All 400 of Britain’s coastguard units have been told that before they travel to a land-based accident scene in one of their specially equipped land rovers, they must first complete a four question ‘vehicle pre-journey risk assessment’ on the type of rescue and journey they are about to undertake. Rescues by boat however are unaffected.
“Under the new rules, after first filling out the date and time, the lead rescuer must outline the ‘reason for journey’ and detail any risks the team may encounter during the rescue, including both current and forecast weather conditions. The form then demands an account of any ‘actions taken to mitigate risk’ before the leader can fill in a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as to whether the risk is ‘acceptable’.”
“It is just the latest in a series of bizarre health and safety rulings to affect the agency, which is a branch of the Department for Transport. In November 2008, the Coastguard were told that they can no longer use flares during night-time rescue missions as they could ’cause considerable injury’. Even though the flares light up a large area and are considered essential for finding people at night, the Agency told its teams that they should use torches instead.”