Econet Risk Assessment [Friends of Waterloo Meadows]
Date: Saturday, 23rd September 2017  (10:00 - 13:00)
Task: Regular monthly task - Bird and bat box care

Site: Waterloo Meadows
Site Manager: Reading Borough Council    Site Contact: Glenn Jones (0118) 933 0850
Meeting Point: Katesgrove Children's Centre    Nearest Postcode: RG2 0BN    Map Ref: SU714722

A&E:
Royal Berkshire Hospital (2.3m)
London Road, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 5AN Telephone: 0118 322 5111

Volunteer's Tools: Volunteers bring their own tools which must be fit for purpose, at their own risk. The Group cannot accept any responsibility for a volunteer's own tools unless by prior agreement.

Volunteer's Dogs: Dogs should only be brought to sites where they will not disturb wildlife and other livestock and where it is acceptable to the management and other users of the site. Dogs are brought at the owner's own risk, the group cannot accept any responsibility for their wellbeing.

Assessment Summary: General Conservation Activities; Public open space; Waterside working; Coppicing, felling & scrub clearance; Heath and grassland management; Path maintenance; Tree and other planting; Ladder work; Pond, stream and wetland work;



General Conservation Activities
Last updated: 03/08/2017 15:43:10
Typical uncontrolled outcomes
Minor cuts and bruises; burns; lower back pain; verbal abuse; electric shock; contracting disease; blisters; sunburn; Lyme Disease
Typical groups at risk
Volunteers; general public
  Hazards
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Contact with hand tools
  • Manual handling
  • Contact with services
  • Contact with traffic
  • Volunteer's dogs
  • Contact with micro organisms
  • Irritant or poisonous plants
  • Insect bites and stings
  • Weather conditions
Controls
  • Keep site and materials tidy.
  • Make safe trip hazards highlighting any where this is not possible.
  • Tools (including volunteer's own) should be in good state of repair and fit for purpose.
  • Where possible tools being transported should be contained within tool bag(s) with blades guarded.
  • Give tools talk at start of task to impart and reinforce knowledge. (Volunteers should know name, purpose and correct manner of use of tools, including carrying techniques, storage, safe working distances and applicable protective clothing.)
  • Set aside damaged or blunt tools for maintenance or to be discarded.
  • Sturdy footwear should be worn.
  • Swinging tools should not be used with gloves (at least not on the hand gripping the tool) or in wet conditions; observe safe working distances.
  • Regularly check that safe working distances are being observed.
  • Tools not in use should be stored in tool bag or laid on ground in clear view where not a trip hazard.
  • Demonstrate safe lifting and handling techniques.
  • If available, use wheelbarrows and other handling aids to move heavier items.
  • Ensure routes for transporting tools and materials are kept clear.
  • Check for services as part of site inspection, mark and avoid. Avoid felling near overhead services. Where underground services suspected, use hand tools for digging within 1 m of line, do not use crowbars.
  • Unload vehicles away from traffic. Use tape, warning signs or cones where appropriate. Post lookouts to slow traffic whilst vehicles are manoeuvring.
  • Park vehicles to enable quick access and departure in emergency, and to allow access by emergency services.
  • Protect any cuts, advise all volunteers to ensure tetanus inoculation. Avoid contact with stream and pond water. Wear gloves when handling soil.
  • Warn of possible presence of irritant plants. Wear gloves and long sleeves when working with or near irritant plants; wash exposed skin thoroughly after work.
  • Wear long sleeves if biting insects may be present, use insect repellent. If wasp or bees' nest found, highlight and stop working in immediate vicinity.
  • Provide information about ticks and Lyme disease including symptoms. Advise volunteers to wear boots, long trousers and tops with sleeves to avoid ticks, tuck trousers into socks, and after task to check for ticks and bites and to seek immediate medical advise if they have concerns. Note: Although most common from late spring until autumn, tick bites can occur at any time of the year whenever the conditions exist for ticks to be active.
  • In hot or sunny conditions, keep skin covered and use high factor sun cream on exposed skin; stop work if volunteers ill attired for conditions, in discomfort or the work is increasing in risk.
  • Always wash hands or use cleansing wipes or gel before eating, drinking or smoking.
  • Dogs brought by volunteers to tasks must be well behaved and under the control of their owner at all times, they must not put volunteers or others at risk by causing a distraction or otherwise disrupting the task.
Public open space
Last updated:
Typical uncontrolled outcomes
Stress, distress, minor cuts and bruises, sickness
Typical groups at risk
Volunteers, general public
  Hazards
  • Contact with public
  • Abuse or aggression from public
  • Discarded sharps
  • Uncontrolled dogs
  • Dog faeces
Controls
  • If available, place warning signs at approaches to work area.
  • Keep paths clear of tools and debris.
  • Avoid volunteers working in isolation.
  • If confronted be conciliatory, avoid aggravating situation; be prepared to walk away.
  • If sharps found, do not touch or move, highlight location and advise site owner or manager.
  • Warn volunteers of possibility of dogs causing a distraction by entering the work area.
  • Warn volunteers of likely presence of dog faeces.
  • If practical, remove dog faeces from work areas using bags or burying where unlikely to be disturbed. Avoid skin contact.
Waterside working
Last updated:
Typical uncontrolled outcomes
Drowning; Leptospirosis; Hepatitis; ill health
Typical groups at risk
Volunteers
  Hazards
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Deep or fast flowing water
  • Contact with harmful substances
  • Contact with rats urine, faeces and other bio-hazards
Controls
  • Do not work above deep or fast flowing water.
  • Avoid lone working when working next to water.
  • Identify escape routes should volunteer fall in water, which must be kept clear at all times.
  • Have lifebouy or throw line available.
  • Volunteers should have a firm stable stance and not overreach when working from bank.
  • Only work at the water's edge if that edge is clearly visible, e.g. is not obscured by vegetation, and has not undermined.
  • Avoid working by water contaminated with sewage or similar hazards.
  • Wear gloves when handling vegetation and other materials which may have been contaminated by water.
  • Always wash hands or use cleansing wipes or gel before eating, drinking or smoking.
Coppicing, felling & scrub clearance
Last updated: 13/06/2016 16:41:48
Typical uncontrolled outcomes
Slips and trips; strained muscles; scratches to face and head; inflammation of joints; puncture wounds; cuts and lacerations; blood borne infections
Typical groups at risk
Volunteers; other site users; general public
  Insurance considerations
Econet's insurance does not cover the use of chain saws. The following statement has been made to Econet's insurer's regarding tree felling: "We occasionally fell trees with trunks over 15cm diameter, maximum in the region of 18 - 20cm. Maximum height of tree felled would be in the region of 10 - 12m. [but such trees would generally of smaller girth]." No task should be undertaken which contravenes this statement. Note: A diameter of 20cm (8in) equates to a girth of 63cm (25in).
  Hazards
  • Contact with hand tools
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Eye injuries
  • Falling debris and branches
  • Unexpected movement when cutting timber under tension/compression
  • Thorns
  • Presence of man-made detritus, e.g. broken bottles, barbed wire
  • Repetitive movements
  • Blackthorn injuries
Controls
  • Tools: See "General Conservation Activities" risk assessment
  • Slips, trips and falls: See "General Conservation Activities" risk assessment
  • Wear goggles to prevent eye injuries from protruding branches and branches under tension.
  • Demonstrate felling techniques emphasising importance of maintaining clear escape route and the meaning dangers of 'kickback'.
  • Volunteers recommended to wear hard hats.
  • Place warning signs at entry points and ensure visitors are kept away from main work area.
  • Check for broken glass, barbed wire, etc. and clear from work area
  • Ensure sufficient space available between volunteers - greater than height of any trees to be felled.
  • Cut back branches and other vegetation to give clear access and good visibility.
  • Check ground for thorns or other sharp objects before kneeling.
  • Clear brash regularly to reduce trip hazards.
  • Wear gloves (preferably hedging gloves) when handling thorny material.
  • Remove the thorns of blackthorn immediately and seek medical attention if wound becomes infected.
  • Take frequent breaks when undertaking heavy or repetitive tasks such as when hammering or using slasher or strimmer, or alternate with other (lighter) task to reduce risk of strains and injuries associated with vibration and repetitive movement.
  • Avoid working near power lines and other overhead cables.
  • If tree caught in overhead cables do not touch, call responsible authority immediately.
Heath and grassland management
Last updated: 06/11/2016 21:26:07
Typical uncontrolled outcomes
Poisonous bites; asthma and lung tissue damage; burns; loss of digits; major cuts; sprains and bruises; Lyme disease
Typical groups at risk
Volunteers; other site users; general public
  Hazards
  • Contact with hand tools
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Thorns
  • Bracken cuts
  • Fire spread
  • Contact with machinery
  • Adder bites
  • Bracken spore inhalation
  • Lyme disease from tick bites
Controls
  • Tools: See "General Conservation Activities" risk assessment
  • Slips, trips and falls: See "General Conservation Activities" risk assessment
  • Take frequent breaks when undertaking heavy or repetitive tasks such as when hammering or using slasher or strimmer, or alternate with other (lighter) task to reduce risk of strains and injuries associated with vibration and repetitive movement.
  • Wear gloves when handling thorny material.
  • Wear gloves when handling bracken to prevent cuts.
  • Site fires, if applicable see "Bonfires" risk assessment.
  • Provide information on adder identification and warning not to approach.
  • Wear sturdy boots and long trousers to avoid adder bits.
  • Avoid bracken clearance in late summer when spores are released; provide dust masks.
  • If machinery e.g. mowers, being used on site, insure safe working distances observed.
  • Provide information about ticks and Lyme disease including symptoms. Advise volunteers to wear boots, long trousers and tops with sleeves to avoid ticks, tuck trousers into socks, and after task to check for ticks and bites and to seek immediate medical advise if they have concerns. Note: Although most common from late spring until autumn, tick bites can occur at any time of the year whenever the conditions exist for ticks to be active.
Path maintenance
Last updated:
Typical uncontrolled outcomes
Slips and trips; strained muscles; scratches to face and head; inflammation of joints; puncture wounds; cuts and lacerations; blood borne infections
Typical groups at risk
Volunteers; other site users; general public
  Hazards
  • Contact with hand tools
  • Trips and slips
  • Contact with public
  • Falling debris and branches
  • Thorns
  • Blackthorn injuries
Controls
  • Tools: See "General Conservation Activities" risk assessment
  • Slips, trips and falls: See "General Conservation Activities" risk assessment
  • If available, place warning signs at approaches to work area.
  • Keep paths clear of tools and debris.
  • If removing larger branches or trees, post lookouts to warn and direct anyone approaching.
  • If removing overhead branches wear hard hats.
  • Wear gloves (preferably hedging gloves) when handling thorny material.
  • Remove the thorns of blackthorn immediately and seek medical attention if wound becomes infected.
  • Wear goggles to prevent eye injuries.
  • Avoid working near power lines and other overhead cables.
  • If tree caught in overhead cables do not touch, call responsible authority immediately.
Tree and other planting
Last updated: 13/06/2016 16:41:48
Typical uncontrolled outcomes
Scratches to hands, arms and face; stomach upsets; Toxocariasis; muscles strains; lower back strains
Typical groups at risk
Volunteers; other site users; general public
  Hazards
  • Contact with hand tools
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Contact with branches and twigs
  • Soil borne infections
  • Digging and moving earth
  • Manual handling of bags of plants
  • Staking of trees
Controls
  • Tools: See "General Conservation Activities" risk assessment
  • Slips, trips and falls: See "General Conservation Activities" risk assessment
  • Warn volunteers of risk of scratches and ensure safe working distance are kept.
  • Provide goggles.
  • Broken skin and existing wounds should be covered with plaster before work starts.
  • Cuts received should be cleaned and covered immediately.
  • Use tools and feet to move soil and to firm soil around plants. If working in or moving soil by hand wear gloves.
  • Always wash hands or use cleansing wipes or gel before eating, drinking or smoking.
  • Take frequent breaks when undertaking heavy or repetitive tasks such as when hammering or using slasher or strimmer, or alternate with other (lighter) task to reduce risk of strains and injuries associated with vibration and repetitive movement.
  • Demonstrate safe lifting and handling techniques.
  • If available, use wheelbarrows and other handling aids to move heavier items.
  • Ensure routes for transporting tools and materials are kept clear.
  • Demonstrate techniques for staking trees and the tools to be used.
  • Hard hats must be worn when using either post driver or mell, and use bar to hold stakes or posts in position.
Ladder work
Last updated:
Typical uncontrolled outcomes
Serious injuries associated with falling from height; broken bones; concussion
Typical groups at risk
Volunteers; other site users; general public
  Insurance considerations
Econet's insurance only covers work up to heights of 5 metres.
  Hazards
  • Defective ladder
  • Uneven ground or unbalanced ladder
  • Unexpected movement of ladder
  • Falling tools or materials
  • Contact with overhead power lines
  • Overreaching
Controls
  • Check all rungs and both stiles are in sound condition whenever ladder is used.
  • Do not use to access heights greater than 5 metres (see Insurance Considerations above).
  • Do not use in high winds.
  • Locate on firm, even ground at about 75 degrees to the horizontal.
  • On soft or uneven ground stand firmly on level support, e.g. stout board.
  • Place ladder facing work.
  • Position to avoid vehicle impact.
  • Do not use ladder within 5 metres of overhead power lines.
  • Ladder must either be tied off or footed and must be footed while top secured.
  • Volunteers at base of ladder must wear hard hats.
  • Mark off or cordon area around base of ladder to prevent others approaching.
  • Minimise tools and materials above ground level and secure them.
  • Hoist tools and materials using rope and/or tool belt.
  • Do not lean over or load the side of the ladder.
  • Ladder should extend at least 1 metre beyond highest rung to be stood on unless there is secure handhold to give equivalent support.
  • Carry ladder between two people, with ladder at their side.
Pond, stream and wetland work
Last updated: 06/11/2016 21:11:39
Typical uncontrolled outcomes
Drowning; cuts and bruises; Leptospirosis; Hepatitis; ill health; back and other muscle strains; Cercarial dermatitis (swimmer's itch)
Typical groups at risk
Volunteers; other site users; general public
  Insurance considerations
The following statement has been made to Econet's insurer's regarding working in water: "Minimum of two volunteers would participate in any such activity. Maximum depth of water would be in the region of 50 - 60cm. We would not knowingly participate in such an activity at a hazardous location." No task should be undertaken which contravenes this statement.
  Hazards
  • Contact with hand tools
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Deep or fast flowing water
  • Contact with harmful substances
  • Manual handling wet materials
  • Contact with rats urine, faeces and other bio-hazards
  • Contact with dead animals, or water polluted by them.
Controls
  • Tools: See "General Conservation Activities" risk assessment
  • Do not work in or above deep or fast flowing water.
  • Avoid lone working when working in or next to water.
  • Identify escape routes which must be kept clear at all at all times to ensure volunteers can get out of water quickly and safely.
  • Provide lifebuoy or throwline if appropriate.
  • Went working in water movement should be slow and measured. Check for hidden or buried objects, sudden changes in depth and that bottom is stable and will bear volunteer's weight.
  • When working on soft ground check that it will bear volunteer's weight. Use duckboards if available.
  • Sharp or swinging tools not to be used when wet.
  • Volunteers must have a firm stable stance before using tools or handling wet material.
  • Do not overreach when working from bank.
  • Only work at the water's edge if that edge is clearly visible, e.g. is not obscured by vegetation, and has not undermined.
  • Do not work in water contaminated with sewage.
  • Strong waterproof gloves must be worn to handle debris and rubbish from water. In deeper water wear pond gloves to protect arms.
  • Dead animals must not be touched - inform the site owner or manager.
  • Always wash hands or use cleansing wipes or gel before eating, drinking or smoking.
  • Advise volunteers that wet material is heavier than its dry counterpart.
  • Demonstrate safe lifting and handling techniques.
  • If available, use wheelbarrows and other handling aids to move heavier items.
  • Ensure routes for transporting tools and materials are kept clear.
  • Store tools and debris away from walkways and banks.
PPE
Rigger gloves;

Coppicing, felling & scrub clearance: Goggles; Hard hats; Hedging gloves;

Path maintenance: Goggles; Hard hats; Hedging gloves;

Tree and other planting: Goggles; Hard hats;

Ladder work: Hard hats;

Pond, stream and wetland work: Pond gloves; Throwline; PVC or nitrile waterproof gloves;

Actual items needed may vary according to the task.

Background Information

Cercarial dermatitis
Swimmer's itch, also called cercarial dermatitis, appears as a skin rash caused by an allergic reaction to certain microscopic parasites. The parasites are occasionally found in pond water and when they come into contact with a person will burrow into the skin. They are destroyed by the body's immune system but this gives rise to an allergic reaction and rash which is intensely itch and lasts for about one week.

This condition has affected volunteers working in the pond at Waterloo Meadows. It can be avoided by preventing skin contact with the pond water by wearing strong waterproof gloves, wellingtons, etc.

Further information can be found at www.cdc.gov/parasites/swimmersitch/faqs.html

Last updated:

Leptospirosis
Bacterial infection cared by rats, cattle and other animals and passed to humans either by direct contact with the tissues, urine or other secretions of an infected animal, or from water contaminated with infected urine. The infection enters the body through cuts and abrasions and the lining of the eyes and mouth. To avoid infection always cover open wounds and keep from contact with pond and river water. When working in ponds and rivers always wear strong waterproof gloves and wellington or waders.

Symptoms include mild flu-like illness. In its most severe form known as Weil's Disease, it can lead to a number of serious conditions such as jaundice and kidney failure. Symptoms usually develop 7-21 days after initial infection although rarely the incubation period can be as short as two to three days or as long as 30 days. Treatment for the illness is with antibiotics but recovery may take several weeks and in some cases months. If you are concerned you may have contracted this disease you should seek medical assistance immediately, in its most severe form untreated it can result in death.

Further information can be found on the NHS Choices website, www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Pages/BodyMap.aspx?Index=L

Last updated:

Lyme Disease
Bacterial infection transmitted from animals to humans by tick bites. Animal hosts include deer, foxes, sheep, squirrels and rodents. Ticks are most active in the early summer and autumn although they may be found at other times. They are often located on tall vegetation in woodlands and heaths from where they can attach themselves to their host. To protect yourself wear long sleeves and long trousers tucked in to your socks. Check for ticks on your return home, if found it should be removed immediately. Removal is best achieved with fine-toothed tweezers, pulling steadily away from the skin.

Only a small minority of tick bites carry Lyme Disease. Symptoms include a red, expanding rash parts of which may clear as it enlarges resulting in a "bull's-eye" appearance. Other symptoms are fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes. If you think you may have contacted Lyme Disease please seek medical advise immediate. Treatment is with antibiotics, without treatment a number of serious conditions can arise including a viral-like meningitis, facial palsy, other nerve damage or arthritis.

Further information can be found on the NHS Choices website, www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Pages/BodyMap.aspx?Index=L

Last updated:

Toxocariasis
Toxocariasis is a rare infection caused by roundworm parasites which is spread from animals (particularly cats, dogs and foxes) via their infected faeces. For most these larvae cause no symptoms and die within a few months. However, some may experience mild symptoms such as a cough, high temperature (fever), headaches or stomach pain. In rare cases, organs such as the liver, lungs, eyes or brain become infected causing severe symptoms such as fatigue, loss of appetite, breathing difficulties and blurred or cloudy vision in one eye.

Further information can be found on the NHS Choices website, www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Pages/BodyMap.aspx?Index=T

Last updated:

   Econet's Health and Safety Policy can be found in the "About Us" section of our website at www.econetreading.org.uk/admin.

   9 September 2017 18:27 T1709231690