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Auto Belay Safety Guidelines – ABC

Message from our Chairman

We thank Andrew Gardiner for all his hard word and dedication to the Mutual and its Members.

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Slips and Trips – Icy conditions and winter weather

Slip and trip accidents increase during the Autumn and Winter season for a number of reasons: there is less daylight, leaves fall onto paths and become wet and slippery and cold weather spells cause ice and snow to build up on paths. There are effective actions that you can take to reduce the risk of a slip or trip. Regardless of the size of your site, always ensure that regularly used walkways are promptly tackled.


Is there is enough lighting around your workplace for you and your workers to be able to see and avoid hazards that might be on the ground? The easiest way to find out is to ask your staff. Another way is to shadow your employees for a couple of days, walk the main internal and external routes that they use throughout their working day. It is important to do this both inside and outside of the workplace, as the effect of light changes during the day. If you can’t see hazards on the ground you will need to improve the lighting (eg new lights or changing the type of bulb).

Wet and decaying leaves

Fallen leaves that become wet or have started to decay can create slip risks in two ways, they hide any hazard that may be on the path or they themselves create a slip risk.

Put in place a procedure for removing leaves at regular intervals; you might even consider removing the offending bushes or trees altogether.

Rain water

In dealing with rainwater:

  • When fitting external paved areas ensure that the material used will be slip resistant when wet.
  • Discourage people from taking shortcuts over grass or dirt which are likely to become slippery when wet. Consider converting existing shortcuts into proper paths.
  • On new sites, before laying paths, think about how pedestrians are likely to move around the site. Putting the path in the right place from the start may save you money in the long term.
  • Many slip accidents happen at building entrances as people entering the building walk in rainwater. Fitting canopies of a good size over building entrances and in the right position can help to prevent this.
  • If a canopy is not a possibility, consider installing large, absorbent mats or even changing the entrance flooring to one which is non-slip.

Ice, frost and snow

  • To reduce the risk of slips on ice, frost or snow, you need to assess the risk and put in a system to manage it.
  • Identify the outdoor areas used by pedestrians most likely to be affected by ice, for example: – building entrances, car parks, pedestrian walkways, shortcuts, sloped areas and areas constantly in the shade or wet.
  • Monitor the temperature, as prevention is key.
  • You need to take action whenever freezing temperatures are forecast. Keep up to date by visiting a weather service site such as the Met Office or the Highways England.
  • There are also smart signs on the market, available to buy at low cost, which display warning messages at £50 and below.
  • Put a procedure in place to prevent an icy surface forming and/or keep pedestrians off the slippery surface;
    • Use grit or similar, on areas prone to be slippery in frosty, icy conditions;
    • Consider covering walkways eg by an arbour high enough for people to walk through, or use an insulating material on smaller areas overnight;
    • Divert pedestrians to less slippery walkways and barrier off existing ones.
    • If warning cones are used, remember to remove them once the hazard has passed or they will eventually be ignored.


The most common method used to de-ice floors is gritting as it is relatively cheap, quick to apply and easy to spread. Rock salt (plain and treated) is the most commonly used ‘grit’. It is the substance used on public roads by the highways authority.

Salt can stop ice forming and cause existing ice or snow to melt. It is most effective when it is ground down, but this will take far longer on pedestrian areas than on roads.

Gritting should be carried out when frost, ice or snow is forecast or when walkways are likely to be damp or wet and the floor temperatures are at, or below freezing. The best times are early in evening before the frost settles and/or early in the morning before employees arrive. Salt doesn’t work instantly; it needs sufficient time to dissolve into the moisture on the floor.

If you grit when it is raining heavily the salt will be washed away, causing a problem if the rain then turns to snow. Compacted snow, which turns to ice, is difficult to treat effectively with grit. Be aware that ‘dawn frost’ can occur on dry surfaces, when early morning dew forms and freezes on impact with the cold surface. It can be difficult to predict when or where this condition will occur.

Author Credit:-


AIM On Target Newsletter 2021

We are proud to release the latest On Target Newsletter which features articles from you the Membership and the AIM Team.  Thanks go to all the contributors for providing their insight and knowledge as always.

  • Staffing crisis in the outdoors
  • Diversifying the outdoors – Post Pandemic
  • Lessons Learned – Covid Claims
  • Financial Review of the Mutual
  • Keeping in touch – details of our social media platforms and the AIM Facebook Group
  • Supporting Schools and the LOTC

We hope you enjoy reading it and please get in touch if you have any feedback or questions.

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Protected: AIM Member Zoom Meeting on PTR

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Occupiers Liability – Successful defence

Clyde & Co have shared the following success story with us.  In a recent claim involving a survival race, the obstacle to a successful outcome for the Claimant was the finding that accidents do happen, and that there was an inherent risk that could not be prevented by the organiser.

Harrison v Intuitive Business Consultants Ltd & Ors [2021] EWHC 2396 (QB)

The Claimant had submitted that the organiser (as First Defendant) had failed to take reasonable care for her safety after she sustained serious injuries falling on part of an obstacle course at a Bear Grylls Survival race.

It was alleged that the Defendants (the Second Defendant being a subcontractor) had failed to implement intended control measures set out in their risk assessment, including instructing participants to begin the obstacle from a seated position and ensuring an appropriate spread of hay was on the ground to cushion any falls.

The Judge found that instructions were given appropriately, despite the Claimant either not hearing them or failing to follow them. In any event, causation was not established. The Defendants also had a reasonable system in relation to the spread of hay on the ground.


The Claimant voluntarily participated in a Bear Grylls Survival Race. Whilst attempting an elevated monkey ring obstacle (known as ‘the Jungle’) she fell to the ground and sustained serious injuries to her right shoulder and leg. She brought a claim for injury and losses against the event organisers and the subcontractors responsible for the planning and management (‘the Defendants’).

The Claimant brought a claim against the Defendants under s.2 of the Occupiers Liability Act 1957.


The Court accepted that there was no duty of care on the Defendants to provide guidance or supervision to participants, but that there was a duty to risk assess. The risk assessment process was followed and the Defendants had put in place a control measure requiring “clear and concise instructions” to be given to participants including a direction to “swing out from a seated position”. Once the need for instruction had been determined, the duty to provide such an instruction had been assumed.

The Claimant had started from a standing position, having stated she did not hear any instructions. She alleged that that this was the cause of her fall.

Taking into account the witness evidence and contemporaneous photographs the Court held that marshals had been trained to provide such instruction and that instructions had been given appropriately. It was not practicable to speak individually to each and every participant, but the marshals gave regular instructions to those about to embark. The Judge found that the Claimant had either not heard the instruction or failed to follow it.

In any event, the Court found that whether the Claimant had started from a seated or standing position made no difference to her fall. By the time she fell, she had been reaching for the second ring.

The use of hay was deemed a reasonable option for providing a suitable landing surface, although the Defendant remained obliged to ensure even-spreading and periodical re-distribution of the hay to avoid bare patches.

No witnesses for the Claimant observed such distribution, however the Judge relied upon the veracity of the Defendants’ witness, a marshal on the Jungle, who submitted that the staff were vigilant in their re-distribution of the hay.

The Claimant’s accident and resultant injuries were not occasioned by any fault of the Defendants and were inherent types of injury associated with obstacle races and risky activities. The Claimant was aware of the risks upon signing up to compete, with such risks being impossible to fully prevent regardless of the amount of care and vigilance demonstrated by the Defendants.

What we can learn

  • We are reminded that there is no duty on an activity provider to provide instruction unless the provider assumes that responsibility. If a suitable and sufficient risk assessment deems that instruction is required, then such responsibility is assumed and the instruction must be given.
  • The Defendants intended that participants would be instructed to start from a seated rather than standing position. The Defendant had no obligation to ensure that, having been given the instruction, that is how the participants proceeded.
  • The Court was satisfied that regular instructions, not involving direct discussions with each participant, met the threshold of reasonableness in all the circumstances of this case.
  • Attention to detail surrounding causation is crucial. Whether the Court found a breach of duty or not, it would have held that such breach had not led to the Claimant’s fall.
  • It is interesting to note that had there been a breach of duty on the part of the Defendants, the Court did state that there would have been no finding of contributory negligence on the part of the Claimant. It was “both legitimate and reasonably safe for the Claimant to set off from a standing position, following the technique of others who went before her.” Similarly, the vast majority of participants had failed to complete the rings section, so the Claimant could bear no fault for failing to complete that section.Author: Clyde & Co LLP

Outdoor Learning – The Pivot

This article in the Spring issue of Institute for Outdoor Learning Horizons magazine looks at the positives to come out of change.  As an outdoor professional the pandemic has brought challenges to many and here this has presented opportunities for some but also much change for others.

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