Willow Tit Survey Health & Safety

Willow Tit survey
Health and safety guidance notes for volunteer fieldworkers

Thank you for offering to volunteer on behalf of CBWPS as part of this Willow Tit survey project. Please read the following guidance carefully.

 

Volunteer responsibility

As a volunteer, you are under no obligation to participate or continue with a survey or scheme. You are responsible for your own health and safety and should not put yourself in a position that could place you or others, in danger. You should never undertake any work if you have concerns about your own or others’ health and safety. If you have any such concerns, you should stop the work and raise these with CBWPS.

CBWPS strongly recommends that surveys are not conducted alone.  If you choose to conduct your survey alone you must make sure that somebody knows where you are and when you’re expected back.  It is essential that you carry a mobile phone.  Please note that mobile phones may not work in some remote areas, and are only of any use if you are conscious and capable of operating them.

Insurance

Volunteers working within CBWPS guidelines are covered by CBWPS insurance policies.  This applies to volunteers who are working to instructions and within guidelines from their supervisor.  This will cover you if you are injured or if you cause any injury or damage whilst carrying out agreed duties.  A copy of the CBWPS Health and Safety Policy is available on request.

Access permission

Most sites should be accessible from public roads or footpaths as most records have been sent to CBWPS by the general public. If not working from public roads or footpaths it is your responsibility to contact the landowner to agree a time for survey; we suggest calling a few days ahead to ensure there are no problems.  The project team will provide you with landowners contact details where available and will have already been in touch with the landowner to obtain permission to survey where possible.

When phoning the landowner, check if they require you to call in before commencing the survey, as some landowners will want to meet you first, some may also want to be present during the survey.  Some landowners may have specific requirements that they will need you to follow for example if there are planned forestry operations or shoots.

It is worth confirming the survey area with the landowner, to check that they do in fact own the area you have been asked to survey. If meeting the landowner, show them a copy of your field map.

Check that you will not be trespassing by getting to the site, e.g. crossing someone else’s land. It is useful to ask the landowner the best way to access the site and where to park.

Risk assessment

Before undertaking any activities, every fieldworker should consider the particular health and safety hazards associated with their individual study sites and whether their individual circumstances and medical conditions expose them to particular hazards. Individuals should assess any potential risks arising from their fieldwork activities, which should include considering the risks specific to individual sites. You should think about what precautions should be taken against any risks. A generic risk assessment has been completed by CBWPS (see below); but you will need to consider the individual risks associated with your survey site.

Health and safety reporting

You are encouraged to immediately report any particular health and safety issues about the survey methods or the survey sites to CBWPS.

Under 18s

All volunteers must inform CBWPS if they are less than 18 years of age. Parents or guardians of the under-18 will be asked to sign a Parental Consent Form stating that they agree to their child undertaking the activities and have made them aware of the associated risks.  In addition to providing a signed parental consent form, volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.  To obtain a paper copy of the Parental Consent Form, contact your survey organiser.

 

Willow Tit Survey Generic Risk Assessment

Hazard  Rating A-C1-3 Who might be affected and how Measures in place to reduce risk
Uneven Groundslips, trips, falls B2 Volunteer 1.  Stay within your own limits – don’t do it if you feel uncomfortable2.  Take care, slow down – allow enough time for activity3.  Wear suitable footwear4.  Do not cross potentially hazardous sites, such as quarries, ravines and railway lines and do not attempt to climb steep slopes, walls or fences without carefully assessing the risk.  Use gateways where ever possible5.  Volunteers should carry a first aid kit to deal with minor injuries6.  Volunteers should be immunised against tetanus and be aware of the risk of tetanus infection of wounds through contact with soil/manure.  Keep wounds covered, use antibacterial hand wash and seek medical assistance is you are unsure if you have been immunised.
Parking and walking on roadsRoad traffic accident A3 Volunteer, other road users 1.  Be vigilant if parking on or close to roads – adhere to the highway code and do not block field entrances or create a driving hazard for other road users2.  Do not drive along roads or tracks that may damage your car3.  Do not walk along busy main roads4.  Follow Highway Code where walking on minor roads5.  Do not use headphones while walking along roads6.  Ensure you are in control of your actions while on a road (i.e. no alcohol, any bags are easy to carry, dogs under control)

7.  Ensure you are highly visible to traffic (e.g. high visibility clothing)

Livestock and agricultural machineryTrampling, goring A3 Volunteer 1. Assess fields/survey site for dangerous animals prior to entering – if concerned then do not enter, find alternative route or abandon.  Do not enter fields containing bulls and be cautious around farm dogs2. Avoid undertaking fieldwork in close proximity to working agricultural machinery or forestry operations3. Continue to assess for danger while surveying – if concerned move calmly away from livestock and exit field/survey site at nearest possible exit4. If approached by livestock remain calm and do not make sudden movements, avoid eye contact and move calmly away to nearest exit5. Any dogs should be under close control – in the event of being approached by livestock in a concerning manner, release dog from lead (livestock are likely to chase or attack dogs – if on lead then owner can be hurt due to this)
DogsBites, scratches A3 Volunteer 1.  If approached by a strange dog – stay still – do not run away. Drop anything you are holding in case this is what has attracted the dog to you. Do not shout or wave your arms. Calmly and softly give a command such as ‘sit’ or ‘stay’, as many dogs respond to these2.  Avoid eye contact – do not look the dog directly in the eye as this can be seen as a form of aggression.3.  Ignore the dog if it jumps up – do not shout or push the dog down, as it may think it is a game. Stay still and do not respond and it may eventually get bored and walk away. If you are knocked to the ground, remain motionless in the foetal position and protect your face4.  When you move, move slowly and stay facing the dog
Climbing boundary featuresFalls, cuts B3 Volunteer 1.  Use gateways and legitimate openings in boundaries where possible2.  Do not climb hedges, fences or walls without carefully assessing the risk.  Use gateways where ever possible
Lone working (potentially in remote areas) A3 Volunteer 1.  We strongly recommend that volunteers do not work alone2.  If having to work alone volunteers should ensure:a.     A fully-charged mobile phone (turned on) is carried at all timesb.     You must notify someone of what you are doing, exactly where you are surveying, where you plan to park, what your start and end time should be, method of travel to and around the site, proposed itinerary, vehicle identification details and how you will let them know of your safe return and at what time. In the event of your not returning within an hour of your stated return time this person should try to contact you and if no success contact emergency services with your survey location detailsc.     Extra care must be taken during activity
Aggressive individuals A3 Volunteer 1.  If you have any concerns about your personal safety, cease fieldwork immediately2.  Be aware of members of public who are taking an interest in volunteer activities. Consider the privacy of residents when performing early-morning survey work in residential areas3.  Engage with them where appropriate and explain what is happening and that landowner permission has been given – carry some form of identification to confirm the activities you are undertaking4.  If any signs of aggression, placate if possible otherwise move away5.  If followed, head for house or people6.  If threatened call 999 police immediately
Bites and stingsAnaphylactic shock, skin irritation A3 Volunteer 1. Be aware of plants that might cause skin irritation (i.e. stinging nettles and hogweed) and biting/stinging animals and insects (i.e. adders, horseflies, bees, wasps, hornets)2. Always carry appropriate medication if you suffer from anaphylaxis3. Follow guidance under lone working to ensure someone knows where you are
Mines, shafts, adits, sinkholes, steep slopes, boggy land, tidal zones etcfalls, trapping A3 Volunteer 1. Avoid surveying locations that pose a risk to you – where this appears impossible abandon the survey2. Stay within your own limits – don’t do it if you feel uncomfortable3. Wear suitable footwear4. Check high tide times before commencing fieldwork  around tidal habitats and allow ample time to leave the intertidal area.
WaterWeil’s disease A3 Volunteer 1.  Observe basic hygiene when working near water – wear waterproof boots and gloves, cover all cuts with watertight dressing and wash hands before eating, drinking or smoking2.  Carry antibacterial hand wash or wipes with you
Waterdrowning A3 Volunteer 1.Don’t attempt to cross ditches, wetlands or water bodies during surveys, seek a safe crossing point2.Check the weather forecast and abandon visit if high rainfall / flooding is expected
TicksLyme Disease B2 Volunteer 1. Try to avoid walking through dense bracken2. Wear trousers tucked into socks3. Check for ticks thoroughly after surveying4. Remove ticks carefully if found and remain vigilant for symptoms (bull’s eye).
Adverse weather conditionssunburn/ sunstroke, exposure/ hypothermia A2 Volunteer 1.Dress appropriately for conditions (e.g. sun hats, warm / waterproof clothing)2.Check the weather forecast in advance of your visit and do not survey if weather warnings are in force3.Do not survey in weather that you are not comfortable with4.If severe weather sets in – postpone or abandon5.Carry a map and compass and know how to use them. Carry a whistle and waterproof watch and, where appropriate, a survival bag with extra high-energy food supplies6.Do not survey in the evening or at night
Electric fencesElectrocution B3 Volunteer 1. Be vigilant whilst walking and keep an eye out for electric fences, including knee high fences2. Do not attempt to cross electric fences, find an alternative route or survey location
Adverse weather conditionsFalling trees / deadwood A2 Volunteer 1. Always check tree canopy for hung-up deadwood / unstable trees and avoid these2. Do not retreat to woodland cover during adverse weather

DKP