May 2024

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH)

Following a reported near miss report at one of our groups, I would like to clarify our responsibilities around chemicals that are stored and used at Group HQ’s.

Almost every premises will have some kind of chemicals present. It is important to have proper, safe storage for these and keep a log or folder with the data sheets for all of them. In the workplace, these are controlled by the COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) regulations.

In the case of liquid fuels, storage must be in an appropriate container and under lock and key.

In the case of LPG/Propane/Butane, storage must be in cages or other storage under lock and key.

Cleaning materials also fall under COSHH and therefore groups should make appropriate provision for the safe storage so that young people cannot access these.   Where possible, avoid storing chemicals on the premises.   Where this is not possible, ensure that a safety lock is fitted to the storage location and it is out of reach of young people where practical.

COSHH Data sheets are available to download or from the manufacturer or may simply be as instructions on the container. These will help you to know how to store correctly and what to do in the event of an emergency involving the substance.

Note: if you are using contract cleaners to carry out cleaning of their premises, and they are supplying the cleaning materials, they will provide the COSHH control sheets for you to put on file.

Trustee boards are expected to complete a safe premises audit on an annual basis.
The Scouts provide a Safe Scouting Premises Audit which includes a review of all chemicals in buildings. This check assures the appropriate storage is in place, that the COSSH folder is up to date with all the chemicals on site.  It is also an opportunity to review if the chemicals are still used and if not, appropriate arrangements made for disposal.

Safety is everyone’s responsibility.  If you see something that is not safe; take action if you can and report it to your Group Trustee Board and also using the near miss reporting form on

More information on Managing your Premises, including COSHH,  can be found on the Scout Website at the link General Information on managing your premises

Barnswood Traffic Management

At our last major event at Barnswood, we implemented our usual traffic management plan to ensure we could get everyone on and off site as safely as possible.

We had one incident of a parent who was not understanding our process of not turning right onto site, and subsequently drove in an aggressive manner towards one of the traffic team at the gate and also whilst in the car park.

Our risk assessment has been updated to include dealing with abuse and aggression at this time.   We have zero tolerance for this behaviour towards our volunteers, and will not hesitate to report any offenses to the police and refuse access to the site for future events.

To avoid us having to have that conversation, please can you ask any parents and volunteers travelling to Barnswood for large events to follow the rules shown in the graphic.





December 2023:  First Aid Kit Recommendations

Further to a recent accident investigation within the district, one of the outcomes was that we should issue some guidance around First Aid Kits and their maintenance.

In a first aid kit, you should include:
A) Disposable non-latex protective gloves.
B) Individual wrapped moist cleaning wipes for the first aider’s hands
C) Individually wrapped sterile plasters or assorted sizes, including blue plasters for kitchen use
D) Medium-sized (approximately 12cm x 12cm) individually wrapped sterile un-medicated wound dressings
E) Large-sized (approximately 18cm x 18cm) individually wrapped sterile un-medicated wound dressings
F) Conforming bandages
G) Steripods (sealed sachets of normal saline)
H) Sterile eye pads
I) Individually wrapped triangular bandages, preferably sterile
J) Safety pins
K) Adhesive tape
L) Clothing cutters
M) Ice packs
N) Plastic bags for the disposal of soiled dressings
O) Guidance leaflet (a leaflet supplied with the kit or that you make yourself, which includes brief instructions
on emergency treatment).
P) An incident record book or a notebook, pencil and purple card

You might also like to include the following dependant upon the activities, location and age group:Resuscitation face shield
Tick removers
Burns dressings
Foil blankets
Period products, such as pads and tampons
Contents check list

Number and size of first aid kits required
This will be influenced by your risk assessments for HQ, camps and other outdoor activities.
You should consider the number of sections in a group. May they all need a first aid kit at the same time?
At camp, are activities spread over a wide area?
Do you need a first aid kit at each activity?
How many people does the kit need to support? Increase contents for larger events.
If it is a permitted activity, consider if additional specialist first aid equipment is required.

Maintaining or replacing contents of a first aid kit
Check your kit regularly. Camp First Aid Kits should be checked before each camp as a minimum. For HQ kits, they should be checked on a termly basis or earlier if there has been an incident that has required it to be used
Many items, particularly sterile ones, are marked with expiry dates. Replace expired items. Any items without an expiry date should be checked that they are still fit for purpose and replaced if necessary.

The above is based on the Scout Association advice, which can be found at the link here  and includes additional information

September 2023 : Kelly Kettles

Kelly kettles are a popular and interesting way to boil water using fire.   There are two models of Kelly Kettle; the more recent models supplied with a whistle for the spout, an older models with a cork bung, used to keep water in the kettle during transportation.

An accident occurred recently, where a leader familiar with the new model of kettle was running an activity with Scouts, but using the older model that had been loaned.
By mistake, the leader left the cork bung loosely fitted to the spout, in the same way you would with a whistle.
At a point that the kettle started to produce steam, the bung swelled and then shot out of the kettle, fortunately away from the spectators.    However, the noise startled the leader, who lost balance and tripped, knocking over the kettle in the process.    Again, spectators were a safe distance away but the incident did cause some minor splash scalds on one child’s foot.    Quick thinking and use of the nearby fire bucket meant that first aid could be quickly administered and further injury was prevented.


  • Always cross check safety instructions regardless of how well you think you know a piece of equipment.
  • Do not operate a Kelly Kettle with a bung fitted to the spout.   The manufacturer also recommends operating the newer model without the whistle fitted.
  • Keep spectators a safe distance from kettles and stoves to avoid risk of burns and scalds if something should become unstable
  • Having a fire bucket to hand containing water makes for a quick first aid resource in the event of a burn or scald in the absence of fast access to running water. If unsure how to use a Kelly Kettle – please refer to the link here
Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls