Teachers & Group Leaders

Risk Assessment

1. Preface

The museum is generally a safe environment but there are inevitably risks to child and adult visitors. The purpose of this document is to review those risks so that they can be managed successfully. An internal document covers our assessment of risks which are unrelated to visiting groups and these are not included.

Section 4 of the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act places duties on the Trust in respect of the health and safety of persons not in the Trust’s employment who may be affected by its activities. This includes our volunteers, visitors, and anyone else who comes into the Museum. The management of this responsibility requires risks to be assessed, and control measures put in place to eliminate or reduce them. The law recognises that some measures may not be worthwhile, as being not “reasonably practicable” i.e. the cost and difficulty of the control measure is disproportionate to the risk. In this document risks are assessed on the basis of likelihood and consequences, and a simple “high medium or low” measurement system is used.

Risk Assessment for School and Similar Groups

Fire

Those affected:
All participants
Control measures:
  • Smoking is prohibited in the museum
  • Fire extinguishers are provided throughout the premises
  • Clearly signed fire escape routes are provided
  • Emergency lighting is provided
  • A fire alarm system with smoke detectors is provided, with a link to a control room who can alert the fire service
Potential consequences:
Death
Residual Risks:
  • Low

Slips / trips / falls

Those affected:
All participants
Control measures:
  • Leader to point out hazards to other adults, including stairs and ramp
  • Ramp to be roped off while groups of children present
  • All adults to supervise children appropriately
  • Children to be encouraged to use hand rails when ascending/descending the stairs
  • Stairs to be illuminated unless well lit by daylight
  • Spills cleared up immediately to avoid slippages
  • Trip hazards removed by staff
  • Access to ice well locked or fully controlled
Potential consequences:
Minor injury
Residual Risks:
  • Low to Medium
Notes:
First aid kits available, but groups are encouraged to bring their own and provide first aiders. Education Officer is qualified paediatric first aider.

Climbing / falling into ice well

Those affected:
Children
Control measures:
  • All school groups and children are prohibited from descending into the ice well
  • Gate leading to ice well steps is kept locked
  • Ice well void is securely fenced
  • All adults are to ensure that children are not allowed to climb on any fence
Potential consequences:
Death
Residual Risks:
  • Low

Manual handling – wheelchairs

Those affected:
Carers, wheelchair users
Control measures:
  • Carers/users to be shown the lifts for movement from floor to floor
Potential consequences:
Minor injury only
Residual Risks:
  • Low

Falling in the canal (drowning, leptospirosis, Injury due to hazards under water)

Those affected:
All participants
Control measures:
  • Adults to supervise children at all times
  • Warning notices displayed on the rare occasions when the water surface is covered in weed, which can lead to the illusion of grass in the eyes of small children
  • No unsupervised access to boats – museum personnel must be present
  • Life-saving equipment is provided
  • Advice on Leptospirosis precautions is readily available
Potential consequences:
Consequences range from embarrassment to death
Residual Risks:
  • Very low chance of death by drowning as rescue is relatively easy
  • Very low risk of leptospirosis – staff will advice anyone who falls in on precautions
  • Low risk of under-water hazards causing injury

Child protection risks

Those affected:
Children
Control measures:
  • The museum has a child protection policy in place
  • Staff receive training in this area
  • Children are always to be supervised by teacher or other accompanying adult
  • Children remain in groups
Potential consequences:
Serious emotional or physical harm
Residual Risks:
  • Low

Electrical hazards

Those affected:
All participants
Control measures:
  • Regular visual inspections of equipment
  • Any equipment giving cause for concern checked by competent person
  • Residual current devices are in place covering all circuits
  • Trailing leads to be taped down (or rubber protector used) to avoid equipment being damaged and trip hazard
  • Equipment brought into the museum only used after inspection by a member of staff
Potential consequences:
Injury or death
Residual Risks:
  • Low

3. Notes

  • Group leaders are asked to inform museum personnel should they see any hazards so that they can be dealt with as appropriate
  • Group leaders are responsible for the behaviour of the children and young people in their group. Should this supervision be deemed inadequate, museum personnel may ask that the adults intervene, or in the absence of a supervising adult, intervene themselves. Should this be a persistent problem, the Education Officer reserves the right to curtail an activity or visit on safety grounds.

4. Special situation risk assessments

We have two special situation risk assessments that may be downloaded as PDF files. They cover factors that are particular to:

5. Going on Boats

Boat trips are fun, educational, and a new experience for many children. You may fear that they are dangerous but in fact accidents to children on such trips are extremely rare. London canal Museum does not operate any passenger boats. We act in an agency capacity to help you book boats from partner charities and they all have their own risk assessments. However we can offer some general information about the hazards of going boating. Effective supervision is of course the key measure that you need to take in ensuring the safety of children.

  • Water. This is an obvious hazard but falling in the canal is very, very rare. The water is only a few feet deep and the bank is never more than a few feet away so if a child were to fall in, rescue would be relatively easy. All the boats provide lifejackets for children. It is not necessary for adults to wear them unless they are frail or vulnerable or disabled. Obviously, supervision is important to curtail horseplay that could result in falling in either from the bank or the boat.
  • Canal Infrastructure. This is probably the most serious risk when boating. Boats are heavy and the infrastructure (walls, locks, etc.) of the canal is unyielding. So hands and feet etc. must not be allowed to come between the two. Supervisors must make sure that nobody dangles arms or legs over the side, especially when in or near locks, tunnels, bridges or the side of the canal, or other boats. If people stay within the profile of the boat they are safe even if there is a collision. (minor collisions are common but normally harmless).
  • Fire. A fire on a boat is a serious matter but thankfully very rare. All the boats carry extinguishers. Except in tunnels the bank is always close by. The ready availability of fresh air reduces the hazard of smoke inhalation – the biggest killer in fires in buildings. (Overnight trips are not discussed here, where this would be more of an issue).
  • Slipping and falling. Getting on and off boats, and moving around when they are moving and perhaps bumping against walls etc presents some risk of falling. Children (and adults) must not be permitted to get on or off a boat until the skipper has told them to do so. Falling between a boat and the wharf is the most serious issue here – see canal infrastructure above. Other slips trips and falls are likely to have only minor consequences. Children should not be allowed near cooking stoves if they are in use. Everyone should wear sensible shoes for boating – loose shoes that might fall off are not reccommended. Special thought needs to be given to the needs of any disabled adults or children but for most, there is little to worry about if effective supervision is in place.
  • Sinking In the extremely unlikely event that your boat sinks, you will still be able to stand in or on it as the canal is not deep enough for a boat to be submerged.