Health & Safety Considerations

Health and safety is something that will need to be managed as part of any practical restoration project. IWA's Waterway Recovery Group has policies and guidance that they adhere to on work sites which could be a useful reference.

Guidance for Waterway Restoration Groups and Branch Work Parties during COVID-19 - This guidance has been prepared using government guidelines related to the construction industry and outdoor business as well as  information from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regarding a phased return to work. This guidance will be reviewed weekly. Read our guidance COVID-19 here.  *Last reviewed 08/07/2020

Watch our Culture of Safety Video
Volunteers work all over the country on all sorts of restoration schemes - some big, some small, some incredibly ambitious. One of the things that really makes a restoration scheme stand out to us is a positive health & safety culture. Watch video now.

Construction (Design Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM) apply to all waterway restoration projects from towpath creation to bridge building and everything in between.  Watch IWA's video on CDM and take a look at our CDM guidance note which accompanies the video.  

Project Planning - Our sector undertakes highly ambitious projects using volunteers and the right planning ensures health, safety and welfare management is taken into account. Read our guidance on Project Planning. 

Risk Assessments - A Risk Assessment is an important tool in protecting volunteers, staff and your business, as well as complying with the law. Take a look at some guidance on preparing Risk Assessments.

Toolbox Talks - Toolbox talks are short discussions by supervisors to staff/volunteers. Take a look at some examples of IWA's Toolbox Talks.

Accident Reporting - Accidents must be reported as it's a legal requirement. It is also encouraged that near-miss incidents are reported to reduce the risk of a more serious future accident. Take a look at the Health and Safety Executive RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) website.

Safety Focus Series:

Temporary Works Guidance (PDF)- The requirement to manage temporary works is not just restricted to large, complex, multimillion pound projects, across all canal restoration projects we undertaken temporary works of varying scales which must be managed appropriately.

Dust Masks (PDF) - Dust Masks protect workers against airborne particles including dust and powders. Recent inspections across the restoration sector have identified that a large numbers of workers have not adequately protected themselves during operations requiring face masks or respirators. This guidance provides workers a step by step guide on how to properly fit a dust mask.

Hand-Arm Vibration (PDF) - Hand-arm vibration (HAV) is an often overlooked risk to those working on construction projects. Many volunteers across the canal restoration sector will have exceeded the the safe Exposure Limits for using certain tools without really knowing. Our simplified guidance on Hand-Arm Vibration will bring you up to speed with the rules and regulations regarding HAV.

Working at Height (PDF) - Falls from height are one of the biggest causes of workplace fatalities and major injuries across the construction industry. Common causes are falls from ladders and through fragile roofs; but we do not work from ladders or on fragile roofs, so is it an issue? The simple answer is yes, though it may not look like what you envisage working at height to be, working at height can take many forms such as working on a lock chamber or bridge to working on or near openings in the ground.

Waterway Recovery Group Documents

Volunteer's Health & Safety Guide
(Issuu) - is a guidance booklet given to new volunteers on site.

Canal Camps safety management summary (DOC) - is a guide for leaders to help them manage the safety of site volunteers.

Health & Safety Management Regime
(PDF) - a document that discusses motivations of volunteers vs. employees and Health and Safety implications.

Equipment & Procedure Guides - to follow  

External Links

HSE Manual Handling Guide (PDF) - The Health and Safety Executive has put together a document which gives lifting and handling weight limits, which are useful for writing risk assessments.

HSE Risk Management Website
- The Health and Safety Executive site provides guidance and tools to help businesses understand what they need to do to assess and control risks in the workplace and comply with health and safety law.