Health & Safety Policy

Final Version 1.4

Blackwood Estate Community Association Loch Wood Health and Safety Policy.

Blackwood Estate Community Association (BECA, SCIO SC049354) acquired Loch Wood on behalf of the community to:

  • Preserve, protect and sustain an ancient woodland,

  • Promote education in the natural environment,

  • Facilitate outdoor recreation for the local community.

BECA is keen to encourage visitors to Loch Wood: however, we recognise that there are inherent risks specific to a woodland environment. In order to ensure that the above objectives can be met in a safe and enjoyable manner, regardless of whether you are working, attending training or simply visiting Loch Wood, BECA has devised a health and safety policy which contains rules and guidance for visitors.

It is essential that anyone visiting Loch Wood recognises the hazards involved in being in a woodland and takes appropriate precautions to prevent accidents to themselves and others in their party. 

BECA envisages that there will be four main categories of visitors to the woodland:

  1. Contractors carrying out work commissioned by BECA.

  2. Work parties from the local community carrying out improvement or remedial work.

  3. School parties using the woodland for education purposes.

  4. Private individuals or small parties using the wood for recreation.

Rules and guidance are supplied below for each category of visitor.

  1. Rules for contractors commissioned by BECA

  1. It is a mandatory condition for all contractors employed by BECA that a risk assessment, specific to the work being commissioned, is carried out and approved by the named individual responsible for health and safety within the contractor’s organisation. A copy of this approval must be supplied to BECA prior to work commencing.

  2. At no time should any contractor be working alone within the woodland.

  3. The contractor is responsible for ensuring that all its operators are fully qualified and certified to operate the equipment they are using on the work commissioned by BECA. Copies of this certification may be asked for by BECA where appropriate.

  4. The contractor will provide evidence of appropriate insurance cover prior to work commencing.

  5. As part of the contractor’s risk assessment, it is mandatory that a robust evacuation procedure is developed for each specific piece of work should an operator from the contractor be incapacitated while working within the woodland.

  6. At least one member of the contracting party will be a qualified first aider.


  1.  Rules for community work parties


  1. There should be a named leader for each work party.

  2. The leader will ensure that each member of the party is competent to use any tools and equipment for the task to be carried out.

  3. The leader will brief the work party on the work to be carried out and highlight potential hazards associated with the specific area where work is to be done.

  4. No member of the work party will work alone.

  5. Each member of the work party will be assigned a partner, each partner will be responsible for always remaining in line of sight of the other partner.

  6. Prior to work commencing an evacuation procedure should be agreed in the event of a member of the work party being incapacitated.

  7. Every work party will include a qualified First Aider.

3.    Rules for school parties using the woodland for education purposes.

  1. On every occasion prior to children visiting Loch Wood an on-site risk assessment will be carried out by the Forest School leader supervising the visit. 

  2. Risk assessments will be checked and approved by a senior member of staff prior to site visit.

  3. Risk assessments will include predetermined criteria for cancelling visits that day. e.g., spate conditions on the Cander Water, high winds etc

  4. A default procedure will be defined in writing and rehearsed on a regular basis by all supervisory staff in case of an emergency. 

  5. A qualified outdoor first aider will be present on every site visit.

  6. Teacher to pupil ratio will be, at a minimum, as per school guidelines for each age group.


Please note that the above rules for school parties apply to all visits of any organisations where there are minors under 16 years of age in the group.




  1. Guidance to individuals visiting Loch Wood

To minimise the risk to yourself please:

  • Ensure someone knows you are walking in the woodland.

  • Wear appropriate footwear.

  • Be aware of the terrain over which you are walking for slip, trip and fall hazards.

  • Do not climb trees or on log piles: these may be unstable.

  • Take care near water, especially where children are in the party.

  • Avoid all areas where contractors are working, these areas will be signposted. 

  • Take responsibility for your own safety.

 In addition, please respect the forest code:

  • Protect and respect wildlife, plants and trees.

  • Do not light fires.

  • Keep dogs under control.

  • Take your litter home.

  • Make no unnecessary noise.

  • Take only memories away.

  • The forest is for everyone. Please be aware of other visitors.