YOUR OWN “HEALTH AND SAFETY”
1.1 I have asked Kevin to include this note on our website, not to get all bureaucratic or to make you worry about the old chestnut of “elf and safety” but just to address a couple of points of concern. Kevin will also be placing this note, in hard copy format, in the Spring Programme.
2.1 The first item of concern was about where Ramblers stand on the question of risk when taking part in a walk. The conclusion reached mirrors the guidance on our website. For the walk leader, in putting together a walk, they should make an assessment of any likely risks that might occur on route such as the crossing of streams over potentially slippery bridges; walking along roads; fields containing cattle etc etc. They should then weigh these up as part of their final recce of the walk, which should take place a day or two before the actual walk takes place, and advise everyone accordingly before the walk starts. For the individual walkers, they have a dual responsibility. First, is to listen carefully to the advice given by the walk leader at the commencement of the walk and Second, to accept they are accountable for their own actions/decisions in participating in the walk, making their own risk assessment(s) as they go along.
2.2 Essentially, it’s all about all of us enjoying the beautiful countryside and good companionship, taking a common sense approach and being alert to potential pitfalls.
3.1 The second point is more about what happens should something go awry and the present lack of clarity – coordination does worry me. I know the Christian names of everyone who goes walking on a Wednesday and I hope to get to know the names of the Sunday walkers in due course. What I (and almost certainly the walk leader) doesn’t know however (and why should we) are the contact numbers of each walker’s nearest and dearest. IF one of us should have a serious accident on a walk (God forbid of course), how long would it be I wonder before we were able to tell their wife/husband/partner/next of kin that something (serious) has occurred and that they are on their way to X or Y? Probably far too long is my guess.
3.2 So how do we address this issue? Now I am NOT suggesting that each time we go walking the leader should make/collect a record of names and telephone numbers – that would be far too bureaucratic and time consuming. What I am suggesting however, as part of each person taking responsibility for their own actions, is that each and every one of us carries a note of a named contact and their telephone number. Perhaps the easiest way is to make an “ICE” entry on their mobile containing the appropriate details [ICE stands for “In case of Emergency]. Alternatively, use the old fashioned way by carrying a note on a piece of paper with the information. Either way we are covered, thus providing a greater sense of security and comfort for everyone. After all, if you were on your way to hospital for example, wouldn’t you want to know that your nearest and dearest had been informed as soon as possible?
4.1 Apologies if all this comes across as conveying a rather negative message but I think it is essential we are all clear about the steps we need to take, both collectively and individually to ensure we have a safe and enjoyable time in 2013.
Chairman, Colchester Ramblers