Safe walking (in other words health & safety)

Do not be put off by the words health and safety. Another way of putting it is being prepared and having an enjoyable and relaxed walk or event. By being prepared most problems can be avoided, however, should something happen, it is best to know what to do!

Designated H&S committee member

The designated member of the committee with responsibility for health and safety is Mike Woodhead. If you need to contact Mike you can do this by email or phone (see members page).

Leading or planning to lead a walk?

Check lists / Advice sheets / Risk assessments

Do not be put off by the term risk assesment. Risk assessments are about thinking through "what might go wrong" and then taking reasonable precautions. For example slips are a high risk when walking so you wear boots with a good grip. To make it easier to use we have designed our risk assessments in a way that they also act as advice sheets and as a check list. Choose the appropriate sheet for what you are doing:

If you have any comments or suggestions please feed these back to the group's H&S rep.

Dogs on walks
When walking through fields with cattle or horses keep together as reasonably tight group do not get spread out. If you are leading a walk and have concerns about horses or cattle, you are not confident with dogs being present or the terrain is not suitable, you can say “sorry no dogs please”. The Ramblers advice is “Be prepared for cattle to react to your presence, especially if you have a dog with you”. However, we should add that we only have five members with dogs, no new members with dogs are allowed. These links take you to the Ramblers Association on walking near livestock and walking near horses. Dog owners will find further guidance and important information on insurance on our dogs owners advice sheet.

Wet & cold
Whilst we do all we can to encouarge walkers to have suitable clothing with them accidents do happen and people misjudge their equipment. To add to the safety of the group we have survival shlters that can be borrowed for walks. These re particularly important in landscapes such as dartmoor, Exmoor and the Quantocks. This link takes you to our kit list and who holds the shelters.

Emergency procedure
If an emergency occurs on a walk  you need to know what to do. To help you we have drawn up an emergency procedure. Emergency procedure for leaders. If you have to call the emergency services your exact location is very important. Make sure you have your map with you, know how to take a grid reference. A GPS gives you an exact location, the group has two which are loaned out. This link takes you to our kit list and who holds the GPSs.

Mobile phones
Mobile phones are a good way of calling for help. However, network coverage can be patchy and reception poor or non-existent. Two important things to know about and do are:
Even if you do not have a signal try to call 999 as your phone should seek out other networks.
If reception is patchy you can text an emergency message to 999 but you need to register your phone first. Open this link for information.

If an accident occurs you must, as soon as possible afterwards, contact Mike or one of the committee members (all contact details on members page).

Near misses
If any form of near miss occurs please do report this to Mike or one of the committee.  It is in this way that we can learn and improve the running of the group.

Advice for walkers

We have a walk advice sheet which tells you the equipment you will need for a safe and comfortable walk. It also provides advice on how to walk as a group. Link to advice sheet. We would hate to have to do this but if the leader or one of the committee has serious concerns over your clothing or equipment they have the right to refuse you on the walk. However, it is your responsibility for your own safety, please be sensible.

Ticks and Lymes disease
Ticks are pesky little things which you may find attached to your skin during or after a walk. To know how to identify them and what to do please read the very good advice sheet from the Lymes Disease Society. Some ticks carry Lymes disease and this can be transferred to humans so do please read the advice sheet.

Social events

We have a simple advice sheet / check list for social events - link.

First Aid Information Sheets

General First Aid (also includes some general advice for leading walks)
Breathing difficulties
Epilepsy, Diabetes
Heart attack, Angina, Cardiac Arrest
Heat Exhaustion, Heat Stroke
Shock Fainting, Anaphylactic shock
Working with helicopters



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