The Lee Valley Regional Park stretches 26 miles downriver from Ware in Hertfordshire, through Essex, north-east London and Stratford to the River Thames at East India Dock Basin. Managed by the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, its 10,000 square acres are home to a wide range of activities, not least at its three London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic venues: the VeloPark, which has the iconic Velodrome at its heart and is the finest cycling hub in the world; the Hockey and Tennis Centre, with ten tennis courts (four indoor and six outdoor) plus two of the finest hockey pitches in the country; and the White Water Centre at Waltham Cross in Hertfordshire.
More broadly, the Authority has a remit to develop leisure, recreation and sporting activities throughout the whole park and has been creating a zone of sporting excellence, including centres for athletics, horse riding, ice skating, sailing and golf. The Authority is also responsible for regenerating derelict and neglected land into high quality public open spaces and wildlife habitats of ecological importance.
The park plays host to a diverse range of activities, many of which are relatively high-risk. Managing its assets involves working with animals, pesticide spraying, crop harvesting and electric fishing; then there’s navigation on the River Lee, with logistical activities including the lifting of canal boats by crane; and, at the White Water Centre, rafts carrying up to nine people negotiate a course with water flowing at 13,000 litres per second – the equivalent to filling an Olympic-sized swimming pool in under three minutes.
The Authority’s aim is to provide a harm-free environment for all those who visit or work in the Park; and in order to manage health and safety effectively, it trains all its venue and duty managers to the IOSH Managing Safely standard, with front line staff also being trained to the IOSH Working Safely standard.
Its Health & Safety Officer is Andy Waters, who’s been working to ensure an increased focus on safety since joining in 2006. He explains: “The change in culture at the Authority has been measured through an assurance programme and has seen compliance increase 45% since 2005/6, averaging 90-95% compliance across the business. This programme is ratified through external verification by the British Safety Council. In 2012 the Authority achieved a 5-star health and safety rating, the highest accolade that can be achieved in the UK.”
Back in 2011, the Authority decided it needed to make its accident and incident record-keeping more efficient. At the time it was using a comparatively primitive system: manual input of data was time-consuming and the spreadsheet system in use could provide only a basic level of analytical insight.
So it assessed a range of possible new systems – and PRIME’s Accident and Incident Reporting module was a clear winner.
PRIME’s “universal user” functionality offers ease of access. Almost by definition, sporting venues see a high volume of minor injuries each week and it’s important for staff at all levels to be able to record these. The PRIME user only has to complete three sections on the electronic forms: where the accident and/or incident happened; what happened; and who was injured.
Andy Waters explains: “By dispensing with the need to generate and manage user names and passwords, universal user access saves us a considerable amount of time and effort. The reports we are able to generate provide us with a wealth of information very quickly. That’s not something we could have done with our old manual input system.”
PRIME continues to tailor the system to the Authority’s specific needs. For instance, at the Riding Centre it’s inevitable that, from time to time, someone will fall off a horse – and a “fall from height” report will need to be generated, with the height recorded in metres.