Brief description of activity, location, feature, activity and equipment used.
A risk benefit assessment for any area where participants (children and adults) and LTL staff will come into contact with flora and fauna either deliberately or as a consequence of another activity.
Activities include running, walking, climbing or standing, den building, tree climbing, hiding, artwork with natural materials, lying down in, free play, field trips to study nature and eating (naturally scavenged and brought in) food.
Location is varied, and the relevant specific LTL Risk Benefit Assessment should be used in conjunction with this RBA.
LTL recognises that all risks cannot be reduced to nil, therefore this risk assessment prioritises the significant risks. Significant risks are those which pose risk of serious injury, chronic injury, disability or death, or risks that are overly common in interrupting our staff and clients normal work. For all activities, LTL staff will dynamically assesses risks and put in place control measures and record as required, but always within agreed and recorded RBA’s.
Concerns, changes in risk management practice or minor injuries that are seen by LTL staff to be significant should be reported to the LTL manager who has signed off this RBA. The correct LTL Incident Report form should be used.
This RBA should be read in conjunction with LTL’s Health and Safety Policy, other relevant LTL Risk Benefit Assessments and LTL Play Policy (as appropriate).
Activity or feature:
Being near or coming into direct contact with larger and farmed animals – particularly animals such as horses, cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry.
Being near or in areas where vermin are, such as around bins, playgrounds, parks, housing and (stagnant & moving) water edges.
Being near or coming into direct contact with domestic animals – including dogs, cats, birds and small mammals.
Being near or coming into contact with all forms of vegetation of varied type, in cultivated and natural settings.
How will participants benefit?
Being close to and meeting animals is a rich and memorable learning experience, and may lead to future careers and lifestyles that are positive for many children.
Time spent in green and natural spaces and with animals is proven beneficial to our health and wellbeing.
Learning about nature’s provision and opportunity in fauna and flora is also a rich learning experience that should enable all of us to care for our natural world more, contributing to good citizenship.
Learning to manage risks and opportunities is best achieved in contexts that are real, and flora and fauna offer this in abundance.
Who will be at risk?
All LTL staff, adult participants and children.
Members of public or LTL visiting staff may also be affected.
Any local factors that may affect risks or controls:
Group competence, local flora and fauna that present unusual risks or increased risk (e.g. a farm)
Possible hazards and risks:
Horses:Being bitten, trampled or kicked. Ringworm infections.
Cattle: Being trampled or kicked. Zoonosis (E-Coli 157, Cryptosporidium)
Sheep: Being butted or knocked over. Zoonosis (Toxoplasmosis. E-Coli 157, Cryptosporidium)
Pigs: Being butted or bitten. Zoonosis (E-Coli 157)
Poultry: Zoonosis (Avian Flu, Psittacosis)
Vermin (rats particularly): Being bitten, Zoonosis (Weil’s Disease).
Dogs: Being bitten or scratched. Flea infestations.
Cats: Being bitten or scratched. Flea infestations. Zoonosis (Toxoplasmosis)
Fox: Being bitten and Zoonosis (Toxoplasmosis)
Avian: Raptors may bite, scratch or puncture wound if they attack. (Psittacosis)
Flora: Allergic reaction from poisonous plants. Ingestion of poisonous plants.
Ticks: Being bitten and Zoonosis (Lyme Disease).
Bees, Wasp, Insects: being stung, if combined with allergy or stung multiple times.
Snakes: being bitten by an Adder.
Other site specific wildlife may also need to be accounted for, such as deer.
Precautions and control measures to reduce the risk severity or likelihood:
Overall hygiene in line with Health Protection Scotland or Public Health England shall be applied, including having suitable equipment for hand washing and hygiene available.
Horses: Care on open ground if approached by horses; consider a barrier between animal and persons (such as gate or fence). Good hygiene should contact with animal occur. No eating in areas used by animals.
Cattle, pigs, sheep: Groups not to approach farm animals in open ground. Care on open ground if approached by animals; consider a barrier between animal and persons (such as gate or fence). Good hygiene should animal contact occur. No eating in areas used by animals.
Poultry: Good hygiene post animal or area contact.
Vermin (rats particularly): Awareness of possible areas of contamination. Good hygiene post activity if any concern.
Dogs: Care around ‘unknown’ or off-lead dogs. Group taught to freeze, hands by side if concerned. Speak to owners before allowing persons to approach. Good hygiene post animal contact or faeces contact.
Cats: Care around ‘unknown’ animals. Good hygiene post animal contact or faeces contact.
Avian: Care around any raptor (captive or wild) with groups. Speak to handler if raptors are captive. Good hygiene post animal contact or faeces contact.
Flora: No eating of fungi. Wild food eating sessions only to be led by experienced leaders or Forest School trained staff. Clear briefing to participants about the risks.
Ticks: Awareness of possible areas for ticks, briefing to group of how to spot a tick and infection from them. All tick bites to be recorded on first aid sheet.
Bees, Wasp, Insects: Care if numbers of bees, wasps or other insects (such as ants or beetles) are present. Consider inspecting for nests, and avoid area if found. Awareness of group medical information if off school site, particularly allergies.
Snakes: Awareness of snake prone areas, on warm sunny days or with quiet activities in undergrowth.
LTL staff will have simple hand washing equipment such as wipes with them, or locally available in school or public facilities.
Staff can find more information on Zoonosis at goo.gl/R0VJOi
All LTL staff delivering training courses will hold a relevant emergency first aid qualification, appropriate to the training being led, and carry a first aid kit.
Precedents or comparisons:
HSE Highlight that the Zoonosis issues are severe, and should be considered carefully.
However, farm, zoo and countryside visits for schools, there is clear precedent for contact with flora and fauna with adults and children.
Forest School’s good practice offers a useful scaffold for eating of and proximity to various plants.
Royal Highland Educational Trust offers a useful scaffold for visits where farm animals will be present.
The hazards presented by dogs, cats, insects and snakes are present in everyday life for most people.
Real consideration of the groups competence and awareness should be a strong factor in dynamic judgements made, however, interacting with plants and animals is a wonderful learning experience for children and adults, and is to be encouraged where possible.
Although some of the hazards are high consequence, with good group management and hygiene, the real risks are acceptably low.
Further Risk Benefit Assessment should be done for each specific farm visit (or similar) and visits to areas of known tick and snake risk with groups. LTL Management permission is needed for each of these specific RBAs, in line with LTL Policy.