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Safety with Groups
Here is a question - also on the main forum - about safety on community digs.

Swinging mattocks... fingers chopped by spades and people reaching for a find... jumping into trenches etc..

Is there guidance and standards? and if not... fancy helping BAJR create a draft.. which the IfA can then work with . I know that commercial groups working for groups (for cash) SHOULD have inductions, tool talks, safety procedures, risk assessments etc... but do they? :face-huh:
For really I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he
Thomas Rainborough 1647
This whole subject is interesting as volunteer groups probably act in a totally different way than professional archaeologists who have health and safety drummed into them. For example people tend to get excited when there is the prospect of finding something and everyone rushes over to see. In their excitement they can tend to lose any sense of both their own safety and everyone elses.

I have been thinking that trenches on volunteer digs should have canes and barrier tape around them positioned at a height where you cannot jump over in excitement and run into the trench into the path of a potentially dangerous situation.
those spreads of razor blade flint debitage really should be swept up and placed in a container for safe disposal as opposed to thrashing my knees and knuckles

txt is
A serious question this one... not that you would notice. serious answers only from now on please.
For really I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he
Thomas Rainborough 1647
I've had fencing and tape up around sites and people have STILL jumped over and down into a trench. Onto a possible well (luckily it wasn't and so they didn't plummet 60ft to their death/injury) :face-crying:

It might be worth considering who is insuring the work. I arranged insurance for a club I'm part of (one that uses big swords) and as a matter of course did a risk assessment, produced mitigation for the risks and produced an induction pack for new members. We submitted all of this as part of the insurance application and not only got a good price but (more importantly) haven't had any serious injuries. I also re-assess when anything changes (new vanue, new things being done) - and my fellow club mates do it too.

In the end, everyone needs to be aware and responsible - and remind each other if something is getting out of hand. It's not hard to have a generic risk assessment for your activities. I would suggest that any club, whatever they're doing, needs risk assessments and mitigation procedures and needs to be aware of the risk to their members. So I think the answer is - if you're a club and you're doing something, it's your responsibility. And you also ask to see the risk assessment of the organisations you're employing!

Anything that helps make us all safer is good, so yes a draft template is a good idea! There are also examples on the IfA website for people to work with (albeit aimed at commercial organisations).
PS apologies for spelling venue wrong - AND - I think what I'm saying is - you haven't got a hope in proverbial of persuading people to think about their own H&S if the organisation they're part of doesn't take it seriously.
Well said Clare. Indeed I would like to look at creating a Template / Guide with help. So that each club/society /group could go through a simple checklist, risk assessment etc. Then a short bit about responsibilities. And some sample things to think about. Toilets, Washing , Eating, etc. (perhaps Archpoints would have something to say) The balancing act is to remain fun...BUT keep it safe as you can. THe IfA could of course provide specific guidance for commercial ROs who are working with community groups... as this is a whole new ballgame, that indeed (I have to be honest) I see little standard in. Most archaeologists are ill-equipped to deal with the demands of a community group. ie.. ratio of public to staff? use of equipment? the simple act of digging? dangers? issues? standards!

Gawd I start to sound like I am in the IfA (better be quiet now!)

What would people see as the basics then?

pps... will talk with Tariq from Towergate. to ensure the public archaeology section is comprehensively insured :p
For really I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he
Thomas Rainborough 1647
I agree with Past Horizons. Site safety on community projects doesn't have to be expensive or particularly onerous .

Maybe 10 basic site safety rules.

1: Always wear appropriate clothing for site work

2: Understand basic site hygiene and the potential of contamination and disease.

3: Always check tools before use to make sure they are safe i.e no loose handles, broken parts, flat tyres

4: Before you start work, look around and check whether anyone is in close vicinity and what they might be doing Will they be affected by your work or vice versa?

5: Always leave tools in the condition you would expect to find them.

6: Never assume that someone else will tidy up after you.

7: No running on site

8: No smoking on site.

9: Always ask before entering the area where another archaeologists is working and never walk over another archaeologists area without permission

10: As regards site safety the site supervisor/director's word is final. If in doubt ask.
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
"1: Always wear appropriate clothing for site work "

Darn, I'll put the cocktail dress away.....

Certainly many other organisations of societies have guidance (e.g. astronomy socities) - I assume the CBA has some??
On a community dig that we had last year the community themselves took charge of the amount of people that could dig at any one time. People had to sign up in advance and say what day and time they were going to arrive. This mean't that we didn't have too many people at any one time to cope with but enough people got the chance to dig if they wanted to throughout the week. This obviously takes a bit of forward planning but I think it was worth the effort. Getting swamped with people is when a potentially dangerous situation could arise so limiting numbers at any one time may take the risk out of a situation.

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