health and safety
We are renowned for our professional conduct and concern for participants’ safety at every step of the adventure. We offer comprehensive advice during the booking process and provide a full support package including notes on fitness training, travel tips, vaccinations needed, visa information, high altitude info and responsible travel advice.
assessing and managing risks
We have one of the most thorough risk assessment documents in the industry. In operating the community challenges for the corporate sector we have had to satisfy the risk departments of global organisations that we will provide adequate safety for their employees. Companies we have worked with include BP, Diageo, Serco, Credit Suisse, Lloyds TSB, Schroders, Reuters, Royal Bank of Scotland, HBOS, Coutts, Saatchi & Saatchi, Turner Broadcasting and GE Money.
"Serco's 47,000 people are are its most precious asset. We are committed to providing a safe working environment for them, wherever they are. I strongly feel that Charity Challenge share our concerns and commitment to the wellbeing of Serco people. I’m impressed at the meticulous planning and risk assessment carried out before the start of the programme and which has continued throughout."
Andy Lewis, Director Health, Safety and Environment, Serco PLC
We gather information through the feedback process once a tour has been completed to see any areas that can be improved upon. Our challenge leaders and ground handlers feed back with regards to vehicle fitness and accommodation fitness, and we constantly gather input from relevant parties into the risk assessment process. When a reccé is carried out or a trip returns, the risk assessment is updated and copies are shared with the relevant parties.
By using experienced ground handlers, many of the potential risks are removed through careful planning such as the itinerary we use on Kilimanjaro which has a 96% success rate, due to the increased levels of acclimatisation and support provided. Prevention is better than cure, so a great deal of preparation goes in to our challenges.
We have an Emergency Management Plan for our in-country staff in the event of a serious incident or accident, and the EL and UK staff who are on call, call all relevant client details including Next of Kin details.
We employ ELs with considerable experience and maturity in dealing with emergency scenarios, however we provide them with three 24 hour emergency contacts in the UK who can be contacted in the case of an emergency, or that the itinerary needs to change and the EL is concerned about an apparent risk. This involves our extensive experience to help make the right decision.
Finally, we operate to best practice and in many cases more than comply with BS8848 recommendations. BS8848 is a ground-breaking publication from the British Standards Institution (BSI) that pulls together expertise and good practice into a new national standard for the safe management of overseas ventures and covers the preparation and execution of adventurous activities abroad so that the level of risk included is reasonable and acceptable.
Charity Challenge groups are accompanied by a first aid qualified, English-speaking challenge leader as well as at least one local guide from the area we explore. The challenge leader is responsible for the group’s safety and will ensure to the best of his/her ability that the planned itinerary runs smoothly. They are also accompanied by a local support team including assistant guides, porters, cooks, security, camp hands, muleteers and so on depending on terrain and location. From time to time wildlife movements, weather changes, transport problems or forces of nature may cause last minute changes. In such circumstances, the challenge leader may vary the itinerary, and his/her decision will be final.
The very nature of the Charity Challenge means a certain level of fitness is required. Our challenges are designed to be demanding, as participants will need to earn their sponsorship money, so getting fit is part of the challenge. Fitness Training notes are available on the website and we recommend participants spend at least two to three months before their trip getting fit and building up stamina. They do not need to be professional in their chosen sport but the more prepared they are the more they will enjoy the challenge. Only they can judge how fit they are and what they are capable of achieving so we encourage people to be sensible but adventurous.
Charity Challenges are not races. We cater for a range of abilities. A member of the support team remains at the back of the group, ensuring everyone achieves their challenge at their own pace. Participants will be transported to the next camp if they are unable to continue. In more serious circumstances, we would arrange for an evacuation to medical facilities.
Many of our challenges are accompanied by either a UK based or local doctor or paramedic. Whether they join the team depends on the itinerary, altitude and group size. All of medical support team who join from UK have volunteered to take part in the challenge and are unpaid. Doctors carry an extensive medical kit including prescription medicines. Every doctor is sent pre-departure information about the challenge, and the clients pre-existing medical history.
Each participant completes a medical questionnaire on booking. This information is screened by the Charity Challenge medical advisor, who will contact participants should he have any concerns about the challenge they are about to participate in, and their medical history. Should his concerns lead to the participant not going on the challenge we will contact you and either suggest that the participant does a less active or lower altitude challenge or cancels should there be a serious possibility of further illness or injury through their participation in the event.
safety & first aid
Safety of the group is of paramount importance and each team member is responsible for maintaining the highest levels of safe conduct. Anyone causing a danger to themselves or to other members of the challenge may be removed from the group. There will be a qualified first aider with the group who will carry a substantial first aid kit.
health & hygiene
The highest standards of hygiene (that a wilderness environment permits) will be maintained. Washing facilities will be provided daily although this could range from mountain streams to bowls of warm water to hot showers. Toilets will vary from secluded trees, to tent-covered long-drop toilets, to permanent flushing toilets. The Q&A sheet for each challenge will explain in more detail.