Published: 29th April 2022

If you have a body of water on your land and people can access it, you must take steps to mitigate the risks. It is time to act! 

Did you know that most victims of accidental drownings never intended to enter the water in the first place? The most recent published figures from the National Water Safety Forum (2020) show that most drownings occurred while people were walking or running next to water.  

This is a sobering reminder of why it is imperative to ensure that any body of water you are responsible for, from rivers and lakes to ponds and reservoirs, is made safe for those who can access it - think employees, residents, visitors, as well as members of the public. And RLSS UK Consultancy Services can help. 

Assessing the risks 

As one of the most experienced water safety advisory services in the UK and Ireland, the RLSS UK has provided clear to follow, impartial, and practical water safety advice and expertise for more than 125 years. 

Whether you are a construction company or private landowner, a local authority, or a leisure operator, we can help you manage water safety to help you confidently meet your obligations under the Health & Safety Act. 

Regardless of the form your body of water takes, you must take all necessary steps to ensure it is safe. We start with a full risk assessment - an essential piece of work to review your operations and activities so we can identify the risks and how to alleviate them. 

In January, there was pressure on the UK Government and Parliament to make risk assessments of all bodies of water (natural and man-made) mandatory. This was part of a debate on the addition of throwline stations around open bodies of water following the death of 18-year-old Mark Allen, who drowned in 2018 after jumping into a reservoir on a hot summer day. The following May, three throwlines were installed where he died. Mark could have possibly been saved if they were in place beforehand. Government response on 1 July 2021 included: "This tragic loss of life highlights the importance of the landowner's responsibility to assess and act on the risks posed by open bodies of water on their land." 

Bespoke solutions for your needs 

There is no one solution to water safety. Following a thorough risk assessment, our consultants will advise you of the most cost-effective options that meet the particular characteristics of your water environment. These could include: 

  • Training - identifying training most suitable for your needs and linking you with appropriate trainers.  
  • Operational Planning – auditing your Normal Operating Procedures and Emergency Action Plans (Safe Systems of Work) to identify gaps and potential improvements. 
  • Working with your site and team to develop systems that complement operational needs. 
  • Signage - surveying your site to assess whether signage is necessary, advise if your current signage is appropriate and up to date, and make recommendations for improvements.
  • Public Rescue Equipment – helping you identify the most appropriate installations, inspecting current arrangements, and making recommendations for improvements as required. 
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)– using current safety standards to advise on the best site and situation-specific PPE. 

Giving you peace of mind 

Remember, it is not just the public you need to consider. Employers and the self-employed whose activities are close to open water must also take the correct steps to prevent employees and other people from coming to harm due to their work activities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. 

Our expertise extends across all water environments, no matter how big or small. We can work with you to develop a bespoke solution that meets your specific water safety needs and results in a safer environment giving you peace of mind. 

With more and more people drawn to open water, tragedies like those suffered by Mark Allen occur every year. We believe that every accidental drowning is preventable. As the go-to water safety consultancy, our team of experts can work with you on all aspects of safety in and around water to help prevent accidental drownings in your waters. 

Get in touch now to learn how we can help keep your waters safe at [email protected] or click here.