Author Topic: Try Caving weekend advice from BCA  (Read 3282 times)

Offline Chris J

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Try Caving weekend advice from BCA
« on: January 25, 2007, 10:36:12 pm »
Some advice (first draft) created by the BCA for the try caving weekend. I will be contacting all the clubs who have informed me they want to take part and putting everyone into regional groups (where appropriate)

GUIDANCE ON RUNNING A CAVING TRIP EVENT
 
Pre planning – get agreement of the club, identify those who will help, will you join forces with another club?, choose your cave / mine (what are the access conditions, how long do you want to be underground, how many trips do you want to offer on the day, can you cope with a climb or a pitch, how long a trip, how wet and subject to weather is the cave, how many visitors can you cope with), seek the land owner's permission, check with other clubs to see if cave will be overloaded (ask your Regional Caving Council to coordinate), get all involved to take a trip around the cave to refresh their memory, identify who has reasonable experience to act as leader(s) or as assistants or as surface staff, do a draft risk and environmental assessment, work out where you are going to meet up, change (if needed), what to do if it is wet on the day, produce plan for the day.
 
Advertising your event – make sure you clearly state where, when and what to bring, plus the fact that you reserve the right to refuse participation to persons who are inappropriate to take caving.  Also provide a contact name, address, phone number and E Mail.  Get an item in your local newspaper for free (offering a photo along with your text is a good way of enhancing your chance of success) and up in your local library / similar places.
 
Legal considerations
 
Contract - Take no payment so you do not create a formal contract.  If people want to donate any money, then suggest they should donate it to the local CRO.
 
Duty of Care – always exists, but Compensation Act 2006 now in force (see http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2006/ukpga_20060029_en.pdf ).  However you as cavers are experienced compared to your visitors who you will be taking underground.  So there is a duty on you to take care of them.
 
Child (& Vulnerable Adult) Protection – The simplest way to deal with this is to have a parent or a parent approved adult along with the child.  An alternative is to have a caver who is cleared for work with children.  But there is no legal need to have a caver who is cleared for work with children given the event is an activity on behalf of a club.  Always work in twos, take care when handling children so as to avoid inappropriate parts of their bodies,  take care with language and the nature and tone of instructions (don't swear at them).  See http://british-caving.org.uk/?page=102 for more information.  If the worse does happen, make a record as soon as possible afterwards of what was said / done plus who was present.  
 
Insurance – is your club insured with BCA?  BCA's Council has agreed that Clubs who are insured via BCA will be covered under the policy for running the event, provided that names and addresses of every participant are taken before entering the cave.  If your club is not insured with BCA, are you prepared to take the risk?
 
Competence v Experience v appropriately Professionally qualified – This question actually starts with the chosen cave.  (I know of one cave you can pay to get a lamp and helmet and go down without a leader – quite reasonable since it is a very easy cave!)  So competence and experience in being able to get through the cave can be determined (but given the cave should be an easy one, this should not be demanding).  What some may be lacking is the competence and experience in dealing with novices.  Obviously a LCMLA or CIC award holder will get round this, but if not available, think through how you would explain to a novice how to get through the cave and how you manage their safety as they do so.  Try reading the LCMLA handbook and in particular pages 11 to 15 and 67 to 74 (see http://british-caving.org.uk/training/ed3lcmlahbk.pdf ).
 
Ratio of cavers to visitors – at a minimum you need three cavers, one leader and one assistant for a sensible party size plus one surface member.  The number of cavers underground depends upon the cave and the nature of challenges within it, c.f. it could be useful to have an extra caver to help people down / up a climb with the leader in front and assistant at the rear.  The number of visitors on the trip depends upon the nature of the cave, cave conservation considerations and the leadership ability of the cavers.
 
Gear – Provide light and helmet plus spare lights.  Have some spare clothes available for visitors who get overly wet.  Have a spare length of rope for a hand line.  Consider pre rigging cave with hand lines, ladders  etc.  Have other standard safety gear on trip.
 
On The Day
 
Review assessments on the day in the light of actual prevailing conditions.
 
Take names and addresses of visitors (for the record if case any thing goes wrong and for follow up).
 
Implement plan
 
Have a good time.
 
Draft Risk Assessment
 
A risk assessment is designed to highlight potential hazards to people and ways to either avoid or mitigate the risk of the hazard occurring and resulting in harm to the person.  This is can be done as a table with 3 columns and a row for each hazard.  Beneath are a few simple examples.  A risk assessment is unique to each cave.  It may be helpful to write the assessment on the basis of undertaking the journey from meeting up, getting to the cave, through the cave and back to the meeting place.  You should note each hazard as you encounter it.  Some hazards may just require reference back to a previous entry, whilst others may be location specific.
 
A hazard is anything that may cause harm, such as tripping on rough ground, hypothermia from being wet, falling from a height.  The potential consequence(s) is what a person may suffer from being subjected to the hazard.  The precautions are those actions one will take to minimise the risk of the hazard occurring and causing harm.
 
It has to be admitted that risk assessments are often a set of boring and bloody obvious statements; but many throw up a surprise or two.  Also identify any pre conditions which must be meet to permit the trip to take place (for example if it is too wet as stream is above given height or a novice is too large to get through narrowest part on trip).    
 
Draft Environmental Impact Assessment
 
An Environmental Impact Assessment is designed to highlight potential hazards to the environment and ways to mitigate their impact.  The primary environmental consideration is of course, the conservation of the cave.  
 
The Hazard could be Cars damage parking area, the Potential Consequence could be Cut grass up, leave deep ruts, the Precautions to be taken could be Organise alternative car park and shuttle people to entrance and the Residual Risk would be Minimal.
 
POST TRIP EVENT
 
Pre planning – get agreement of the club, identify those who will help, will you join forces with another club?, identify where are you going to hold it, seek occupiers permission (assuming it is not your hut), identify who can do what and how is in charge of various activities (c.f. cooking, washing up, car parking, hosting visitors, music, drink, sorting out sleeping accommodation), do a draft hazard analysis and critical control points for food and a risk and environmental assessment, work out what to do if it is wet on the day, produce plan for the day.
 
Advertising your event – make sure you clearly state where, when the event is.  Also provide a contact name, address, phone number and E Mail.  Get an item in your local newspaper for free (offering a photo along with your text is a good way of enhancing your chance of success) and up in your local library / similar places.
 
Legal considerations
 
Contract - no payment so no contract, but suggest donations go to CROs.
 
Duty of Care – always exists, but Compensation Act 2006 now in force (see http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2006/ukpga_20060029_en.pdf ).  Given this is a BBQ or similar type of event, your visitors will have a similar level of expertise to you.  So the duty of care is more limited (excepting that for children).
 
Child (& Vulnerable Adult) Protection – The simplest way to deal with this is to have a parent or a parent approved adult along with the child.  An alternative is to have a caver who is cleared for work with children.  (Given the one off nature of the event, can BCA advise if one can do without a cleared person?)  Always work in twos, don't give them alcohol.  See http://british-caving.org.uk/?page=102 for more information.  
 
Food safety – If you are charging for the food, then you are in business.  See http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/hygienebusinessguide.pdf for information.
 
Alcohol - You need a licence to charge for alcoholic drinks.  
 
Insurance – is your club insured with BCA?  Has BCA given agreement to waive the 10% rule?  If your club is not insured with BCA, are you prepared to take the risk?  Does your hut have restrictions in its insurance covering such events.
 
Prior to the day - organise purchase of food, etc.  Clean food, cooking areas and toilet facilities in hut.
 
On The Day
 
Review assessments on the day in the light of actual prevailing conditions.
 
Implement plan
 
Have a good time.
 
Draft Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points
 
• A Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan is a written document detailing the food handling procedures to be implemented by a certain facility.  The plan must conform to seven basic principles:
• Conduct a Hazard Analysis to examine flow of food and determine where biological, chemical and physical hazards may occur.
• Determine the Critical Control Points (CCP) of food flow essential to prevention/reduction of a food safety hazard.
• Establish Critical Limits (time & temp) a CCP must meet to prevent/reduce hazard.
• Establish Monitoring Procedures using proper tools that alert you to food safety problems or affirm critical limits are met.
• Establish Corrective Actions when a critical limit is violated.
• Establish Verification Procedures the HACCP plan works: CCPs/limits are appropriate, monitoring/corrective actions are adequate.
• Establish Record-Keeping and Documentation Procedures that food is handled and prepared safely Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points
 
Though for a single event only the first five are likely to be needed.  
 
See http://www.restaurantsource.net/landing.cfm/2971,--------------,XX and links for more information.
 
Draft Risk Assessment
 
A risk assessment for a post trip event needs to be tailored for the nature of the event and its location.  
 
Draft Environmental Impact Assessment
 
An Environmental Impact Assessment for a post trip event is not likely to identify many hazards if the event is being held at a caving hut.  However, if you holding it in a farmer's field then it will be worth considering how to ensure the field is left fit for continued use by the farmer.
 
Lastly, BCA is prepared to review draft assessments and offer comments.  Please contact Bob Mehew on risk @ british-caving.org.uk.