the leader.
Our policy with children and tools
Anyone under the age of 16 must be accompanied by the parent, guardian, or other responsible adult who is happy for the child to participate knowing all the risks. This means that all parents/guardians must be made aware of the risks and how we aim to control them for the work planned. School and other organised groups of minors must supply their own CRB cleared supervisors in addition to our project leader.
The project leader takes overall responsibility for the work group and is not included as one of the adults with direct responsibility over children.
We work to the following safety supervision numbers:
o 1 adult to 3 children under 5
o 1 adult to 5 children under 8
o 1 adult to 8 children under 16.
This is the minimum we require in order to carry out the work with children in these age ranges.