Safety code

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(Download the Safety Code as a PDF file)

Safety Code Policy

It is the policy of the BBS to do all that is reasonably possible to ensure the safety of members and guests attending meetings and of third parties who might be affected by BBS activities. In pursuance of this policy, your attention is drawn to the following points and your co-operation is requested in exercising a high level of care.

Organisation of meetings

The BBS will, through its Council, draw the attention of local secretaries to the following:

  • The risks faced in visiting any field site must be assessed carefully and conveyed to all participants. These risks may include such things as the possibility of extreme weather conditions or the occurrence of loose boulders, industrial or agricultural chemicals, mine shafts, cliffs, concealed pools or wells, spoil heaps liable to subsidence, shooting rights, etc.
  • Permission to visit a site to which there is not open access must be obtained in advance.
  • Permission to collect must be obtained in advance. If its granting is withheld for any reason, or if restrictions on quantity are imposed, then all participants must be notified.
  • Participants must be notified of the type of protective clothing required for each excursion. They must also be advised of the need for compass, whistle, spare food, first-aid kit, etc., as appropriate in remote locations.
  • If a field trip to a hazardous and/or remote site is planned, details of departure, the proposed itinerary and expected duration should be left at the headquarters.
  • You must satisfy yourself that all participants have returned at the end of the excursion or, alternatively, you must be satisfied that someone else has been appointed to check the safe return of another member of the party.
  • You should familiarise yourself with the procedure to adopt in the event of an accident in the field.
  • When organising laboratory work, ensure that all participants know how to use the kind of microscopes, etc., available, thereby minimising the risk of damage to equipment.
  • If a deputy acts for you, it is your responsibility to see that this safety code is made available to them.
Guidance for meeting organisers

Risk assessment template

A Risk Assessment template is available for download below. It is recommended that meeting organisers take the time to tailor the template for their particular meeting(s), and ensure that it is made available to all participants before the meeting(s) start.

Download the Risk Assessment template

Participation in meetings

The BBS will, through the local secretary, draw your attention to the points listed above. It is the duty of all participants to practice extreme care and common sense and not to take risks. The following points are particularly important in taking ultimate responsibility for your own safety:

  • Ensure that you are adequately clothed and equipped.
  • Never leave the main party without notifying the leader of your plans
  • Pay particular attention to the hazards of the terrain and their potential danger, as a result of your actions, to others. For example, be careful not to dislodge loose stones and boulders.
  • Do not rock-climb without experience and the proper equipment
  • Do not damage walls, fences, hedges, gates, etc.
  • Leave gates open/shut as the party finds them.
  • Take care not to start a fire.
  • Familiarise yourself with the procedure to adopt in the event of an accident in the field.

Clothing and equipment

Always carry windproof and waterproof outer clothing and wear suitable footwear, e.g. walking boots or, in certain circumstances, wellingtons. All clothing should be suitable for the job and for the worst potential weather. Carry sufficient food and drink for the excursion, with some extra in case of emergency. A first aid kit is also advisable. In mountains, the following are necessary:

  • Two warm, long-sleeved sweaters of wool or similar material.
  • Properly fitting walking or climbing boots with commando-type or Vibram soles, worn over suitable woollen socks. Footwear should be waterproof but rubber boots should not be worn.
  • A rucksack with spare sweater and (if not being worn) anorak/cagoule and overtrousers.
  • A whistle, compass, maps, torch, first aid kit.
  • A survival bag if more than half an hour from the nearest inhabited place.

Procedure in the event of an accident in the field

First aid must be rendered at once, and medical and relief help should be sought if necessary. Prevention of exposure is almost always possible, through adequate clothing, equipment and procedure but, if a case is suspected, the initial treatment is additional warm clothing and a windproof or waterproof outer garment, plus ingestion of a source of rapidly-absorbed food such as sugar or glucose in solid or liquid form, preferably hot liquid.

The international distress code in mountains

SIX long flashes/blasts/shouts/waves in succession, repeated at 1 minute intervals.