A very quick update on where we are as a Club in relation to the easing of the Covid restrictions as no doubt you’re all aware that swimming pools have now re-opened and some sub-aqua clubs around the country are starting to get back to diving, albeit with a number of restrictions still in place.
As a Club one of our greatest assets is the Encroachment we have with the Naval Base for the sole use of the Boathouse as a base for diving and access to the swimming pool for diver training. This gives us a secure space for keeping and maintaining our boats, Club and personal kit; the compressor; lecture facilities; very easy access to the water and dive sites in Plymouth Sound; a very good pool close by for training; and all this for, effectively, free. Clearly, as with everything in life, there are downsides and the big one is we are entirely beholden on the Naval Base to allow us to use these facilities and we have to comply with any restrictions they place on us, which is what happened when Covid kicked off. Since March ALL Encroachments (so all sports / social clubs, not just us) have been suspended as the Naval Base have limited access and focussed purely on military activities. I’ve been in contact with the Naval Base a number of times over the last few months and the latest update earlier this week is that these suspensions are likely to continue until September, possibly longer. There is another impact in that our compressor went out of date for its service a few weeks back but with Covid restrictions we haven’t been able to get maintainers in so this is out of action at present.
Not great, but then again these are fairly unique times. That said the Club does still exist and we can, restrictions permitting, still operate as such. The dull bits like Committee meetings have still been going ahead on Zoom and Steve Cox, The Diving Officer, has been continuing with the Ocean Diver course remotely for those that signed up after the Try Dives back in February. What the Committee is now working through is how we can get back to Open Water diving as soon as possible whilst also staying within the restrictions imposed on us by the Encroachment being suspended. Please rest assured that we are doing all we can to explore all possibilities for diving and whilst this is, of course, very frustrating we are sort of constrained with the art of the possible.
As we move to the new normal we need to take additional steps to protect ourselves and those around us. Please familiarise yourself with the following and when in the boathouse please follow the guidance and any additional measures that maybe applied to suit a specific activity or to comply with updated information.
General Risk Assessment
COVID -19 Boathouse Activities
Issue 1 11/7/2020
Hazard – Corona virus
Risk – Infection resulting in Covid-19
Risk rating without controls HIGH Formal Briefing required
This risk assessment is based on the current knowledge and current advice from HM Government and BSAC (the National Governing body for Sub- Aqua . It is recognised that scientific knowledge is continually and rapidly evolving and guidance will be
Covid -19 remains a significant risk to the health of the population and in line with government guidance steps must be put in place to reduce the potential for transmission.
Covid -19 is caused by a Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). The coronavirus is an encapsulated virus which can be inactivated by soap and household cleaning products such as bleach.
Coronavirus is stable for several hours in aerosol and on surfaces. Infection is understood to spread from direct inhalation or from touching an infected surface and then touching the mouth, nose or eyes. The actions detailed below are to reduce the probability of transmission by these routes.
Symptoms vary widely as does their severity. Those generally accepted include:
High temperature / fever
Loss of taste or smell
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
In line with government guidelines anyone with any pf these symptoms should self-isolate for 14 days and only go out to get medically tested.
NB. Anyone who has tested positive or believes they have had this infection should not return to the boathouse until cleared by a medical professional.
The PDCSAC Boathouse is not occupied on a full time basis and does not have professional cleaning services or waste disposal facilities. The club relies on individual members, under the direction of the Committee, for housekeeping activities.
In line with advice from government and BSAC the club and its members will be required to take additional precaution at this time to reduce the potential for transmission of this virus.
PPE is not considered an appropriate method of controlling transmission. The lack of facilities for disposal of used PPE create an additional hazard. Anyone using PPE, (masks and or gloves) must ensure that they collect their used items in a sealable plastic bag and remove them for the boathouse on the same day. Gloves get contaminated the same as hands and face coverings need constant replacement as they are only effective for about 15-30 minutes continuous use.
Soap is provided for hand washing.
Bleach wipes are provided for wiping multi user surfaces.
Sanitiser are a hazard in the presence of compressed air and are not to be used in the boathouse.
All waste must be bagged and sealed and removed from the boathouse at the end of each visit.
Individuals must place used items of PPE (gloves, masks) in a sealable plastic bag after use and take all used PPE home for disposal.
The basis of reducing the risk of transmission revolves around 3 principal actions.
Maintaining a safe social distance from others
Personal hygiene through frequent and thorough hand washing
Regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces.
Best endeavours from all club members in following this simple guidance when visiting the boathouse is expected to help protect us all
The following guidance is to be strictly adhered to by all club members and visitors to the boathouse.
Opening the boathouse
The individual opening the boathouse must ensure the area is made safe before allowing others enter.
On entry wash hands prior to entering the main boathouse.
Switched on the electrics
A quick check that there is no un-bagged waste from previous users- if the waste is more than 72 hours it can be considered safe. Otherwise it must be considered a bio hazard and suitable precautions taken to isolate.
Fill out entry in log book, and check interval from previous users
Open Slipway door.
Allow other to enter, ensuring they ALL wash hands
Safety brief, this guidance along with any other information pertinent to specific task.
Hands are to be washed on entry to the boathouse. Gloves are not a substitute for handwashing, any gloves worn outside should be removed and bagged before washing hands.
Sign the log book, clearly printing name and contact number.
Any items being returned to the boathouse should be taken direct to the slipway and washed in soapy water.
Around the boathouse
Every effort should be made to maintain a 2 m social distance from other occupants.
Where this is not possible for extended periods (more than 15 minutes) additional measures must be put in place and these are outlined below.
Only one person to be in the cylinder store at any time.
Avoid touching pillar valves when moving/retrieving cylinders
A single person to be allocated to operation the compressor and filling any/all bottles.
That individual to wash hands immediately before starting operations.
Where touching pillar valve seal or replacing ‘O’ rings is required, single use gloves are to be used.
Compressor PPE ear defenders and goggles) should be wiped before and after use
Routinely touched surfaces should be wiped before and after use.
Only one person to be in the store at any time.
Any borrowed items to be recorded
Any returned items to be washed prior to return and not reissued to another user within 72 hours
Sterilising wipes will be available for wiping surfaces before and after use. These should be disposed of in the bin sacks.
The head is not to be used as a changing area.
The classroom is available as a changing area and users should ensure they wipe down surfaces after use. Used wipes should be disposed of in the waste bags.
Limited teaching can take place with numbers limited to 4 students. Seating should be arranged to maintain social distancing. The instructor should maintain a distance greater than 2m and not directly face students.
Theory classes can take place in the main boathouse. Consideration to be given to numbers and layout to achieve suitable social distancing.
Practical lessons can be undertaken however a specific written RA will be required to ensure compliance with the latest guidance.
Galley area is available, all surfaces should be wiped down after each use.
Maintenance of boats etc must continue but safe practices must be in place.
There must be no lone working
Social distancing must be maintained or an additional written RA will be required
All waste must be bagged and sealed at the end of working
All tools must be wiped down and returned to the bench area at the end of any work period
Preparing for/Returning from a dive
Collect your own kit
Maintain social distance at all times, including during the dive brief.
Do not handle other divers kit unnecessarily.
All kit to be washed in soapy water before being returned to the store or cages
Boats to be thoroughly washed down before being brought into the boathouse.
Winch controls to be wiped after use.
Precautions during diving will be determined by the Diving Officer and are outside the scope of this RA.
Closing the boathouse
On completion of activities a single individual should be nominated to wipe down all frequently touched surfaces including benches door handles etc.
All waste bags should be closed by tying the top.
Log book should be signed for completion of all cleaning.
Any safety observations should be noted in the log book
Remove all bagged rubbish
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