Safety Management Policy

Here are the details of  the Safety Management Policy Galina International Battlefield Tours Health and Safety Policy statement

The vast majority of tours pass off without any serious incident but this should not be seen as a reason for complacency but rather the need for the continual presence and development of measures designed to maintain and improve safety standards.

The Directors, Management and Staff of Galina have a duty of care to ensure that all reasonable measures are taken so that our clients are assured of a high level of safety throughout their tour. An effective safety policy requires that we do the following to achieve this objective:

a) Consider the type of activity being undertaken, identify potential hazards and evaluate the level of risk involved and then design and implement plans to minimize them.

b) Establish standards and implement precautions which meet the needs of our clients and are measurable, achievable and realistic.

c) Regularly monitor and review performance with a view to identifying areas of improvement in the measures we take.

d) Facilitate and promote a positive health and safety culture throughout our own, our clients’ and our suppliers’ organisations.

The Scope of this Document

This policy document provides further safety information relating to the following:

a) Accommodation

b) Coaches

c) Ferries & Eurotunnel

d) Itineraries, Venues & Excursions

e) Couriers & Tour Directors

f) Pre-Tour Safety Information & Advice

g) Duty Officers

h) Monitoring & Review of Safety Procedures

Please read this information carefully and have an interesting, enjoyable and safe tour.

Accommodation used by Galina

The details of accommodation used or likely to be used by Galina on five or more occasions in any calendar year are held on a “Frequent Use” list. Information regarding accommodation that is used less than five times a year or on a “one-off” basis is recorded on an “Occasional Use” list.

Accommodation that appears on the “Frequent Use” list has been inspected by Galina prior to its first use and subsequently at a maximum of three-year intervals. We attempt to use accommodation from this list as much as possible given availability at the time of booking.

Safety Check & Risk Assessment: “Frequent Use” List

Details of our Accommodation Health and Safety Check and Risk Assessment will be forwarded to the group leader once a booking is confirmed. This will include the following information:

a) Confirmation that the accommodation meets local and national fire, safety and hygiene regulations and that liability insurance is in place.

b) A floor plan of the accommodation

c) Location of fire exits and other exits from the property

d) Location of fire extinguishers & smoke alarms

e) Presence of a burglar alarm

f) Security i.e. locks on guest rooms, external doors and windows

g) External security i.e. locks on garden or courtyard gates, exterior walled areas, local environment

h) Number of persons/beds per room

i) Other details e.g. presence of balconies on upper floor(s) (if applicable)

Safety Check & Risk Assessment: “Occasional Use” List

In the event that we have to use accommodation from our “Occasional Use” list, we will ask the accommodation provider to carry out a self-audit to confirm that local and national standards of safety and hygiene have been met and to provide the other information detailed above.

Contracts with our Accommodation Suppliers

For all accommodation used by Galina, we will ensure that:

a) An accommodation contract is signed confirming (as a minimum) that the accommodation conforms to local and national fire, safety and hygiene standards.

b) Current liability insurance cover is in place for the duration of the contract.

c) Copies of the following relevant documents will be obtained wherever possible:

i) current fire safety certificate or local equivalent

ii) current insurance policy

iii) current hygiene certificate or local equivalent

d) In the event that such documentation is not readily available, the accommodation provider will be required to confirm in writing that they possess the above documents and that the necessary safety standards have been met.

Confirmation that the contract conditions are still being met will be obtained (at least) every three years from the accommodation provider.

Assessing & Monitoring of Standards: A Quality Guide

When assessing the suitability of accommodation for our groups we categorise accommodation as either “Good”, “Satisfactory” or “Unacceptable” as outlined below:

a) Good: Minor or no areas of improvement have been identified. The accommodation management will be commended and encouraged to maintain their standards.

b) Satisfactory: Room for improvement has been identified, but the defects do not render the building unsafe. During on-site inspection visits any such defects will be brought to the immediate attention of the management. A written accommodation report including a schedule of remedial action will be sent to the accommodation provider within 14 days of the visit. The provider will be given four weeks to reply after which Galina will pursue this matter with them. If no satisfactory reply is received from the hotelier within three months of the date of inspection Galina will review the use of the accommodation.

c) Unacceptable: The accommodation is deemed unsafe even if it conforms to local standards. In this case, Galina will remove the accommodation from the appropriate accommodation list and will not consider re-instatement until the defects have been rectified and the establishment has been re-inspected and has reached either a Good or Satisfactory standard. Where the standard returns to satisfactory the procedure outlined in (b) above will be implemented to encourage further improvement.

When accommodation is booked, group leaders will be informed of its current status as per the relevant category above. We regard client feedback via our post-tour questionnaire as invaluable in helping us to maintain and improve our standards.

Coach Operators Used by Galina: UK Companies

The details of coach operators used or likely to be used by Galina on five or more occasions in any calendar year are recorded on a “Frequent Use” list. Information regarding coach operators that are used less than five times a year or on a “one-off” basis is recorded on an “Occasional Use” list.

All coach operators used by Galina must provide, on an annual basis, a copy of the following documentation before we will consider using their services:

a) Operating Licence

b) Motor Vehicle Insurance

c) Public Liability Insurance

We only select coach operators who belong to recognised industry bodies such as the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), Guild of British Coach Operators or are Coach Marque accredited.

It is company policy not to arrange tours which require coach travel through the night. We believe that the risk of an accident is greatly increased by drivers who are tired after driving long distances in the early hours.

Contracts with UK Coach Operators

All coach operators must sign a contract to confirm the following:

a) that they comply with all national, local, trade and other laws, regulations, rules and codes of practice.

b) that they adhere to safety standards regarding drivers’ hours and will allocate a sufficient number of drivers to the tour to meet EU standards.

c) that drivers have received clearance from the Criminal Records Bureau or Scottish Criminal Records Office

d) that vehicles used by Galina will be no older than seven years, are regularly maintained, fitted with seatbelts and have a continental safety door for tours into Europe.

e) that the work will not be subcontracted to a third party unknown to us except as a result of unforeseen circumstances (see below) and only then to an operator that meets the requirements stated in our original contract

In the event of a vehicle breakdown whilst on tour, necessitating use of a replacement vehicle, it will be fitted with seatbelts if it is a UK coach. Seatbelts will be requested if the replacement vehicle is provided by a non-UK coach operator but as this is not a legal requirement in other European countries this may not be possible.

Use of Coach Operators on an Occasional Basis

Galina will use coach operators drawn from our “Frequent Use” list whenever practical but there are circumstances in which this is not always possible:

a) in peak periods when our regular coach providers may not have a vehicle available

b) where the departure point would make it impractical to use one of our regular coach operators

c) when a last-minute breakdown, driver illness or other unforeseen circumstance prevents one of our regular coach operators from providing a vehicle and a replacement has to be found at short notice

d) when a coach breaks down on tour and has to be replaced by another vehicle

e) where a client specifically requests a local coach operator not on our “Frequent Use” list

Under these circumstances Galina will obtain copies of the appropriate documentation outlined above and issue a contract to be signed by the coach operator.

Non-UK Coach Operators used by Galina

All non-UK coach operators used by Galina must provide, on an annual basis, a copy of the following documentation before we will consider using their services:

a) Operating Licence

b) Motor Vehicle Insurance

c) Public Liability Insurance

Contracts with non-UK Coach Operators

All non-UK coach operators must sign a contract to confirm the following:

a) that they comply with all national, local, trade and other laws, regulations, rules and codes of practice.

b) that they adhere to safety standards regarding drivers’ hours and will allocate a sufficient number of drivers to the tour to meet EU standards.

c) that drivers are vetted and do not have a material criminal record or detrimental employment record

d) that vehicles used by Galina will be no older than seven years and are regularly maintained to a roadworthy standard acceptable to their local or national licensing authority

e) that the work will not be subcontracted to a third party unknown to us except as a result of unforeseen circumstances (see below) and only then to an operator that meets the requirements stated in our original contract

Ferries and Eurotunnel

All ferries (and Eurotunnel) are regulated nationally. For major British ferry companies used, Galina International Study Tours check on an annual basis that levels of on board safety are being maintained and a record of such discussions will be kept.

Risk assessments are provided to group leaders detailing any foreseeable hazards, precautions and actions that need to taken regarding supervision and conduct on board.

Itineraries, Visits and Excursions

Our itineraries are designed and trialled to ensure that they conform (as a minimum) to EU driving regulations and are subsequently amended in the light of client feedback, operational experience or changes on the ground that have a direct bearing on safety.

Alternative venues or excursions included at the client’s request are done so on the understanding that they may not be subject to our own risk assessment of the location. In exceptional circumstances we will strongly recommend an inspection visit be undertaken so that the client can assess any risk for themselves and make an informed decision in this regard.

Galina all reasonable steps to ensure that:

a) Itineraries are assessed for any risk that may be involved

b) group leaders will be provided with a risk assessment informing them accordingly of any hazards, precautions or actions that should be taken to mitigate any risks involved

Guides & Tour Directors

All our guides and tour directors are checked either by the Criminal Records Bureau or Scottish Criminal Records Office.

Guides and tour directors receive training on practical safety matters prior to taking their first group on tour.

Pre-Tour Safety Information & Advice

We provide a Pre-Tour Safety Guide to all group leaders prior to departure. The guide provides practical safety information and is intended to draw attention to key safety points and promote increased awareness.

Duty Officers

All clients on tour will be supplied with the contact telephone number of a Duty Officer in the event of an emergency. The Duty Officer is available on a 24-hour basis in the event of an emergency.

The Duty Officer is provided with details of all groups currently on tour together with the emergency contact telephone numbers of suppliers.

Group leaders and coach drivers will be provided with details of how to contact the Duty Officer should the need arise.

Guidance is provided to all group leaders outlining the circumstances under which the Duty Officer should be contacted.

Monitoring & Review of Safety Procedures

Galina will:

a) Maintain regular contact with suitable organisations to ascertain whether there are any developments in safety of which it needs to be aware to further improve its safety management.

b) Keep a record of accidents, incidents or near misses for the purposes of reviewing our safety procedures and information. An investigation will be conducted into specific issues if appropriate. An automatic investigation will be held where there is a fatality or hospitalisation for 24 hours or more to identify the causes of the problem and recommend reasonable steps to reduce the likelihood of similar situations arising in the future.

c) Encourage clients to report any safety issues they may have in order that we may be able to investigate such matters and take any necessary remedial action.

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