Health & Safety Documentation

Documents pertaining to Health & Safety within the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust can be found below. Health & Safety is a top priority for us; as well as the business as usual Health and Safety, we will continue to keep our COVID-19 regulations up-to-date as government guidance progresses. We want everyone in our community to have confidence in our trust, so please do contact us if you have any concerns or queries.

New National Lockdown from 5th November 2020

For some months since the first national lockdown was lifted, our volunteer work-parties have been working outside, catching up on the seasonal maintenance jobs over the Summer and Autumn, but more tasks need to be done before Winter. Each major task has been risk-assessed under the Covid-19 guidelines. Everyone, whether Working-Party Organiser or any other volunteer, has to decide whether they feel safe enough to take part under the current conditions.

The November lockdown does allow for unlimited outside exercise with one other person, and so it is possible to arrange work-parties within the current restrictions by splitting into pairs, socially-distanced. In any event, the Government guidance does allow for volunteer activity such as work-parties: "Work and volunteering: You can leave home for work purposes, or to provide voluntary or charitable services, where you cannot do this from home."

On November 6th, the Inland Waterways Association, of which the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust is a corporate member, announced: "IWA has decided to pause work parties during the lock down between 5th November and 2nd December." The IWA later made it clear to our neighbour canal restorers the Cotswold Canals Trust that the decision to pause work-parties applied to those organised by themselves; other restoration groups are free to make their own decisions based on local risk factors.The Cotswold Canals Trust has decided to continue with work-parties.

The WBCT Board of Trustees, meeting on November 11th, agreed that work-parties may continue through the lockdown, splitting into sub-groups of pairs of workers maintaining social distancing to minimise contact.

New rules following Lockdown 2

From December 2nd 2020 the goverment is replacing the national lockdown with a regionally-differentiated approach, where different tiers of restrictions apply in different parts of the country.

The entire Wilts & Berks Canal Trust area will be in Tier 2. 

The rate of infection has been falling in Oxfordshire and Swindon, while Wiltshire’s infection rate has increased slightly – albeit from a lower level. 

What does this mean for WBCT?

Work-parties (both indoor and outdoor) may continue for volunteers living in Tier 2 areas because they are defined as ‘work’. However, they must operate in a ‘Covid-secure’ manner.

The Government guidance relating to Tier 2 areas, 26th November 2020 can be found at      https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-restriction-tiers-what-you-need-to-know#high-alert 

Steve Bacon, Health & Safety Officer.