Health and Safety Policy


  1. It is the policy of this Society to provide and maintain, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and healthy conditions, equipment and systems of work for all persons taking part in its activities and to safeguard members of the public whilst carrying out its activities.
  2. The Society is committed to operating in accordance with health and safety legislation.
  3. When working in private areas or locations administered by other organisations Conchological Society participants will conform to the local code of conduct and safety rules.
  4. It is the duty of all participants in any of the Society's activities to act responsibly and to do everything they can to prevent injury to themselves and fellow participants, and to prevent damage to the property of others.
  5. Although the implementation of policy is a Council responsibility, it will rely heavily on the co-operation of all those who actually participate and take any risk involved.
  6. The President of the Society shall have prime responsibility for health and safety and all Officers and Members of Council accept their individual roles in providing health and safety leadership for the Society.
  7. The Health and Safety Policy will be monitored annually by Council.
  8. A copy of this policy will be made available to all members of the Society by way of inclusion in the Members' Guide.


Ultimate responsibility for health and safety lies with the President of the Society. To assist the President in discharging this responsibility, the following duties have been allocated:

  1. The Programme Secretary has the responsibility for arranging the programme of meetings. In so far as is reasonably practicable the Programme Secretary will:
    • Ensure that all persons who supervise fieldwork are conversant with the basic techniques and practices appropriate to the work and that they appreciate potential hazards and dangers that can arise.
    • Will provide a copy of this Policy to potential leaders and partner organisations prior to their participation with the request that they adhere to it.
    • Will provide a copy of the Duties of field meeting leaders to these leaders.
  2. When it is proposed to work in a private area or a location administered by another organisation, specific permission will generally be required to enter such areas. When applying for permission, enquiries must be made to ascertain the local code of practice and safety rules. The leader must ensure that all participants in the activity know of, and conform to, the local safety rules.
  3. Leaders of field meetings must consider the special hazards that participants might encounter during fieldwork exercises and must issue appropriate advice. The leaders will ensure that an appreciation of safety practices is passed effectively down to individual workers.
  4. All participants, in prior consultation with the leader, must identify the likely health and safety problems and assess the risks that can arise during the field exercise. The aim of the field trip must be clearly understood by all concerned and the work must be carefully planned, bearing in mind the experience of the participants and the nature of the terrain, etc. Care must be taken not to overestimate what can be achieved, in the prevailing or potential weather conditions.
  5. It is the duty of all participants in any of the Society's activities to act responsibly and to do everything they can to prevent injury to themselves, fellow participants and members of the public.


  1. Each individual participant must bear in mind that the onus for carrying out safety procedures in the field rests primarily with him- or herself.
  2. All participants must obey safety instructions from the leader and must adhere to suitable standards of behaviour in order to reduce the risk of accidents.
  3. Participants must ensure that they are suitably clad for the local terrain and for all weather conditions likely to be encountered. Clothing requirements should be assessed at the planning stage. Leaders should refuse to allow any person in the group who has inappropriate or inadequate personal clothing to embark on a field exercise.
  4. Participants must inform the leader in advance that they are attending, and must ensure that the meeting is suitable for or adaptable to their fitness level. They should check that the meeting is suitable for children, if any are coming.
  5. Participants must inform the leader of their arrival and of their departure from the meeting.
  6. Participants should inform another participant or the leader of any strategic absences during the meeting.
  7. Participants are responsible for their own prescribed medicines and special first aid requirements for allergies e.g. epipens, hypoallergenic plasters etc.
  8. All members of the group must be made aware of who is carrying first aid equipment and whether any members of the group are in possession of mobile telephones which are within signal range, which may be used in emergency. If no telephones are available, then the location of the nearest emergency assistance should be established. Participants should check that their mobile phones (if brought) are charged and financed and that they are able to obtain a signal at the sites visited.
  9. Any individual noticing a health or safety problem they are not able to put right themselves should immediately inform the leader.
  10. Participants should look out for the safety of adjacent participants.


  1. Certain locations in which fieldwork exercises may take place, such as nature reserves, reservoirs, quarries, etc., will often have their own codes of practice and safety regulations. Specific permission will generally be required to enter such areas and those planning fieldwork must seek such permission, when relevant, and must ensure that other members of the fieldwork exercise know of, and conform to, the local safety rules. Sometimes it will also be necessary to comply with guidance and rules on safety imposed by sponsoring bodies.
  2. During exploration of cliffs, rocky places, steep slopes and rough terrain, working alone should be forbidden except in safe conditions. Glaciers, rockfaces, mines, caves, open water, etc. should only be attempted under the guidance of an experienced leader. In any location regarded by the leader as dangerous, persons should work in pairs and where there may be risk of extreme danger, groups of at least three persons are advisable. If there is an accident to one member of a group of three, one should stay with the casualty whilst the third goes for help. Someone, known to all members of the whole group, should carry the first aid equipment. If the weather deteriorates, do not hesitate to turn back.
  3. Upland mountain terrain should be treated with respect. What is an innocuous slope in warm sunshine can, in the space of an hour, be converted by a sudden change in the weather to a deathtrap for the unprepared. Before setting out, ensure that everyone is fit enough to undertake the exercise, is properly equipped, has a reserve of warm clothing and some emergency rations. Ensure that the route is realistic for all the group, and not so demanding as to make it exceedingly difficult for some.
  4. Estuaries, marshland and tidal saltings should only be traversed after taking local advice; the tide comes in over many salt marshes as fast as any human can run. Allow ample time to return before the floodtide starts to advance across the work site. The leader should ascertain from maps, charts or local experts if there are special dangers such as quicksands. It is ill advised to go into such terrain in bad visibility.
  5. Whenever fieldwork leaders are planning fieldwork exercises in any of the following hazardous locations, or members of the group are to undertake any of the following hazardous techniques, specialist advice must always be taken from a relevant source of expertise in safety.

Hazardous Locations.

  • borehole sites;
  • excavations (quarries), trenches, tunnels and mines;
  • fieldwork abroad;
  • forests;
  • on board ships and research vessels;
  • railways and airports.
  • The Society is not insured for working quarries and public highways and these sites must not be included.

Hazardous Techniques

  • boats and inflatables;
  • ladders;
  • scientific diving (subject to strict legal control);
  • traps and snares;
  • tree climbing;
  • wild animal handling.

Specific Requirements

  1. When hammering rock, eye protection to the appropriate British Standard is a legal requirement. Never strike one hammer with another - the hardened faces will fragment.
  2. Manual handling and lifting:
    • Stop and think: Plan the lift. Use appropriate handling aids if possible. Do you need help? Remove any obstructions.
    • Position the feet: Feet apart, giving a balanced stable base for lifting. Leading leg as far forward as possible.
    • Adopt a good posture: Bend the knees. Do not kneel or over-flex the knees. Keep the back straight. Keep the shoulders level and facing in the same direction as the hips.
    • Get a firm grip:
    • Keep close to the load: keep the heaviest side of the load close to the body.
    • Don't jerk: lift smoothly, keep control of the load.
    • Move the feet: Don't twist the body when turning to the side.
    • Put down ..... then adjust if necessary

Monitoring the Policy

  1. Day to day monitoring of the policy is the responsibility of the President of the Society, who must rely heavily on the co-operation of all those who actually participate and take any risk involved. Accordingly, any reports of accidents or near misses must be made immediately to the Programme Secretary, leader, or most senior person available, who must then inform the President.
  2. The President will use reports of accidents or near misses to determine whether existing arrangements require modification in order to prevent a recurrence.
  3. The President will maintain a record of all reported accidents and near misses in order to report annually to Council, who will determine whether the existing Policy requires modification.