Water safety industry will not let standards slip, despite tough times.

Today’s National Water Safety Seminar, hosted by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, will hear that the water safety industry is committed to maintaining and improving standards, despite the continuation of tough operating conditions.
The Birmingham event, supported by the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF), is bringing together more than 100 professionals whose work encompasses all aspects of water safety – beach, inland water (e.g. rivers and lakes), sea, swimming pool and water sports safety.
It comes just weeks after new figures from the NWSF revealed there were 420 water-related deaths from accidents or natural causes in the UK in 2010.

David Walker, RoSPA’s leisure safety manager, said: “The UK has a great track-record of different partners coming together to work on water safety, and it’s this joint approach that is proving crucial in the midst of tough financial conditions. Organisations from the private, public and third sectors with responsibility for water safety have all experienced budget tightening in recent years. Despite this, the strong message from the sector as a whole is that we will not accept deterioration in the standards and innovation for which the UK is well respected across the world. The fact that more than 400 lives were lost from accidents or natural causes in water in 2010 provides the impetus for staying focused on prevention. Industry partners also remain committed to being balanced and proportionate in their approach to water safety and to using robust evidence to better understand risks and how to manage them. We have also learned from regulators like the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Health and Safety Executive about how they are making the most of their resources for the future”. Today’s national seminar, which includes the presentation of world-leading research, the launch of new industry-generated safety guidance and an update about the UK’s innovative Water Incident Database, will demonstrate the breadth of water safety activities and the determination that exists to see fewer deaths and serious injuries in preventable water-related accidents”. Read the full press release on the RoSPA website…

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UK Water related fatalities 2010 WAID report: Reveals 420 deaths from accidents & Natural causes

There were 420 water-related deaths from accidents or natural causes across the UK in 2010.

The report, which uses the WAter Incident Database (WAID), reveals that, as in previous years, the highest number of fatalities – 217 (52 per cent) – happened in inland waters such as rivers, canals, lakes, lochs, reservoirs and ponds.

Nearly a quarter of fatalities – 94 (22 per cent) – happened at the coast or in a harbour, dock, marina or port, while an additional 73 deaths (17 per cent) happened out at sea. Twenty-four fatalities were the result of incidents in baths (including jacuzzis or hot-tubs), six in swimming pools and six in areas that are not usually watercourses, such as flooded areas. Although fatalities were spread across every day of the week and every month of the year, Saturday was the most common day and April and June the most common months for fatalities to occur.

WAID was developed by the NWSF to enable greater detail and volume in the collection of data on fatal and non-fatal drowning, other water-related deaths and injuries, and near misses. It collects incident data from a wide range of sources including the emergency services, sports governing bodies, coastguard, rescue services, coroners’ courts, and press reports. WAID was developed by NWSF members, including: national partners – British Waterways, British Sub Aqua Club, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Royal National Lifeboat Institution, RoSPA and Royal Life Saving Society; sports governing bodies; and regional and local organisations, including Cornwall Council. It has been developed in partnership with the Department for Transport.

The purpose of the database is to provide a comprehensive and reliable evidence-base for risks to the public from water-related activities which can be used to inform decisions on risk acceptability, prevention and the appropriateness of risk controls and regulation. The 2010 figures and the development of WAID will be discussed at the National Water Safety Seminar in Birmingham on April 26.

The UK Water related fatalities 2010 WAID report (PDF 784kb) is available here.

Consultation for update to Merchant Shipping (Accident Reporting and Investigation) Regulations is closing

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) is the body responsible for investigating marine accidents in the UK. In 2009, the European Commission and Council agreed a new Directive (2009/18/EC), which introduces common standards for the investigation of marine accidents across the EEA (European Union plus Norway and Iceland). The UK is required to update its national law to reflect the requirements of this Directive. Therefore, the MAIB must replace the Merchant Shipping (Accident Reporting and Investigation) Regulations 2005, with an updated set of Regulations which transpose the requirements of the Directive. MAIB invite comments by Friday 24 February 2012. Read more on the MAIB website… 

MAIB Safety Digest: Lessons from Marine Accidents 2/2011 is published

The MAIB’s compendium of anonymous accident summaries and safety lessons learned was published on 1 October 2011. This Safety Digest draws the attention of the marine community to some of the lessons arising from investigations into recent accidents and incidents

Read the report on the MAIB website…