Econet Risk Assessment [Base Document]
Assessment: Waterside working

Scope: Activity or Site

Assessment Summary: Waterside working;

Waterside working
Last updated: 01/01/2012 00:00:00
Typical uncontrolled outcomes
Drowning; Leptospirosis; Hepatitis; ill health
Typical groups at risk
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Deep or fast flowing water
  • Contact with harmful substances
  • Contact with rats urine, faeces and other bio-hazards
  • 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.

Background Information

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,

Last updated: 22/03/2021 13:10:45

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   16 February 2024 18:40 T2302164464