Inspection visits during the easing of lock-down restrictions (March 2021)

Adventure RMS inspectors are undertaking site visits where they are required.

In doing so Adventure RMS will prioritise the avoidance of situations and circumstances where the spread of infection is likely:

  • Where visits are undertaken inspectors will maintain appropriate distance and adopt protective behaviours whenever possible
  • The use of protective equipment will support these approaches but not replace them

Adventure RMS has:

  • identified sensible personal protective behaviours (see below) in relation to site visits
  • applied our existing application consultation process relating to the health, safety and well-being of inspectors, providers and their clients to the ongoing Covid-19 circumstances
  • provided our inspectors with appropriate guidance and protective equipment

Visit Planning

Travel to, from and during. Inspectors will ensure they are able to travel independently of public transport and transport provided/offered by providers. This will include any travel to and from activity locations from a base or centre location. Meeting at the activity venue or traveling separately as appropriate.

Arrangements with providers. In agreeing times and locations to meet, inspectors will consider infection control. This may include meeting and remaining outside; avoiding arriving or leaving at the same times as participants and/or staff to avoid congestion. These arrangements will be made and the details confirmed with providers in advance (see cancellations).

Cancellations. Providers should be aware that arrangements may have to be cancelled or revised at short notice, including on the day. This will include where an inspector, or a member of their household, shows possible symptoms of the virus.

Application consultation. Consulting inspectors are using a short checklist to ensure the health of inspectors and applicants in the context of Covid-19 has been considered alongside other risks to an inspector’s health, safety and well-being.

Applicant’s arrangements. When arranging visits applicants should inform inspectors of their own arrangements for managing the spread of infection. These are likely to include statutory restrictions relating to group size, which inspectors will want to ensure are not compromised by their own proximity.

Multiple site visits. Inspectors will consider the particular risks associated with moving from one ‘provider bubble’ to another. If an inspector feels they may have been exposed to Covid-19 during a first visit any second visit planned for the same day will be cancelled (see cancellations above).

Maintaining distance

Awareness. Inspectors are aware of, and operate in accordance with, the minimum proximity distances in place in the nation in which they are undertaking the visit, and at the time of that visit. Maintaining these distances continues to be considered the best method of limiting the spread of infection.

Avoidance. A careful consideration of the visit will identify potential ‘high risk’ situations which can then be avoided. These could include activity observations being undertaken in a way which means appropriate distancing is not physically possible – joining the applicant in a power boat to observe on-water activities, paddling an open canoe with another, entering narrow or tight cave passages would be examples where alternative approaches will be used.

Staying on-plan. Inspectors will have developed a visit plan which seeks to manage the risks in relation to the virus. It is important that the visit is undertaken in line with that plan, or variations to it are considered carefully. Any temptation to extend the scope of a visit, “well you’re here now so…..” will need to be recognised as beyond the rationale for the visit and, potentially, the Covid-19 considerations developed for it.

Minimising physical contact

People. There are no circumstances within the context of an AALA site visit that require physical contact. Greetings and end of visit discussions whilst traditionally including a handshake can be undertaken without. Providing immediate physical support for participants in activities being observed is not, other than in extreme emergencies, the role of the inspector.

Personal clothing and equipment. Inspectors will provide whatever clothing and equipment may be required by the visit. This will include activity-specific items such as helmets, harnesses, and buoyancy aids. In the current circumstances the Covid-related risks of using a provider’s equipment are greater than the benefits of doing so.

Equipment and stores areas. It is quite possible that an inspector will be able to view a provider’s equipment and stores areas in a manner which maintains required distancing. Access and exit points and other users will require consideration. In circumstances where an inspector feels they must physically inspect an item of equipment they will wear gloves to do so, remove and dispose of these once the inspection is complete, and ensure providers are aware of what has been touched so they can apply their own quarantine arrangements.

Hygiene

Hand sanitising. Along with distancing, hand sanitising remains a key element in infection control. It will take place when the inspector arrives at the start of the visit and again when they leave. Antibacterial gel provided by Adventure RMS is intended to reduce situations where an inspector needs to enter a provider’s facilities.

Disposable gloves. Where an inspector cannot avoid contact with equipment, door handles and other items during a visit, wearing and then disposing of gloves is a sensible precaution. The gloves provided to inspectors by Adventure RMS should not be reused.

Disposable face masks. Site visits are unlikely to include discussions in enclosed places such as offices (see visit planning above). However, inspectors will consider the nature of the site visit and whether wearing a face mask during a discussion with the provider (or whilst observing an appropriately managed staff meeting or discussion, for example) would be a sensible precaution. The face masks provided to inspectors by Adventure RMS should not be reused.

Person in a boat on a lake at sunrise

Photo: Tim Morton

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