HBAGA 010 Health and Safety Policy

‘Health and Safety’ is often wrongly blamed for preventing organisations from running events and people from volunteering. Taking a sensible, proportionate  approach is the key to making sure things go smoothly and safely and avoiding unnecessary bureaucracy. (Reference HSE Volunteering)

All activities carry an element of risk and allotment gardening is no exception.

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the regulations made under it apply if any organisation (including a voluntary organisation) has at least one employee. (Reference HSE FAQs). We don’t have any employees, so the Act does not apply to HBAGA. However, the Association and its members have a responsibility to act in a way which shows a duty of care to others around them and to their property.

The overall need for care is outlined in our Constitution and Plot Rules. This document covers the main issues in more detail.

1. Responsibility

Everyone has a general duty of care, but it is more particularly the responsibility of the HBAGA Committee to take action should problems arise. We expect all members to take notice of any H&S advice issued by Site Managers and others on the Committee.

2. General Plot Safety

Plots present dangers. Do your best to avoid them. For example –

                                Tools left on the ground where they might trip

                                       Canes uncapped which can cause serious eye damage

      Uncovered holes in the ground

Note that there could be serious repercussions if anyone, even an intruder, is injured due to a careless negligent act.

3. Banned items on Plots

A separate document lists items and substances which aren’t permitted on sites. Those which can be a particular problem include broken glass and asbestos. Reference document HBAGA 002 for details.

4. Vehicles

Cars and other vehicles are allowed on our sites. However, space is limited so vehicles and pedestrians share the same areas, and this obviously presents a potential danger. We expect all drivers to exercise extreme care including abiding by the low site speed limits.

5. Personal Responsibilities

All members have a duty of care for those they bring onto our sites – such as children and visitors – and that should include warning them of any known potential dangers. Children are welcome but plots are not playgrounds. Dogs (under control) are also permitted – it is up to dog owners to keep their pets safe.

Cultivating plots can bring its own risks – sharp tools, mowers, cultivators and the like should be used with recommended safety equipment and with due care for others in the neighbourhood.

Plot-holders may spend time alone on their plot. It is recommended that they carry a mobile phone for use in case of emergency.

6. Accidents and Emergencies

Each site has a notice giving a number to call in the event of an incident occurring. There may be other numbers displayed but the main HBAGA emergency number uses a system which works through a series of contacts until a response is forthcoming.

A serious incident requiring the attendance of the Emergency Services should be dealt with via a 999 call. The postcode of each site is displayed and shown below:

         Eddington/Jessops CT6 5TR;

 Cross Street CT6 8NN;

 Station Road CT6 5QJ.

If possible, contact should then be made with our own HBAGA emergency number to report the issue.  

First Aid Kits are available but members are encouraged to equip themselves with basic materials and knowledge about First Aid matters for self-treatment.

Always report non-trivial accidents to your site manager – there may be steps we can take to prevent similar future occurrences.

7. HBAGA Shop

There are potential risks arising from the storage and sale of horticultural items.

Some items are heavy so take sensible precautions to avoid injury and ask for help if in doubt.

Fertilisers and other chemical materials should be handled with care. Our Shop is not open to the general public and it is assumed that those making purchases have a basic understanding of the possible risks and handle materials with due care. General concerns include keeping products away from children and animals and avoiding any pollution of ponds or waterways.

Relevant notices are displayed in the Shop.

All material should be kept in clearly marked containers away from children. Read and obey instructions on the packets.

Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are available for most of the items we sell. These give technical details of the materials, whether there are any particular risks and what to do in case of misuse. Copies are held in the Shop and on our website.

Protective equipment such as gloves and masks is available for those who help in the Shop.

8. HBAGA Tools and Machinery

Machinery such as mowers and cultivators present a potential risk, both to the operator and to others in the area of use.

As a general policy we do not have machinery available for members to borrow. However, there is some flexibility and some items are loaned to members provided there is a clear line of responsibility (who looks after the equipment) and the member wishing to use the item is properly informed about its use. It is expected that anyone using borrowed equipment will use it

safely and clean it before it is returned.

9. Lending Equipment

Anyone authorising the loan of equipment has a responsibility to ensure that it is in a good condition and that those intending to use it know how to do so safely.

The HSE website has a section on the safety inspection of equipment. (http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/inspection.htm)

This includes these direct quotes.

Inspections should concentrate on those safety-related parts which are necessary for the safe operation of work equipment.

The use of checklists can assist but these, and the records made, should be tailored to the particular type of work equipment to constrain the burden to what is strictly necessary for safety. Requiring too much detail too often can lead to inspection activity becoming burdensome with the risk of a superficial approach or even, in some cases, the inspection activity ceasing

altogether. You only need to inspect what is necessary for safety.

Records are not normally required to be made for the simplest pre-use checks.

The HBAGA approach – which items need what regular inspection by whom is decided by the Committee.

Document Agreed:

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Document approved by Committee: 07/06/19