Notes for safe working when sampling and surveying watercourses

  • Only work at sites on watercourses already established as safe; any new sites must be assessed and approved for safe access.
  • Ideally sampling and surveying should be carried out in pairs. However if lone working, a mobile phone must be carried on your person at all times. (Reproducibility for subsequent sampling and ease of re-locating must also be ensured with any sites chosen).
  • Lone workers must advise another person in the organization when and where they are working on a water course and the time they expect to finish. Report back on completion of site visit. This will ensure that a prompt search can be made if required.
  • Lone workers requiring on site assistance or advice should be able to call for this using their mobile phone. Lone workers must ensure their phone is operational before setting off (charged and working). And in areas of poor or no reception; they should call before entering the area and again when they leave.
  • People carrying out field work must be aware of the possible dangers of barbed wire, hazardous vegetation, livestock, steep banks and deep water. All should be identified and avoided wherever possible and no regular sampling points should involve these.
  • Weather forecasts should be consulted before departure and appropriate clothing and footwear worn.
  • People must be aware that watercourses are often contaminated (particularly if looking for evidence of sewage); so gloves, hand disinfectant and wipes must be taken and used.
  • If any unforeseen situation arises, which has not previously been advised or anticipated, do not proceed and report back to colleagues immediately for instructions.

The above advice applies for all watercourse contact situations, but is not exhaustive.