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

Salford

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.

NWSF News & Updates August ’13

England rugby star James Haskell launches RNLI Respect the Water campaign
The RNLI launched a new drowning awareness and water safety campaign – ‘Respect the Water’ – in Brighton during August. The campaign, was launched by England Rugby International and London Wasps flanker James Haskell, and was trialled throughout August in Sussex, Kent and Hampshire aiming to highlight the risks around the coast, with the long-term goal of reducing the number of incidents and fatalities. To highlight the need for the campaign, the charity has revealed some key statistics about coastal fatalities:
– Around 150 people die around the UK coast each year – that’s more than those killed in cycling accidents.
– Six times more men drown around the coast each year than women.
– Key causes of coastal drownings are rip currents; cold water shock; slips, trip and falls; alcohol and fatigue.
– Cold water shock can occur in any temperature below 15 o C. The average sea temperature in the UK is just 12o C.
The campaign, which offers key safety tips, has a particular focus on men aged 25-65, as this demographic represents the biggest number of fatalities.
Key causes of coastal fatalities in the UK are: rip currents; cold water shock; slips, trip and falls; alcohol and fatigue.
For more information and safety tips go to: http://rnli.org/NewsCentre/Pages/England-rugby-star-James-Haskell-launches-RNLI-Respect-the-Water-campaign.aspx

Calling all divers! Help compile the 2013 BSAC’s Annual Incident Report and contribute to a research project…..

BSAC’s Annual Incident Report 2013 deadline fast approaching
The closing date for incident submissions for BSAC’s Annual Incident Report is 14th October 2013.
Every year, BSAC compiles a comprehensive Annual Incident Report to aid diver safety by sharing information and allowing all divers to learn from the reports of others.
The reporting year runs from 1st October to 30th September each year to fit with both the diving season and to allow compilation of the report in time for publication. It is important that all reports are submitted as soon as possible in order to be included in this year’s report and so we would remind all members to submit reports for any incidents, occurring between 1st October 2012 and 30th September 2013, by Monday 14th October. The data provided by in BSAC’s Annual report is also used by the WAter Incident Database, and contributes to the Annual UK water related fatality reports. About WAID: http://www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk/waid/index.asp
Incident Report Form: Copies of an electronic Incident Report Form are available for download (where you can also download copies of previous reports) Please note that all reports are treated in strictest confidence and reassurance that names and other identifying characteristics are not included in the published report.

Divers called on to help RNLI with safety research
Divers and dive instructors are being called on to help lifesaving charity the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) with important research into participation and attitudes to risk and safety in the sport by taking part in an online survey. Last year alone, 314 diving incidents were reported to the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC).
With the support of BSAC, the RNLI, in partnership with the British Diving Safety Group (BDSG), is asking divers and dive instructors in the UK to take ten minutes to complete an online survey, which looks at their reasons for participating in diving, how often they take to the water, preferred methods and locations, experience and training, awareness of possible hazards and use of safety measures.
The findings will be used to help the RNLI and BDSG develop tailored and relevant safety messages for the diving community, to help make the sport even safer. Launched on 27 August, the survey run for nine weeks, during which time anyone who dives in the UK – no matter how often or what level of experience, can take part. Take a few minutes of your time to support this valuable research and complete the survey at http://www.rnlidiving.substance.coop

Invitation for all Hire Boat Operators to Attend Open Forums – to improve safety
The UK’s inland waterway navigation authorities are inviting boat hire operators and other interested parties to participate in a general review of hirer safety, and especially to attend regional open forums across the UK. These are the key questions at the top of the review –
How safe is hire-boating?
What are the biggest risks?
What, if anything, should we do to reduce them?
The review, which is limited to self-drive, powered hire boats, with or without overnight accommodation, has the intention of striking an appropriate balance between the roles and responsibilities of the navigation authorities, hire operators and hirers in ensuring hirer safety.
The outcomes will influence the Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) standards for hire boats, which were last reviewed in 2002, as well as ensure that safety-focused licensing conditions for hire boat operators are proportionate. By the end of the event, participants will have:
– Shared their knowledge and experience of hirer safety
– Had the opportunity to influence the BSS hire boat requirements and navigation authority hire boat licensing conditions relevant to hirer safety
– Helped to define the roles and responsibilities that the navigation authorities, hire operators and the hirers themselves have for safe boating
To find out more about the hirer safety review and, if you are a hire operator to find the link for the event booking form go to http://www.boatsafetyscheme.org/hirer-safety-review-2013 .

150 Incidents in three months: Do you know how to operate your Personal Water Craft?
In the past three months, HM Coastguard has seen an increase in the number of calls about jet skis or personal water craft (PWC). From 1st May to 1st August 2013, the number of incidents logged on HM Coastguard’s database totalled more than 150. These ranged from mechanical issues, running out of fuel or even concern that PWCs were too close to swimmers. In comparison to the same period last year (2012), HM Coastguard recorded 95 incidents. Chris Turner, HM Coastguard’s National Liaison Officer for Jet Skis and PWCs, said:
“You need to make sure you know how to operate these powerful machines. The last thing you want is to find yourself in the water after being thrown off. This is also why we always recommend that you wear a buoyancy aid and ensure you’re using a kill cord, so if you end up in the water, the engine will stop. It’s also worth taking with you a hand held VHF radio, so you can contact the Coastguard if you get into difficulty. A Personal Locator Beacon ( PLB) may be useful for more remote locations, along with mini flares and a charged mobile phone. Jet skis and PWCs have gone too fast and too close to shore. This is a concern to us as it’s putting swimmers and other beach-goers in danger. The advice is simple. Check if any bylaws are in place, stick to them and be respectful of others in the water. If you see anyone in difficulty at the coast, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.” http://www.dft.gov.uk/mca/mcga07-home/newsandpublications/press-releases.htm?id=F6E274551527E6F7&m=8&y=2013

The 2013 RoSPA National Water Safety Seminar: “Risk research and reality: empowering local prevention” is to be held on October 17th, at The Lowry, Salford Quays.
Organised by RoSPA with the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF), the RoSPA National Water Safety Seminar is recognised as the key annual multi-discipline update event for UK water safety professionals.
Opening with the introduction of the UK’s first water safety and drowning strategy, the seminar provides a mix of conference style learning updates, multiple topic tracks, and outdoor workshops – aiming to inform and resource you in your own role. For further information please contact : events@rospa.com

New video for divers promotes the benefits and safe use of closed circuit rebreathers (CCR)

A new video has been produced for divers to give them a solid foundation in the key benefits and safety considerations of using closed circuit rebreathers (CCRs) – a technology often referred to as enabling “bubble-free” diving. CCR use, which is historically associated with military and cave diving, is expected to rise sharply among recreational divers over the next few years. With CCR technology accepted to be developing fast, the CCR Aware video is targeted at those new to rebreather diving as well as existing users who might be at risk of becoming complacent.

There are about 250,000 divers in the UK and, at present, it is thought only a small percentage (estimates are between 1.6 per cent and four per cent) use CCRs, although the number of users could be rising by about 400 a year. Internationally, the potential CCR market is huge; for example, there are 1.2million divers in Germany alone.

The CCR Aware video is the result of a project led by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), which, in 2011, was asked by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to investigate and promote the safe use of CCRs. Twenty diving organisations have been involved in the project. RoSPA worked with rebreather industry experts to identify the key safety issues. In order to reach the international diving community we created the RoSPA CCR Aware film, which gives divers and those new to rebreathers a solid awareness of the key safety factors for diving with rebreathers.

RoSPA CCR Aware has been created to help you make informed choices about your diving and we’re sure that it will be of interest as a reminder for experienced rebreather divers. For more information regarding Closed Circuit rebreathers please go to: www.rospa.com/ccr-aware/ –

Environment Agency water safety warning

Enjoy our waterways but stay safe. That is the message from the Environment Agency to people who may be tempted to visit their local river during the current hot weather.
Fast currents, weirs and locks, cold water and unstable riverbanks can pose a serious health and safety risk – or even kill.  It’s a startling fact that the majority of people who drown in rivers can actually swim.

“Water claims the lives of more than 50 children a year in the UK. Drowning is the third most common accidental death among Britain’s under 16s, behind road accidents and house fires. We have worked hard to raise awareness among young people but the statistics show there is still work to do to get the message across that the hazards are often hidden, and underestimating the dangers of water can have tragic consequences.” Environment Agency Waterways Manager Irven Forbes.

The Agency has also linked up with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) to produce the popular website www.watersafetykids.co.uk

More than half of all drownings each year occur in rivers, canals, lakes and pools. According to RoSPA in 2009, coastal and inland waters claimed the lives of 405 people.

The Environment Agency has issued 10 tips to ensure people stay safe around water. They are:

  1. Don’t jump or dive into rivers – the depth is uncertain and there can be unseen dangers in the water.
  2. Be aware of strong currents and don’t go into water near weirs, locks, pipes and sluices.
  3. Take notice of safety information, warning signs and flags.  Know what they mean and do as they advise.
  4. Water can be very cold no matter what time of year. Cold water can quickly cause cramp and breathing problems making it difficult to swim.
  5. Keep away from the river’s edge and supervise young children. Drowning can occur very quickly, even in shallow water.
  6. Wear the recommended safety equipment for your activity, such as life jackets and helmets.
  7. Airbeds, inner tubes and other floatation devices can easily be carried or blown into deep water and may not keep you afloat.
  8. Consuming alcohol may impair your ability and judgment when on or in water.
  9. Get trained in lifesaving and resuscitation techniques. Know what to do in an emergency.
  10. Teach children to swim and not to go into water alone, or unsupervised.  Always ensure someone knows where you are and what you’re doing.

What to do if you see someone in difficulties:

Get help: Ring 999 or get someone else to. If you are on your own without a mobile phone, shout for help if people are nearby, or go and get help.

Think: Of your own safety first. Don’t go into the water to rescue someone – you may get in trouble too.

Reach: A stick, scarf or clothes tied together can help you reach the person. Crouch or lie down to avoid being pulled into the water.

Throw: A rope is best – you can pull the person to dry land. If you don’t have rope, throwing something in that will float, such as a ball, a plastic bottle or a lifebuoy, will help keep the person afloat until help arrives.

Keep warm: once rescued, keep the casualty warm and ensure they get medical help as soon as possible.

The Environment Agency manages around 1,000km of navigable inland waterway across England and Wales and issues safety advice as part of its role to encourage everyone to enjoy these rivers, as well as coastal waters, wisely. It is also one of several leading organisations that make up the National Water Safety Forum, which aims to prevent water-related fatalities and accidents. Check out our interactive website at www.watersafetykids.co.uk
Children and teachers can also find out more on www.wow4water.net/ 

New research reveals one in three children leave primary school unable to swim

Learning to swim at an early age can ultimately go on to save a child’s life and with drowning being the third most common cause of accidental death in children, it’s concerning to learn that one in three children are now leaving school unable to swim.

The startling new research carried out by Kellogg’s and the ASA has revealed that around 200,000 children will leave primary school this summer unable to swim, amounting to an astonishing 2million non-swimmers over the next ten years.

Of those children unable to swim, nearly 40% have never been offered school swimming lessons despite it being a statutory element of the National Curriculum.

In response to the findings the ASA and Kellogg’s are today (Thursday 17 May) meeting with the government to urge parliamentarians, policy makers, local authorities and relevant organisations to prioritise the only sport that saves lives so every child has the opportunity to learn to swim irrespective of socio-economic and ethnic background.

The research also highlighted the role of parents in helping their children learn to swim and discovered that without school swimming many children would miss out completely on the chance to learn as one in six parents admits they never take their child swimming.

Other NWSF members were also involved with the event at the launch of the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) school swimming strategy, a private event held at Westminster Hall. Representatives from RoSPA, Surf Life Saving GB and The Royal Life Saving Society UK were all at the event. Read more on the swimming.org website…

SLS GB Launch Event Water Safety guidance

Last week (26 April), SLS GB in partnership with RoSPA and with the support of SLS GB insurer Sportscover, launched a new national guidance document on the management of event water safety.
The guidance document, a product of extensive research thanks to the support of Sportscover and Derby University was launched at the RoSPA National Water Safety Conference to an audience of more than 100 experts for further consultation.
With the recent rise in mass participation and charity events there has been much demand on the expertise of SLSGB’s clubs to provide support to these events in the form of safety cover. However, in the absence of national guidance on hazard identification, risk management, competencies and equipment, SLSGB members often found themselves working under varying standards of event management. A draft copy of the guidance will be available shortly for you to provide your feedback to the consultation. Read more on the Surf Life Saving GB website…

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..