Health Safety and Safeguarding Policy




Statement of general policy

    • To provide adequate control of the health and safety risks arising from Club activities
    • To provide all members and volunteers with adequate guidance and training if necessary for Field trips
    • To avoid accidents and provide safe facilities and equipment
    • To maintain safe and healthy meeting conditions, and abide by the Health & Safety policies of venues where our meetings may be held
    • To protect the personal data of Members
    • To comply with relevant applicable legislation including Safeguarding of Children and Vulnerable Adults
    • To provide equal opportunities for all members regardless of race, colour, nationality, religion, ethnic or national origins, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation or disability
    • To review and revise this policy as necessary at regular intervals
  • Responsibilities Overall and final responsibility for health, safety and safeguarding is that of the Council as Trustees of the Club. Day to day responsibility for promoting and liaising on health and safety related matters is delegated to the named Health and Safety officer (HSO)

    Field Trip Leaders should ensure that all participants are aware of the health and safety measures laid down for Field Trips, and that an appropriate Risk Assessment is carried out in advance of any Event.

    To comply with Health and Safety regulations, Members and Volunteers should –


    • co-operate with Leaders on health and safety matters
    • not interfere with anything provided to safeguard their health and safety
    • take reasonable care of their own, and others, health and safety
    • Report all health and safety concerns to the HSO or walk leader / council member / event organiser
  • Health and safety risks arising from our activities For Club meetings, the Venue is responsible for ensuring the fire risk assessment is undertaken and implemented, escape routes are checked, fire extinguishers are maintained and checked, alarms are tested and emergency evacuation tested. The HSO or Event organizer will liaise with the Venue for any concerns, and to ensure members are aware of any relevant risks or issues.

    For Field trips a list of some previously identified hazards with the associated risks and suggested actions is attached at Appendix B for guidance.

    Information, instruction and supervision Health and safety advice is available from the Health and Safety Officer. Guidance for new members/volunteers may be arranged by the HSO or Trip leader if required. Leaders will be provided with guidance notes (Appendix A)

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    Accidents, first aid On Field Trips, the walk leader may carry a basic first aid kit which may be obtained from the Secretary by arrangement prior to a field trip. The Leader shall be classed as the Appointed Person in case of any incidents.

    If the field trip is attended by more than 25 people it is recommended that a designated first aider is appointed and made known to those attending. No formal first aid training is required, though the carrying of a suitable first aid kit and a basic understanding of first aid is needed.

    Accidents and cases of serious ill health are to be recorded in the accident book kept by the Health and Safety officer.

    Safeguarding Members should treat each other with respect. As a Member organization, DTNFC will not discriminate against any person based on race, colour, nationality, religion, ethnic or national origins, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation or disability. An Equal Opportunities Statement is contained at Appendix C.

    In accordance with this policy DTNFC shall comply with current legislation regarding the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults and Children where applicable.

    Vulnerable Adults It is not expected that any DTNFC member will have regular or unsupervised contact with Vulnerable Adults. In the event that Vulnerable Adults attend winter meetings or participate in Field trips, Members should be aware of the guidelines contained in Appendix D. Any concerns should be raised with the President or a member of Council.

    Protection of Children DTNFC welcomes Junior Members over the age of 16, and organizes or participates in events open to Children. The aim of the Protection of Children section is to avoid regular or unsupervised contact with children and young people. Any children attending events should be accompanied and supervised by a parent or other designated responsible adult.

    For information for Members, some guidance notes on Child Abuse are contained in Appendix E. Any concerns surrounding the issues of child abuse should be raised with the President or a member of Council.

    Protection of Data DTNFC treats member privacy seriously and aims to comply with the relevant UK Legislation, most recently the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). Personal data will be used solely by DTNFC for Club purposes and shall not be passed to any third parties.

    Review Once a year the Council will meet to discuss the extent to which practice conforms with the content of the policy. No later than three years following adoption of the policy, Council will meet to discuss whether the policy needs revising in the light of any new health and safety legislation and best practice advice.

    This Policy was adopted on:…18 January 2019………………(date)

    Signed:……Approved at Club Council meeting……………………………..

    Position:…Club Council………………………………………………….

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    In these days of increased awareness of Health & Safety issues, a few simple guidelines for those leading the outings for the Summer Programme are appropriate. These are particularly aimed at first time leaders but will also act as a reminder for the more experienced. A list is attached at Appendix B of the potential hazards that the Club may encounter on outings that need to be recognised and taken into consideration by all field trip participants. Please note that Health and Safety is mainly common sense and the list is a helpful consolidation of typical hazards.



    • Check that your intended route is able to be used by Members. Remember to ask permission from the land
  • owner if your walk crosses private land. Public rights of way and permissive paths may be used, but members should not stray from the path 2. Prior to your walk, write a short description of your route including date, start time (usually from Abbey Road

    near the playing fields), accessibility, stiles, gradients, terrain, food and drink and advice about clothing as well as what you hope to see. Send this information to the Webmaster for inclusion in the web page and to the General Secretary for circulation to members. 3. Visit the area in advance. Walk the whole of the proposed route to familiarise yourself with the location and

    do a risk assessment of any hazards on the route (see Appendix B). Take particular note of any unusual risks over and above those indicated in Appendix B. Ideally you should do this with a second person who can then act as a back-marker if required. 4. Estimate time needed to complete the outing at the location and the time to drive there from the meeting

    point 5. Check parking facilities, any parking charges or restrictions and note any limitations to car numbers. 6. Check location of toilets. If there are no toilets at the location check nearest. 7. Check if there is mobile phone reception in case of emergencies. If not think about how emergency

    assistance could be summoned. e.g. look for nearest farmhouse with a telephone line. It is useful to know a few grid references or post codes as one of the first questions you will be asked in an emergency is ”Where are you”. This refers mainly to the more isolated locations, such as moors, marshes and remote farmland. If in doubt request advice from more experienced Club members before the outing.



    • Be at the published meeting point about 10 minutes before the advertised starting time to meet participants
  • and welcome visitors. 2. Ensure that those without transport are given a lift by another member 3. Where parking at the start of the walk is limited, consolidate the party into the minimum number of cars 4. On coach trips ensure that all passengers that have paid are on the coach and give 5 minutes grace for any

    who are not on the coach at the scheduled starting time – then go. 5. Make a note of the numbers starting out and again at the venue(important for safety ) 6. Check that participants are properly equipped for the expected conditions of the walk, such as adequate

    foot-wear, weather- proof clothing and other walking aids that they may need. Advise, but don’t order, those that you feel are not properly equipped not to go (use advice from experienced club members if needed) 7. Direct the party to the start of the visit and/or hand out maps or other instructions to enable drivers to find

    their own way to the meeting point. 8. Advise the party of a safe and legal parking location 9. At the start of the walk, or beforehand, agree who is going to record plants, birds, insects, mammals and other items worth recording on that specific outing eg fungi, geology, archaeology etc. Ideally, the leader should not undertake recording. However, where the leader is the only expert present on a specific subject they may decide to undertake the recording for that category.

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    • During the outing keep an eye on all the party to note anyone in difficulty or lagging behind and in danger of losing contact with the party. Regular, unobtrusive, counts of the party during the outing will indicate if anyone is missing. In remote or rougher terrain have a suitably experienced member of the group, who is familiar with the route, to act as a “back-marker”. 11. Some may wish to go off on their own, this is fine provided you know and that they agree to be at the
  • departure point on time or agree to make their own way home. 12. Before departure after the outing count the party to be sure that no-one is left behind, unless you know that

    they are staying and make sure that everyone can find their way back to Darlington or a familiar road. If Members leave early it is their responsibility to advise the Walk Leader. 13. Write a short report on the outing for member circulation, publication on the website and inclusion in the Club’s Annual Report. Your report should include a few words about the place visited; any highlights eg rarities or unusual happenings, a comment about the weather and the number of members and visitors on the outing.

    FINALLY Remember that our club outings are not hikes; they are essentially to find and record items of interest to the Club, to enjoy the natural environment and each other’s company through our mutual interests. Experience shows that short, easy walks can be just as interesting as longer, more arduous ones. Some may prefer to walk further and faster than others, or need time to identify and record what they see. Allow time for the back markers to catch up – they may have found something that everyone would like to share.

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    Appendix B


    While the majority, but not all, of our walks are in benign environments, walk leaders should note and risk assess anything along the planned route that could pose a hazard to members on the walk. The following are examples of risks that we have encountered in past walks, but the list is not exhaustive. Any specific hazards should be advised to walkers no later than at the start of the walk. Consider if any additional hazards identified should be advised to the Health & Safety Officer to update these guidelines for the benefit of future leaders. 

    HAZARD RISK AND ACTION Roads Accidents – care in crossing – follow Highway Code for

    pedestrians walking along roads. Stiles – all kinds May be difficult for the less agile – give assistance. Uneven and/or slippery paths Tripping and falling – warn. Suitable footwear and walking

    poles advised Stepping stones Slip or fall into water – care, suitable footwear, assistance Steep paths Exhaustion / slipping – less fit may need help or be advised

    not to go. Walking poles advised Low branches and rocks overhanging path Banging heads – warn Unfenced drops near paths Falling –warn to stay clear Deep water Drowning – warn to take care Confusing path networks, undefined paths, woodland paths, poor visibility.

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    Getting lost – ensure that there is a back-marker who knows the route to guide the slower walkers Signs along path warning of specific hazards eg falling rocks, works etc.

    Potential serious harm – draw attention to signs

    Poor weather forecast Exposure – at start ensure that all members of party have

    suitable clothing and footwear. Hot weather / strong sunshine Dehydration / sunburn – at start ensure that all members of

    party have drinks and sun protection Severe weather eg gales, thunder, fog, heavy rain Physical harm / exposure / losing way – consider cancelling

    walk, or cutting short if started Giant hogweed Blistered skin – draw attention to hazard Stinging nettle, thistle and briar patches Stings and scratches – draw attention to hazard Bulls alone in field Attack – stay out of field Bull with cows in field Attack – keep safe distance and do not walk directly towards

    herd. If in doubt keep out. Cows with calves in field Attack – do not take dogs in field, do not come between

    mother and calf, keep at a safe distance Horses / young cattle in field Attack / harassment – decide if animals appear aggressive or

    frisky and if so stay out Free range pigs in field Attack – keep out Dogs – not chained or fenced Attack – warn of any known aggressive dogs Bee hives / wasp nests Stings / allergic reactions – warn and keep clear Party members walk at different speeds so that rear loses contact with front

    Walkers at the rear become detached and lost – have a “back marker” who knows the route.


    Appendix C

    Equal Opportunities Statement

    DTNFC is an equal opportunities organisation and aims to be inclusive in its recruitment and retention of members.

    We aim to ensure that no applicant or volunteer receives less favourable treatment on the ground of race, colour, nationality, religion, ethnic or national origins, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation or disability.

    Membership and volunteer criteria and procedures are reviewed to ensure that individuals are treated on the basis of their relevant merits and abilities.

    All members and volunteers will be given equality of opportunity and, where appropriate and possible, special training to enable them to develop both within and outside the organisation.

    Any complaints should initially be raised with an independent member of Council who will investigate with sensitivity.

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    Appendix D

    Protection of Vulnerable Adults

    It is not expected that any person identified as a Vulnerable Adult will attend indoor meetings or participate in Field trips. The information contained in this Appendix is given for information to allow Members to identify and deal with any issues in the unlikely event that any should arise.

    Who is a vulnerable adult? A vulnerable adult is someone over the age of 18 years who: Is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness Is or may be unable to take care of her/himself Is unable to protect her/himself against significant harm or serious exploitation Others may be very vulnerable because of emotional trauma, low self-esteem and social isolation.

    Categories of abuse


    • Physical abuse – may involve touching or threatening to touch a person in a way that they have not agreed to, and which hurts them. It can include hitting, shaking, pushing and other things
    • Emotional Abuse – means making someone feel bad. It may involve conveying to the person that they are worthless, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may involve causing people to frequently feel frightened or in danger. It could involve blackmailing, shouting or screaming, deprivation of contact, continually putting a person down, humiliating them in front of other people and making threats
    • Sexual Abuse – involves forcing or enticing a vulnerable person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the individual is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative or non-penetrative acts, such as inappropriate touching
    • Neglect – the failure to meet a person’s basic physical and / or emotional needs. It may involve a failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect the vulnerable person from physical harm or danger, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, an individual’s basic emotional needs
    • Financial or material abuse – includes fraud, theft, exploitation, and misuse of an individual’s property or benefits
    • Discriminatory abuse – includes issues of harassment against people because of reasons such as race, gender, disability or sexuality
  • Abuse can be systematic or a one-off incident. Abuse may be actual or it may be threatened

    Signs of abuse People may talk openly about what is happening, but sometimes people are anxious to preserve as much confidentiality as possible, and may choose whom they tell very carefully. Sometimes, people may not tell us directly, but their behaviour may change or indicate that something is wrong.

    Allegations of abuse may be made by “third parties” – not the person directly involved. These need to be treated just as seriously.

    Members may see or hear things and suspect that abuse is taking place. It is very important that responsible action is taken. The situation is likely to persist, rather than simply “go away”.

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    Appendix E

    Child Abuse

    Rights • Children and young people have a right to proper care and protection from all forms of abuse

    What is child abuse?


    • Physical Injury – The intentional, non-accidental use of physical force that aims to hurt, injure or destroy that child
    • Sexual Abuse – The involvement of dependent, developmentally immature children or adolescents in sexual activities they do not fully comprehend, or to which they are unable to give informed consent, or that violate the social taboos of family roles
    • Emotional Abuse – The persistent emotional ill treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to the child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may involve causing children to frequently feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children
    • Neglect – When chronic inattention is given to the child by their parents / primary carers or care givers in the areas of medical, educational, stimulative, environmental, nutritional, physical or emotional needs.
  • Possible signs of Child abuse Adults associated with DTNFC will look out for the following possible signs of child abuse. However, it is understood that not all young people manifesting these symptoms will necessarily be suffering abuse. Caution, sensitivity and common sense will shape precisely how adults respond to these symptoms.

    If a child or young person:


    • Becomes withdrawn or isolated, aggressive or starts seeking attention
    • Becomes afraid of certain people
    • Develops chronic medical problems such as stomach pains or headaches
    • Acts in sexually inappropriate ways toward adults or peers
    • Becomes anorexic or bulimic
    • Fails to thrive
    • Is often hungry, or regularly tired
    • Has regular accidents
    • Has poor personal hygiene
    • Is reluctant to go home
    • Wears inappropriate clothing
    • Develops poor social relationships
    • Exhibits inappropriate emotional responses
    • Exhibits dramatic changes in mood or behaviour
    • Engages in drug or alcohol abuse
    • Runs away
    • Feels depressed
    • Has bumps, bruises or wounds and unconvincing explanations for them
    • Tells of a friend with a problem of abuse
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