Extreme Weather Condition Policy
1. The purpose of the policy is to ensure the safety of staff, visitors, and volunteers. Extreme weather includes strong winds and heavy rain, electrical storms, snow, and ice.
2. Possible issues from extreme weather:
• High winds – reaching over 39mph could cause injury by being blown over or being hit by a moving/falling item particularly around trees.
• Lightning – lightning strikes could cause injury by someone being struck by lightning or being injured by fallen items being struck by lightning.
• Ice/snow – could cause injury by slipping on ice on paths and particularly on slopes and hills.
• Heavy rain – could cause flooding in Garden and possible damage to ground which could lead to slips, trips and falls.
3. Wind Closure Procedure, the Garden must be closed to the public when wind gusts exceed 39mph. To help with decision making the most senior member of garden staff should use the hourly BBC weather forecast for Dollar. If these conditions are forecast for Dollar the Garden should be closed 1 hour before the forecast time. No new admissions should be accepted from 1 hour before this time and visitors should be notified of the expected time of closure. The Garden should remain closed to the public and volunteers for 1 hour after the end of these forecast conditions.
4. Careful consideration should be taken when deciding about closure of the Garden, including the possible risk to staff, volunteers, and visitors. Discretion and judgement should be used in every scenario and it is the responsibility of the most senior member of staff present in the Garden to make the decision and ensure each process is completed in full. Where appropriate and safe to do so a visual check of areas within the Garden should be conducted to help with decision making. All staff and volunteers should be notified as early as possible.
5. Staff are expected to assess the risks affecting the range of tasks undertaken, and location of work in extreme weather conditions and adjust work patterns accordingly. Garden staff must limit all work to areas of the Garden which are not affected by potential tree fall. There must be no lone working on site by any staff, volunteers, or contractors if the Garden has been closed to the public due to extreme weather.
6. When the garden is closed to the public, volunteers and groups can continue to work if their work is always directly supervised by a member of staff (within visual and conversational proximity). Access to garden areas again must be limited to those which are not affected by potential tree fall.
7. Steps to be followed in event of Garden Closure, once the decision has been made to close Garden then the following steps should be followed:
• If the Garden is open it should be evacuated as quickly and safely as possible. This can be done using staff members or volunteers providing no-one is put at any further risk.
• If the Garden has not opened yet, then ensure that all gates remain closed/locked as appropriate to ensure no one can access the Garden
• Garden closure signs must then be placed on front gates, secured with cable ties (signs & cable ties available at FOH & Garden bothy filing cabinet).
• Inform Lynne Drewette of the closure, so that the information can be shared on social media and the website.
• Before re-opening a garden staff member or trained volunteer should complete the pre-opening garden safety check. Any risks or damage should be dealt with before the garden is re-opened.
8. Other Weather Disruptions:
• Individual assessments should be undertaken by a garden staff member for risks associated with flooding and ice/snow. Where hazards are identified, these should be mitigated by signage, barriers, visitor, and staff notification and, in certain circumstances, closure in line with the wind policy above.
• Lightning is not normally predictable and poses a significant risk to health. If lightning is forecast, staff and visitors should be notified and given instruction to shelter inside at the first indication of thunder or lightning. All staff must be reminded not to shelter under trees.
• All persons in the Garden should shelter within buildings for a total of 30mins from the last heard or seen thunder or lightening.
• No new guests should be admitted during this period, with an invitation to shelter within the gatehouse or their own vehicles