Econet Risk Assessment [CRoW (Conserve Reading on Wednesdays)]
Date: Wednesday, 15th June 2022  (10:00 - 14:30)
Activity: Himalayan Balsam pulling

Site: Dinton Pastures Country Park
Site Manager: Wokingham Borough Council    Site Contact: Countryside Dept., Wokingham Borough Council (0118) 934 2016
Meeting Point: Sandford Lane (Lavell's) Car Park    Nearest Postcode: RG10 0SU    Map Ref: SU786726
Directions: Car park is opposite the entrance to the Dinton Activity Centre.

Royal Berkshire Hospital (5.4m)
London Road, Reading, RG1 5AN Telephone: (0118) 322 5111

Volunteer's Tools: Volunteers bring their own tools which must be fit for purpose, at their own risk. The Group cannot accept any responsibility for a volunteer's own tools unless by prior agreement.

Volunteer's Dogs: Dogs should only be brought to sites where they will not disturb wildlife and other livestock and where it is acceptable to the management and other users of the site. Dogs are brought at the owner's own risk, the group cannot accept any responsibility for their wellbeing.

Assessment Summary: Coronavirus (Tasks); General Conservation Activities; Public open space; Waterside working; Pond, stream and wetland work;

Coronavirus (Tasks)
Last updated: 17/03/2022 10:25:50
Typical uncontrolled outcomes
Contracting or transmitting coronavirus infection
Typical groups at risk
Volunteers; general public
  Insurance considerations
We are advised by our insurers that from April 2021 our public liability insurance will not provide cover if volunteers or service users claim we are responsible for them catching Coronavirus, or any other infectious disease.
  • Contact with infected person
  • Contact with contaminated surface or material
  • Tasks must be organised in accordance with current government and HSE guidelines. See and Link(}.
  • From the 17th May 2021 we will no longer be limiting the number of volunteers participating in a task. However, restrictions will be reimposed if circumstances require.
  • Anyone who has had symptoms of coronavirus, lives in a household where someone has had symptoms in this period or is feeling unwell, should not participate.
  • Volunteers should bring their own gloves and hand sanitiser, these will not be provided by Econet.
  • Volunteers should use hand sanitiser at the start and end of the task and before eating or drinking.
  • Whenever possible gloves should be worn.
  • Volunteers should avoid sharing tools.
  • After use, tools must be wiped down with sanitiser or quarantined for a minimum of 72 hours.
  • When retrieving tools from storage, etc., keep handling of the tools to a minimum, wearing gloves and using hand sanitiser both before and after.
  • First aiders must read and regularly review the guidance given by St John Ambulance and the HSE on the delivery of first aid. First aiders should consider wearing a face mask when providing first aid. See and
General Conservation Activities
Last updated: 17/06/2020 18:17:08
Typical uncontrolled outcomes
Minor cuts and bruises; burns; lower back pain; verbal abuse; electric shock; contracting disease; blisters; sunburn; Lyme Disease
Typical groups at risk
Volunteers; general public
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Contact with hand tools
  • Manual handling
  • Contact with services
  • Contact with traffic
  • Volunteer's dogs
  • Contact with micro organisms
  • Irritant or poisonous plants
  • Insect bites and stings
  • Weather conditions
  • Keep site and materials tidy.
  • Make safe trip hazards highlighting any where this is not possible.
  • Tools (including volunteer's own) should be in good state of repair and fit for purpose.
  • Where possible tools being transported should be contained within tool bag(s) with blades guarded.
  • Give tools talk at start of task to impart and reinforce knowledge. (Volunteers should know name, purpose and correct manner of use of tools, including carrying techniques, storage, safe working distances and applicable protective clothing.)
  • Set aside damaged or blunt tools for maintenance or to be discarded.
  • Sturdy footwear should be worn.
  • Swinging tools should not be used with gloves (at least not on the hand gripping the tool) or in wet conditions; observe safe working distances.
  • Regularly check that safe working distances are being observed.
  • Tools not in use should be stored in tool bag or laid on ground in clear view where not a trip hazard.
  • Demonstrate safe lifting and handling techniques.
  • If available, use wheelbarrows and other handling aids to move heavier items.
  • Ensure routes for transporting tools and materials are kept clear.
  • Check for services as part of site inspection, mark and avoid. Avoid felling near overhead services. Pole saws must not be used within 15m of overhead electricity cables and power lines. Where underground services suspected, use hand tools for digging within 1m of line, do not use crowbars.
  • Unload vehicles away from traffic. Use tape, warning signs or cones where appropriate. Post lookouts to slow traffic whilst vehicles are manoeuvring.
  • Park vehicles to enable quick access and departure in emergency, and to allow access by emergency services.
  • Protect any cuts, advise all volunteers to ensure tetanus inoculation. Avoid contact with stream and pond water. Wear gloves when handling soil.
  • Warn of possible presence of irritant plants. Wear gloves and long sleeves when working with or near irritant plants; wash exposed skin thoroughly after work.
  • Wear long sleeves if biting insects may be present, use insect repellent. If wasp or bees' nest found, highlight and stop working in immediate vicinity.
  • Provide information about ticks and Lyme disease including symptoms. Advise volunteers to wear boots, long trousers and tops with sleeves to avoid ticks, tuck trousers into socks, and after task to check for ticks and bites and to seek immediate medical advise if they have concerns. Note: Although most common from late spring until autumn, tick bites can occur at any time of the year whenever the conditions exist for ticks to be active.
  • In hot or sunny conditions, keep skin covered and use high factor sun cream on exposed skin; stop work if volunteers ill attired for conditions, in discomfort or the work is increasing in risk.
  • Always wash hands or use cleansing wipes or gel before eating, drinking or smoking.
  • Dogs brought by volunteers to tasks must be well behaved and under the control of their owner at all times, they must not put volunteers or others at risk by causing a distraction or otherwise disrupting the task.
Public open space
Last updated:
Typical uncontrolled outcomes
Stress, distress, minor cuts and bruises, sickness
Typical groups at risk
Volunteers, general public
  • Contact with public
  • Abuse or aggression from public
  • Discarded sharps
  • Uncontrolled dogs
  • Dog faeces
  • If available, place warning signs at approaches to work area.
  • Keep paths clear of tools and debris.
  • Avoid volunteers working in isolation.
  • If confronted be conciliatory, avoid aggravating situation; be prepared to walk away.
  • If sharps found, do not touch or move, highlight location and advise site owner or manager.
  • Warn volunteers of possibility of dogs causing a distraction by entering the work area.
  • Warn volunteers of likely presence of dog faeces.
  • If practical, remove dog faeces from work areas using bags or burying where unlikely to be disturbed. Avoid skin contact.
Waterside working
Last updated:
Typical uncontrolled outcomes
Drowning; Leptospirosis; Hepatitis; ill health
Typical groups at risk
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Deep or fast flowing water
  • Contact with harmful substances
  • Contact with rats urine, faeces and other bio-hazards
  • Do not work above deep or fast flowing water.
  • Avoid lone working when working next to water.
  • Identify escape routes should volunteer fall in water, which must be kept clear at all times.
  • Have lifebouy or throw line available.
  • Volunteers should have a firm stable stance and not overreach when working from bank.
  • Only work at the water's edge if that edge is clearly visible, e.g. is not obscured by vegetation, and has not undermined.
  • Avoid working by water contaminated with sewage or similar hazards.
  • Wear gloves when handling vegetation and other materials which may have been contaminated by water.
  • Always wash hands or use cleansing wipes or gel before eating, drinking or smoking.
Pond, stream and wetland work
Last updated: 04/04/2022 18:51:06
Typical uncontrolled outcomes
Drowning; cuts and bruises; Leptospirosis; Hepatitis; ill health; back and other muscle strains; Cercarial dermatitis (swimmer's itch)
Typical groups at risk
Volunteers; other site users; general public
  Insurance considerations
The maximum depth of water in which work occurs must not exceed 2' 6" (75cm).
  • Contact with hand tools
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Deep or fast flowing water
  • Buried or hidden objects
  • Contact with harmful substances
  • Manual handling wet materials
  • Chest waders
  • Contact with rats urine, faeces and other bio-hazards
  • Contact with dead animals, or water polluted by them.
  • Tools: See "General Conservation Activities" risk assessment.
  • Do not work in or above deep or fast flowing water, or in water waist height or deeper.
  • Avoid lone working when working in or next to water.
  • Identify escape routes which must be kept clear at all at all times to ensure volunteers can get out of water quickly and safely.
  • Provide lifebuoy or throwline if appropriate.
  • Waders must be worn in water above welly but below thigh height; chest waders in deeper water but below waist height.
  • Chest waders must only be worn by volunteers who have received instruction in and experience of, their safe use.
  • Wellies should have reinforced soles.
  • Went working in water, movement should be slow and measured. Check for hidden or buried objects, sudden changes in depth and that bottom is stable and will bear volunteer's weight.
  • When working on soft ground check that it will bear volunteer's weight. Use duckboards if available.
  • Sharp or swinging tools must not be used when wet.
  • Volunteers must have a firm stable stance before using tools or handling wet material.
  • Do not overreach when working from bank.
  • Only work at the water's edge if that edge is clearly visible, e.g. is not obscured by vegetation and has not been undermined.
  • Do not work in water contaminated with sewage.
  • Strong waterproof gloves must be worn to handle debris and rubbish from water. In deeper water wear pond gloves to protect arms.
  • Dead animals must not be touched - inform the site owner or manager.
  • Always wash hands or use cleansing wipes or gel before eating, drinking or smoking.
  • Advise volunteers that wet material is heavier than its dry counterpart.
  • Demonstrate safe lifting and handling techniques.
  • If available, use wheelbarrows and other handling aids to move heavier items.
  • Ensure routes for transporting tools and materials are kept clear.
  • Store tools and debris away from walkways and banks.
Face masks; Rigger gloves;

Pond, stream and wetland work: Pond gloves; Throwline; PVC or nitrile waterproof gloves;

Actual items needed may vary according to the task.

Background Information

Cercarial dermatitis
Swimmer's itch, also called cercarial dermatitis, appears as a skin rash caused by an allergic reaction to certain microscopic parasites. The parasites are occasionally found in pond water and when they come into contact with a person will burrow into the skin. They are destroyed by the body's immune system but this gives rise to an allergic reaction and rash which is intensely itch and lasts for about one week.

This condition has affected volunteers working in the pond at Waterloo Meadows. It can be avoided by preventing skin contact with the pond water by wearing strong waterproof gloves, wellingtons, etc.

Further information can be found at

Last updated: 20/03/2021 11:33:59

Bacterial infection cared by rats, cattle and other animals and passed to humans either by direct contact with the tissues, urine or other secretions of an infected animal, or from water contaminated with infected urine. The infection enters the body through cuts and abrasions and the lining of the eyes and mouth. To avoid infection always cover open wounds and keep from contact with pond and river water. When working in ponds and rivers always wear strong waterproof gloves and wellington or waders.

Symptoms include mild flu-like illness. In its most severe form known as Weil's Disease, it can lead to a number of serious conditions such as jaundice and kidney failure. Symptoms usually develop 7-21 days after initial infection although rarely the incubation period can be as short as two to three days or as long as 30 days. Treatment for the illness is with antibiotics but recovery may take several weeks and in some cases months. If you are concerned you may have contracted this disease you should seek medical assistance immediately, in its most severe form untreated it can result in death.

Further information can be found on the NHS Choices website,

Last updated: 22/03/2021 13:10:45

Lyme Disease
Bacterial infection transmitted from animals to humans by tick bites. Animal hosts include deer, foxes, sheep, squirrels and rodents. Ticks are most active in the early summer and autumn although they may be found at other times. They are often located on tall vegetation in woodlands and heaths from where they can attach themselves to their host. To protect yourself wear long sleeves and long trousers tucked in to your socks. Check for ticks on your return home, if found it should be removed immediately. Removal is best achieved with fine-toothed tweezers, pulling steadily away from the skin.

Only a small minority of tick bites carry Lyme Disease. Symptoms include a red, expanding rash parts of which may clear as it enlarges resulting in a "bull's-eye" appearance. Other symptoms are fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes. If you think you may have contacted Lyme Disease please seek medical advise immediate. Treatment is with antibiotics, without treatment a number of serious conditions can arise including a viral-like meningitis, facial palsy, other nerve damage or arthritis.

Further information can be found on the NHS Choices website,

Last updated: 22/03/2021 13:12:20

   Econet's Health and Safety Policy can be found at

   17 May 2022 09:25 T2206153631