Guiding Principles

The principles apply to individuals and groups visiting land, water, buildings and other structures. They are relevant to parks, gardens, country parks, historic houses and monuments, canals and rivers in urban and rural areas, as well as open countryside, nature reserves and forests. Visitors include people engaged in informal recreation as well as participants in various sports and activities. The principles are not intended to cover employee safety or the work of contractors. They are grouped under five main headings.

1. Fundamentals

  • Take account of conservation, heritage, recreation, cultural and landscape objectives
  • Do not take away people’s sense of freedom and adventure
  • Avoid restrictions on access

→ Further detail on Guiding Principles – Fundamentals

2. Awareness

  • Ensure that your visitors know the risks they face
  • Inform and educate your visitors about the nature and extent of hazards, the risk control measures in place, and the precautions that they themselves should take

→ Further detail on Guiding Principles – Awareness

3. Partnership

  • Recognise that people taking part in similar activities accept different levels of risk
  • Recognise that risk control measures for one visitor group may create risks to others
  • Work with visitor groups to promote understanding and resolve conflict

→ Further detail on Guiding Principles – Partnership

4. Responsibility

  • It is important to strike a balance between user self-reliance and management intervention (See Risk Control Matrix – NB large image)
  • It is reasonable to expect visitors to exercise responsibility for themselves
  • It is reasonable to expect visitors not to put others at risk
  • It is reasonable to expect parents, guardians and leaders to supervise people in their care

→ Further detail on Guiding Principles – Responsibility

5. Risk control

  • Assess risks and develop safety plans for individual sites
  • Risk control measures should be consistent
  • Risk control measures should take account of wider benefits to society
  • Monitor the behaviour and experience of visitors to review visitor safety plans
  • Make sure that your work activities do not expose visitors to risk

→ Further detail on Guiding Principles – Risk Control

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