The group leader’s responsibilities
To ensure a safe visit, the Group Leader will be expected to take an active part in the visit and will be entirely responsible for discipline, safety and overall control of the group. Group leaders should try to arrange a preliminary visit with Forestry Commission staff to discuss programmes, the group’s needs and assess the site conditions.
The maximum ratio of pupils to supervisors should be as laid down by the LEA. It is the Group Leader’s responsibility to ensure that students are wearing appropriate footwear and clothing for the conditions. Weather conditions can change rapidly and forest sites are often muddy—advice should be sought if in doubt.
The forest is a working environment. The Group Leader will ensure warning signs and instructions from Forestry Commission staff are heeded, areas where work is in progress are avoided and the group is kept together. In the case of an accident, the Group Leader and visiting staff will be on hand to give any information about special requirements. The Group Leader will be responsible for ensuring that at least one supervisor has a basic knowledge of first aid.
The school, through the Local Education Authority if appropriate, will indemnify the Forestry Commission against all claims arising from any loss or damage, or injury or death to participants and any third parties arising from the educational visit, and will during the period of the visit maintain an insurance policy with a reputable insurance company an amount of not less than £5 million in respect of any one claim. The amount of such insurance shall not limit the liability of the school or Local Education Authority to the Forestry Commission. This clause does not reduce the liability of the Forestry Commission for its own actions or negligence.
Forestry commission staff responsibilities
During a visit led by Forestry Commission staff, the staff member will co-ordinate the activities of the group and will advise the group of any particular known hazards that may apply on the day of the visit.
Most Forestry Commission staff have basic knowledge of First Aid and have kits at their disposal, although the prime responsibility for rendering First Aid remains with the Group Leader.
Forestry Commission staff have the discretion to exclude from the visit anyone who is not properly equipped or fails to comply with other conditions listed above.