Blah Blah Intro
The following is an overview of a recent occurrence, which could have had negative outcomes for safety, and is therefore worth raising as something to be aware of.
Last week an activity took place where multiple teams were aiming to complete the same objective in a similar area. The management of some participants was not to the standard we expected in terms of engagement with the group or safety. This may well have come about due to a lack of clarity in regards to roles and responsibilities. In this instance there was uncertainty as to who was responsible for the leadership and management of a group of young people. (I should at this point stress, no one was in any immediate danger or came to harm, but I think we could have done better). The key point taken from this incident is that whenever we head out on activity we need to be clear who is responsible for the group, what the objective of the activity is, and what support is available. In this circumstance, two parties had different impressions of how the day was being managed, which then led to a grey area which left unchecked could have led to serious implications.
- Every person on a programme should have someone who is responsible for them (i.e. The 12 participants of team 1 and their teacher are being led by Matt on Kinder today)
- If we are “working together” to manage an activity, than those two instructors should have a conversation about their plan, not assume they each are working to the same plan.
- Briefings are an extremely important aspect of any course or expedition and are arguably, the single most important part of the safety chain. Everyone, without exception, must be present and engaging with that briefing. (Even if “this is your 10th time with the school”, “you are local”, “you are a member of the office team” etc.)
- If your not sure, ask, and become sure!
- If you are concerned about another group, their leader or a situation you see unfolding, speak up at the time. You might not have the full picture, but better to discretely raise a concern and be corrected than watch something go horribly wrong later.
Keep the feedback coming! If we can learn from near misses we will hopefully go some way in avoiding accidents in the future. Any questions, as always just give me a call.
A few key updates (Kept as brief as I can!)
1 – Safeguarding and “Stranger Danger”
Following a near miss on a course where a stranger accessed young people’s accommodation can I remind you to include “stranger danger” in your group and staff briefings. Where using sites where we have “sole use” we should be questioning unknown people onsite, and where we are sharing sites, we should be acutely aware of where others have access to and where they should not. This is particularly important in areas where students are unsupervised or in sensitive areas such as student accommodation and bathrooms. If you’d like to discuss the implications of this on a course your leading or how to mange this, please give me a call.
2 – Important Documents
A number of you have asked recently where our instructor website area has gone. We took this down when we launched the new website and are now using a shared folder at the following link (which is usually in the Joining Instruction information) https://1drv.ms/u/s!AlN0c5xl-ww7g6kuCoKflNplfR2plg?e=BWB2zo This contains policies procedures and common forms such as incident report forms for you to use.
3 – “When to call the duty manager?”
Duty Managers are listed on your Joining Instructions, but most if not all the time, these contacts are usually myself backed up by Tony. These are the people who you can call or message 24/7 with any operational updates or issues. Generally we like to hear at the very least that a course has closed and went well. We are also here to help and support any incidents, issues or difficult situations. This may be as a sounding board for you, to enable us to provide greater resource to help a situation, or even just to be “in the loop” with the course of action you have taken. There have been a couple of times in recent weeks where we have heard of incidents days later that we felt we may have liked to have known about sooner. If a situation may cause customer or parent concerns and complaint, engages external agencies, or is a significant incident, we’d like to hear as soon as is convenient. Examples of this are safeguarding incidents, accidents resulting in hospital visits, or students being sent home. This is not so we can micro mange you at all, but to pre warn us if the incident may spill outside of the expeditions sphere of influence, (Headteachers or Parents calling us) or to allow us to put in place procedures resource or support that we may have at our disposal. I’m happy to elaborate on this on the phone if you wish, but essentially, I’d prefer to be bothered and in the loop, than hear on the grapevine!
That’s all for now. Keep up all the great work your doing supporting your teams to deliver outstanding outdoor development.
Following an interesting question on a freelance Facebook page, including the sharing of a report on when things go wrong (the death of a Ten Tors participant on Dartmoor), I felt inspired to send out a useful reminder about a really important topic, which was recently reviewed in our Instructor Handbook……….. Remote Supervision
Pages 15 to 19 cover Remote supervision and include sections on:
- Supervision Options – Its not all or nothing, there’s a wide spectrum of “supervision”!
- Factors which influence your choice of supervision
- Scenarios giving examples of appropriate techniques
- What to do when remote supervision goes wrong
- Staff communication
- WhatsApp as a tracking tool
It’s something we do an awful lot of, but something we need to always be cautious with. We need to ensure our supervision tactic is appropriate to the group, the conditions, the area, and your ability/knowledge of the area.
A key point that came out of the online debate ( which was to do with DofE expeditions being “independent” and “self-led”) was that first and foremost we have a duty of care to the safe oversight of our participants, this duty of care is the same whether you are directly with them, or remotely supervising them. If for example they are crossing a busy A road, it’s absolutely appropriate to directly supervise this. A DofE group can be “self-led” whilst still directly supervised. You being with the group may be to “back them up” or “ensure safety” they are still able to take the lead, make their own decisions and manage their own expedition, we are just ensuring they are safe and giving them a bit of back up.
If you have a bit more time to spare, the following are worth a read and will certainly enhance/refresh your knowledge or serve as great reminders (however long you’ve been instructing!)
- The interesting post on Facebook the post was created on 3rd March
- A really useful document produced by Mountain Training on remote supervision – Mountain Training Document
- The court case summary for the death on Dartmoor (A great reminder to be able to justify your decision making) –
If anyone wants to chat more about this topic, do let me know and if we get enough interest we can put together a bit of a zoom session for an hour or so and go through some scenarios and share experiences.
All the best
A quick but important reminder from me on First Aid
If First Aid is administered then it needs recording on either a paper form or the digital form at the following link – https://forms.gle/3XHHaTKwWSLHKFKe9
We have noticed a significant increase in group first aid kits coming bag opened (they are sealed with security tags so easy to spot) and various items particularly ice packs used with no record as to what they were used for. In every first aid kit is a paper incident form, if a kit is opened to use something, please note down the details on that form and leave it in there so we can record it on its return to stores.
Whilst we all can appreciate the importance for recording of accident, incidents and near misses, maybe groups don’t know this and are self-fixing! That’s great, but we need to know, so please mention to groups about letting you know if they do first aid in your briefing whilst handing out the first aid kit.
All the best