UK drowning prevention strategy to be launched at RoSPA National Water Safety Seminar

RoSPA National Water Safety Seminar.
The Lowry, Salford Quays – Manchester, October 17


The July heat-wave saw a large number of drowning events occur in the UK, with open water looking more inviting than ever – and it’s hidden risks less apparent.

This sadly predictable spike in this year’s figures continues to pose the question: what is the most effective way to address the UK’s current drowning problem?

Seminar delivers call to action
This year’s RoSPA National Water Safety Seminar, takes place on October 17, and sees the launch of the UK’s first water safety and drowning prevention strategy.
An essential first step to turning the statistics around, the first public presentation of the new strategy will be delivered at the seminar by NWSF Chair, Michael Vlasto OBE, and RLSS UK Chief Executive, Di Standley.

Looking at the sources of the UK’s 400 annual drowning-related fatalities, the presentation will deliver a call to action, showing how we can collectively band around it’s ideas to each play a valuable part in driving change and saving lives.

Analysing WAID data and behaviour
The last two outings of the popular event have seen updates on the development of the WAID Database. With enough data now collected to enabling meaningful comparison and insight with other sectors, this year’s seminar will hear how WAID data can be used to produce risk evidence in support of safety strategy.

Other key research and updates will also feature, making the a ‘must attend’ event, with content relevant to all water safety environments.

Early discount rates for the event expire on September 5, 2013 with additional discounts available to RoSPA Members and National Water Safety Forum Members. View the programme here.

New Report Assesses Inland Accidental Drowning Risk

The new report from RoSPA based on WAID data has identified a number of clear risk factors, enabling a more coordinated, effective and targeted approach to drowning prevention strategies.

The report ‘Assessing Inland Accidental Drowning Risk’ was funded by the RoSPA/ BNFL Scholarship scheme, and is the first report to conduct an in-depth analysis of the WAID dataset. A finding of note include a disproportionate (50% higher) rate of drowning among Welsh and Scottish males, when compared to English counterparts.

Other findings of note were:

More water + more people = more incidents. The rate of accidental inland drowning varies greatly between areas depending on the amount of water and the number of people in that area.

Leisure Safety_Summer 2013_inland risks report pic 2

The predominant hazard is “open water”, such as rivers, lakes and canals, in which 81 per cent of the deaths that were analysed, occurred. There is a stark difference with indoor swimming pools; in which just 2.7 per cent of deaths occurred.

Higher risk for Scottish and Welsh men: The rate of drowning is far higher in Scotland & Wales. The rate of death for males is over double that of females, for all three countries. Males in general have higher rates of drowning than females, particularly teenagers and young men.

Activity based risk: Whilst the risk of death is not assessed to be intolerable for any individual sport, the rate of death does vary greatly between sports. However the majority of deaths (68 per cent) involved “day-to-day” activities such as walking by water.

The project was developed in conjunction with a Forum working group including inland, and the watersports members. This report is the first in series of risk analysis developed by Forum members, and these along with the developement of a national drowning prevention strategy will be presented at the UK water safety conference in October.

More information on the WAID system can be found here.

The ‘Assessing Inland Accidental Drowning Risk Short Report ‘ can be viewed here.

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…

Drowning Prevention: In the spotlight at National Safety Seminar this week

The National Water Safety Seminar, hosted by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, takes place on Thursday, bringing together more than 100 professionals with responsibility for water safety across the UK. The seminar, which comes just weeks after new figures revealed there were 420 water-related deaths from accidents or natural causes in the UK in 2010, will focus on how accident prevention standards can be taken forward despite difficult financial operating conditions. All parts of the water safety industry will be represented, including beach, inland water (e.g. rivers and lakes), sea, swimming pool and water sports safety. The seminar, taking place at ETC Venues – Maple House, Birmingham, is supported by the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF).
Key presentations will be given by:
– Tony Stammers, head of health and safety at British Waterways: how practitioners can balance the cost of protection without sacrificing high standards
– David Walker, leisure safety manager at RoSPA, and Mike Barrett, of the NWSF: how the pioneering Water Incident Database (WAID) has developed since 2009
– Richard Wilson, head of the office of the chief executive at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency: the recently published Blueprint for Future Coastguard Organisation in the UK and its implications for coastal safety ·
– Mike Vlasto OBE, chairman of the NWSF: the future of water safety and the challenges that may lie ahead over the next 18 months
– NWSF members – sea, beach, inland, swimming pool and water sports updates.
Read the full press release on the RoSPA website…

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.

The RoSPA National Water Safety Seminar 2012 – Safety during recession: Riding out the storm

April 26, ETC Venues – Maple House, Birmingham. The current UK recession continues to ask a difficult question of water safety practitioners – how to effectively balance the cost of prevention without sacrificing high standards?

This year’s RoSPA National Water Safety Seminar will consider key tips and advice for managing water safety during recession, whilst also inspiring delegates through presentations made by practitioners who continue to move safety standards forwards, despite difficult operating conditions.

Supported by the National Water Safety Forum, the seminar has a strong following at both local and national levels – making it the “must attend” event for those serious about improving water safety. To book go to the RoSPA website..

Review of safety guidance for towed inflatable’s

The National Water Safety Forum (NWSF) and British Water Ski and Wakeboard (BWSW) are working together to review and further develop safety guidance for operators of organised towed inflatable activities.

The joint project has been launched in response to a recommendation made by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) following its investigation into a fatal accident at Princes Club Water Sports Park in Bedfont, Middlesex. An 11-year-old girl was killed in the accident on September 11, 2010, when she fell from a banana boat ride. MAIB published its report into the accident in July.

BWSW is the national governing body for the sports of water skiing and wakeboarding. It has 150 affiliates to which it gives advice and information. It also trains and maintains standards among its clubs.

BWSW has long-established guidelines about towed inflatables, which were drawn up in response to requests and concerns raised by its clubs and operators several years ago, rather than as a result of a catastrophic incident. BWSW makes this information freely and readily available through its literature and training materials, which are provided to all BWSW registered clubs, and examples were cited in the MAIB report.

BWSW will formally review its guidelines and has welcomed the opportunity for a second opinion to be provided by the NWSF.

During the course of the joint review of safety guidance, the two organisations will research the available information on incidents involving towed craft and participation levels, and make recommendations on the appropriate extent of regulation and enforcement.

Michael Vlasto OBE, the NWSF’s chairman, said: “We welcome the opportunity to work with BWSW in responding to the recommendations made following the MAIB investigation into last year’s tragic accident. Revision of the guidance will take place initially over the coming winter months, and we plan to have the results available by the end of March in order to meet the start of the 2012 season. The safety guidance will be subject to continual and continuous review to take account of changing circumstances.”

Read the report on the MAIB website…