The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), provider of water safety expertise for over 125 years, now offers straightforward, clear and practical consultancy support to anyone with liabilities to visitors and staff around water.  

RLSS UK jointly published Managing Safety at Inland Waters guidance with RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) – the second edition of which was launched in January this year.

Working with organisations across a variety of sectors from construction and utilities to local authorities and public services, RLSS UK’s team of consultants work with clients to assess and manage water safety risks and create comprehensive, robust water safety management plans which are compliant with best practice guidance.

RLSS UK also offers concise guidance about staff training, safe systems of work, operational planning and PPE - through to public rescue equipment and signage.

RLSS UK is currently working with Barking Riverside London, which is developing a new neighbourhood for East London. Located along the banks of the River Thames and covering 443 acres, Barking Riverside will include 10,800 new homes, schools as well as retail, community, leisure and healthcare facilities. There are also plans for large open spaces, public squares and a new rail station with bus and river transport interchange.

Sarah McCready, Head of Communications and Placemaking at Barking Riverside London said: “Barking Riverside is proud to be an official accredited ‘RLSS UK Water Safety Partner’, it recognises our proactive pursuit of best practice in water safety management by taking an innovative approach to promoting high standards of aquatic safety. It is an excellent opportunity to educate and inform residents about the possible dangers of the river as well as the health and wellbeing advantages of living near one of the most iconic rivers in the world.

As well as seeking to provide training and development opportunities for local residents, we’ll work with the RLSS to maximise use of the river at Barking Riverside – throughout the lifecycle of the project.”

In the short-term, immediate water-based risks may be managed through the implementation of controls already identified in the existing River Safety risk assessment, but over the longer-term, as new phases of the development come on board, a more detailed and comprehensive approach is required.

“The team at Barking Riverside aims to implement a meaningful, creative and engaging Water Safety Management Plan to safeguard those who work, live and play around the water’s edge. This will go beyond `tick box’ signage and rescue equipment controls which, whilst providing reactive control, do little to nurture a healthy respect for the water amongst those who may be at greatest risk, which is the foundation of intelligent, preventative water safety,” says Damian Hall, Senior Consultant at RLSS UK.

The Water Safety Management Plan also identifies and works with a wide range of stakeholders such as constructors, local schools, community groups and the emergency services. 

“The plan presents Barking Riverside with an opportunity to safeguard employees, residents and visitors, meet industry standards and regulations and also reflects vibrant, best practice in the way it is implemented, setting the standard for other developers,” says Hall.

Other recent consultancy projects for RLSS UK include a safety review for Sunderland City Council ahead of a five-day entertainment festival along the banks of the River Wear and a comprehensive piece of work for Ports of Jersey, to address a variety of health and safety needs on and around their waterways.

The charity offers a free needs analysis to determine the scope of work before embarking on any project.

“A clear focus for us from the start of all projects is to cut through unnecessary red tape and safety myths and get to what’s really important to the client in terms of vision, true safety and compliance. We recognise that it’s not enough to know and spout the numbers of legal subsections and dates of legislation – we need to know what will work in the real world and what we need to do to deliver the client’s vision safely, effectively and legally compliant,” concludes Hall.