Econet Risk Assessment [Friends of Reading Old Cemetery]
Date: Sunday, 6th February 2022  (13:00 - 16:00)
Activity: Clearance

Site: Reading Old Cemetery
Site Manager: Reading Borough Council   
Meeting Point: Cemetery Arch    Nearest Postcode: RG1 3AQ    Map Ref: SU732731

A&E:
Royal Berkshire Hospital (0.7m)
London Road, Reading, 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: Coronavirus (Tasks); General Conservation Activities; Graveyard; Public open space; Coppicing, felling & scrub clearance; Ground clearance, gardening; Litter pick; Tree and other planting;



Coronavirus (Tasks)
Last updated: 02/11/2021 08:54:16
Typical uncontrolled outcomes
Contracting or transmitting coronavirus infection
Typical groups at risk
Volunteers; general public
  Insurance considerations
We are advised by our insurers that from April 2021 our public liability insurance will not provide cover if volunteers or service users claim we are responsible for them catching Coronavirus, or any other infectious disease.
  Hazards
  • Contact with infected person
  • Contact with contaminated surface or material
Controls
  • Tasks must be organised in accordance with current government and HSE guidelines. See www.gov.uk/coronavirus and Link(www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus}.
  • From the 17th May 2021 we will no longer be limiting the number of volunteers participating in a task. However, restrictions will be reimposed if circumstances require.
  • The task leader must ensure they have the contact details of those participating, preferably including a telephone number, which Econet will pass to the Contact Tracing Service if requested. See www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works.
  • Anyone who has had symptoms of coronavirus in the last 14 days, lives in a household where someone has had symptoms in this period or is feeling unwell, should not participate.
  • Volunteers should bring their own gloves and hand sanitiser, these will not be provided by Econet.
  • Volunteers should use hand sanitiser at the start and end of the task and before eating or drinking.
  • Whenever possible gloves should be worn.
  • Volunteers should avoid sharing tools.
  • After use, tools must be wiped down with sanitiser or quarantined for a minimum of 72 hours.
  • When retrieving tools from storage, etc., keep handling of the tools to a minimum, wearing gloves and using hand sanitiser both before and after.
  • First aiders must read and regularly review the guidance given by St John Ambulance and the HSE on the delivery of first aid. First aiders should consider wearing a face mask when providing first aid. See https://www.sja.org.uk/get-advice/first-aid-advice/unresponsive-casualty/how-to-do-cpr-on-an-adult/ and https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/first-aid-and-medicals/first-aid-certificate-coronavirus.htm.
General Conservation Activities
Last updated: 17/06/2020 18:17:08
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. Pole saws must not be used within 15m of overhead electricity cables and power lines. Where underground services suspected, use hand tools for digging within 1m 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.
Graveyard
Last updated:
Typical uncontrolled outcomes
Cuts and bruises; concussion; serious injuries from impact
Typical groups at risk
Volunteers
  Hazards
  • Falling stonework from momuments
  • Falling branches and deadwood
Controls
  • Check monuments; stop working in vicinity that do not appear structurally sound, highlight and report to site manager immediately.
  • Do not work in the vicinity of larger, mature trees and trees containing deadwood in windy conditions.
  • Volunteers working near trees containing deadwood should wear hard hats.
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.
Coppicing, felling & scrub clearance
Last updated: 20/12/2021 10:30:14
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]." Tasks should not be undertaken which contravene 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 safety glasses 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.
  • Pole saws must not be used within 15m of overhead electricity cables and power lines.
Ground clearance, gardening
Last updated: 20/07/2021 11:00:09
Typical uncontrolled outcomes
Cuts and sprains; puncture wounds; strained back; crush injuries; Toxocariasis; Toxoplasmosis; Phytophotodermatitis
Typical groups at risk
Volunteers; other site users; general public
  Hazards
  • Contact with hand tools
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Thorny material
  • Strains
  • Handling rubbish and waste material
  • Contact with hazardous plants
  • Animal faeces
  • Soil borne infections
  • Irritant or poisonous plants
Controls
  • Tools: See "General Conservation Activities" risk assessment.
  • Slips, trips and falls: See "General Conservation Activities" risk assessment.
  • Warn if thorny plants present and wear gloves and goggles when working with such plants.
  • Clear ground of thorns and other sharp objects before kneeling.
  • Thin shrubs from the outside to the centre.
  • Keep work areas clear and tidy, removing waste frequently.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Gloves should be worn when handling or clearing rubbish, use litter pickers when collecting litter.
  • Bags of rubbish should not be held close to body, if available use wheelbarrow or carry between two people.
  • 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.
  • Animal faeces should be removed using bags or burying where will not be disturbed, avoid skin contact.
  • Wear gloves when working in or handling soil.
  • Wear gloves when working with animal manure, avoid skin contact.
  • Always wash hands or use cleansing wipes or gel before eating, drinking or smoking.
Litter pick
Last updated: 20/12/2021 10:30:14
Typical uncontrolled outcomes
Back strains; minor cuts and bruises; sickness and diarrhoea
Typical groups at risk
Volunteers
  Hazards
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Eye injuries
  • Presence of broken bottles and similar.
  • Contact with harmful substances
  • Contact with rats urine, faeces and other bio-hazards.
Controls
  • Slips, trips and falls: See "General Conservation Activities" risk assessment.
  • Wear safety glasses to prevent eye injuries from protruding branches and branches under tension.
  • Always wash hands or use cleansing wipes or gel before eating, drinking or smoking.
  • Avoid handling litter; always wear gloves and preferably use litter pickers.
  • Bags containing litter should be held away from body.
  • Provide seperate container for broken bottles and similar.
  • If sharps found, do not touch or move, highlight location and advise site owner or manager.
  • 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.
Tree and other planting
Last updated: 20/07/2021 11:00:09
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.
PPE
Face masks; Rigger gloves;

Graveyard: Hard hats;

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

Ground clearance, gardening: Litter pickers;

Litter pick: Litter pickers; Safety glasses;

Tree and other planting: Hard hats;

Actual items needed may vary according to the task.

Background Information

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, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/lyme-disease/

Last updated: 22/03/2021 13:12:20

Phytophotodermatitis
Phytophotodermatitis is a rash which occurs when the sap of certain plants comes in to contact with the skin and is then exposed to the sunlight. The rash usual appears after about 24 hours and may be an odd shape, appear bruised, or develop blisters. Plants that may cause the condition include members of the carrot and parsley family.
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, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/toxocariasis/

Last updated: 22/03/2021 13:13:32

Toxoplasmosis
Toxoplasmosis is a common infection that occurs in most birds and mammals, including humans. Signs of toxoplasmosis include mild flu-like symptoms, such as high temperature, sore throat and aching muscles. However, in most cases, toxoplasmosis doesn't cause any symptoms although serious complications may arise in those with weakened immune systems.

Congenital toxoplasmosis is also more serious and occurs when a woman becomes infected during pregnancy and passes the infection on to her unborn baby. This can result in the baby developing serious health problems such as blindness and brain damage.

Toxoplasmosis is caused by infection with a common parasite called Toxoplasma gondii which amongst various sources can be found in cat faeces and soil contaminated with infected cat faeces.

Further information can be found on the NHS Choices website, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/toxoplasmosis/

Last updated: 22/03/2021 13:14:30

   Econet's Health and Safety Policy can be found at www.econetreading.org.uk/admin.

   9 January 2022 11:40 T2202063824