Good Practice for preventing Covid-19 transmission in the Waterfall Country gorges

SWOAPG Members identified at an online workshop on 19 August the following suggestions for ‘good practice’ for preventing Covid-19 transmission in the Waterfall Country Gorges:

Managing clients & equipment

  • Be vigilant: repeat and reinforce messages (politely!) to clients
  • Use a table to separate staff from clients during equipment issue
  • Consider using masks / visors during equipment issue, fitting & return
  • Use clients to load used kit into tubs / bags which get taken to base and cleaned / quarantined with minimal staff handling
  • Cleaning kit – including freelancers’ kit – that clients have touched e.g. throwlines, slings, etc. – follow manufacturer’s recommendations, otherwise good cleaning protocols using ‘normal’ cleaning products may be adequate – but the only certainty is 72-hour quarantine

Using the car parks, toilets and changing areas

  • Think about how you park – e.g. don’t block the route to the changing screens so that other people can’t avoid being 2m from your clients!
  • We’ll need to think about how to manage the changing screens when it gets busier: may need to liaise with community and adapt our advice about changing in the open…
  • Consider front-loading sessions with some exercises (e.g. how to ‘spot’) in the car park – help clients to be able to look after themselves and each other

Maintaining social distancing in the gorges

  • Consider in advance which are ‘better’ & ‘worse’ routes and challenges
  • Move on or go elsewhere if venues and pinch-points are busy
  • Ask yourselves: if you need to be close, should you really be doing this? Can you avoid the situation or choose a different route or activity?
  • Reduce the amount of time you need to be within 2m – close assistance, spotting, etc. – use professional judgement to minimise this
  • Get clients to rake responsibility and help themselves / each other
  • Apply appropriate range of techniques e.g. handlines to reduce the need for close assistance
  • Visors and masks – some are using these, although they don’t work well in the gorge environment – but they should be available for first aiders and casualties; and perhaps other ‘dry’ / ‘static’ situations

Specific issues for Dinas / Sychryd

  • Consider walking back through ‘ivy pool’ if the tree-root climb requires too much spotting
  • Choose appropriate routes and spotting techniques up the cascade – use dynamic risk assessment and don’t just do what you always do!

SWOAPG’s Role…

…is to promote good practice and protect the interests of the industry as a whole – we mustn’t become ‘the activity police’, but we will liaise with NRW to implement the ‘three-strikes’ enforcement protocol if we’re aware of Providers who aren’t complying with good practice

The full slide-pack from the workshop – which includes an update on the latest gorge access issues and a summary of the key requirements for preventing transmission of Covid-19; as well as the suggestions raised by participants; is available here:

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