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safety management

Safety Management System

Accreditation:  LOtC Quality Badge & School Travel Forum

Galina International Study Tours Ltd is an Assured Member of the School Travel Forum (STF).  In booking with us you can be secure in the knowledge that we:

  • understand & facilitate the needs of educational travel,
  • have effective Safety Management Systems in place specifically focused on travelling with young students,
  • offer fair terms & conditions & the best financial security as members of ABTA.
 

To ensure our health & safety standards are maintained our systems & procedures are fully audited annually by independent experts.

STF membership is the benchmark for good school tour providers; consequently it is an Awarding Body for the prestigious Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge

The Outdoor Education Advisors Panel (OEAP) endorses the Quality Badge & requests Local Authorities to recommend the use of Badged Providers & require the minimum of additional paperwork where Quality Badge accreditation is in place.

This means that you can book your tour with confidence, meet your due diligence & reduce the amount of External Provider paperwork necessary. 

 

Safety Management System:  Introduction

Galina's Safety Management System (SMS) has been developed in conjunction with Argent Health & Safety, a leading specialist in this field.  Argent are also responsible for providing training for our own accommodation & coach auditors as well as an external audit of our own compliance with the SMS.

Our SMS complies with the guidance provided by the Department for Education & Scottish Executive with regard to organising school tours & the selection of a tour operator.

 

Health & Safety Policy Statement

It is the policy of Galina International Study Tours Ltd to operate in such a way as to provide, so far as is reasonably practicable, a safe & healthy environment for all of its guests & others that may be affected by its activities. 

We consider that Health & Safety is a fundamental part of management responsibilities & expect our directors, managers & staff to promote appropriate standards of health, safety & welfare, for its guests, staff & visitors. 

Galina recognises its legal & moral responsibility to ensure that all contracted accommodation under its control is safe to use. 

The directors have the ultimate responsibility for ensuring compliance with the company safety policy; thereafter the responsibility is delegated to the designated Health & Safety Committee made up of appropriate members. 

Compliance with the Company Safety Policy will be achieved through the proper implementation of a Safety Management System.

 

Statement of Company Objectives

Our objective is to promote a safety culture that involves all members of staff.  Their commitment & active co-operation in achieving a continual improvement in safety standards is essential.  This includes ensuring that all service providers used are safety-conscious & comply with this policy.

Galina International Study Tours Ltd implement a Safety Management System in line with the Company Safety Policy. 

All staff involved in the implementation of the Safety Management System are trained commensurate with their roles & responsibilities under that system. 

All those responsible for contracting & operating tours, have a clear duty of care to carry out their responsibilities in such a way as to ensure that standards of health & safety are regularly monitored & improved, where appropriate, in accordance with the above policy.  

All suppliers contracted sign a contract that includes an agreement that they agree to comply with the relevant Health & Safety guidance. 

Galina International Study Tours Ltd maintains a list of suppliers in order to highlight potential risks & Health & Safety hazards. 

The specification of criteria for inclusion on this list will be the responsibility of our Health & Safety Committee which oversees all matters pertaining to safety on our tours. 

Galina International Study Tours Ltd will continue to work with contracted suppliers to improve the standard of safety in their accommodation.

 

Identification of Responsibilities

 

Policy Making

The Board of Directors will ensure that: - 

  • relevant Department Heads are directed to implement the Safety Management System (SMS), 
  • the Department Heads are suitably competent persons, 
  • adequate resources are provided to implement the requirements of the SMS, 
  • the Health & Safety Committee is made up of appropriate members.

 

Planning

The Health & Safety Committee will ensure that: -

  • there is participation of appropriate personnel in the development & implementation of the SMS procedures,
  • personnel are trained & competent in the requirements of the SMS,
  • performance of the SMS & staff implementing it are monitored & feedback is provided to the directors,
  • trends identified by the monitoring activities contained in the SMS are examined,
  • they keep up to date with safety requirements & best practices applicable to tours,
  • as the business changes & develops potential Health & Safety Risks are assessed.

 

Implementation

The Health & Safety Committee will ensure that: -

  • all staff are made aware of their responsibilities in relation to the SMS & have sufficient training,
  • all staff carry out their responsibilities in accordance with the training & procedures set out in the SMS,
  • staff are aware that they should report any weakness or failure in the SMS procedure.

 

Review

The Directors & relevant Department Heads will ensure that-

  • they carry out an annual review of the Safety Management System,
  • any new developments, which would improve the standards of the SMS, are considered,
  • previous objectives set are being successfully achieved,
  • a suitable, qualified external organisation, approved to conduct an independent audit of all documents & procedures of the SMS, are invited to do so,
  • any accidents, incidents or near misses are investigated & action taken where necessary.

 

 

Accommodation used by Galina

The details of accommodation used or likely to be used by Galina International Study Tours Ltd on five or more occasions in any calendar year are held on a “Frequent Use” list.  We attempt to use accommodation from this list as much as possible, given availability at the time of booking. 

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.

For each hotel/centre which is contracted directly or through local agents, Galina International Study Tours Ltd will ensure that the supplier completes & signs a self-assessment audit & confirms compliance with local regulations.

Galina International Study Tours Ltd will endeavour to obtain confirmation that the hotel/centre has the following: 

a)  a current fire certificate or local equivalent,

b)  appropriate insurance,

c)  a current hygiene certificate or local equivalent.

 

On-Site & Self-Assessment Safety Audits

These are reports which undertake to audit thoroughly every area of fire safety, security, hygiene & facilities in general.

If we use accommodation five times or more in any one year we will carry out an On-site accommodation audit.  This will be carried out in situ by a trained auditor.  The results will be assessed by the auditor, using the rating system given below.  Any areas of concern will initiate the appropriate action. 

All accommodation used by Galina International Study Tours Ltd will be subject to a Self-Assessment Audit prior to first use & thereafter at a maximum of three year intervals.  The Self-Assessment Audit will be completed by the hotelier or agent.  The results will be assessed by the directors, using the rating system given below.  Any areas of concern will initiate the appropriate action. 

 

The Standard of Accommodation:  Safety Audit Result Ratings

A rating will be awarded as a result of each accommodation audit as outlined below:-

High Conformity

This exceeds all local & national requirements & safety standards are excellent.  No improvements are presently required & the provider will be commended & encouraged to maintain their standards.

Acceptable Conformity 

Room for improvement has been identified but the defects do not render the building unsafe.  The defects will be brought to the immediate attention of the provider at the time of auditing/receipt of the audit & followed up in writing within 14 days.  The deficiencies will be evaluated & a schedule of remedial action agreed & monitored.

Unacceptable

Regardless of conformity with all local & national requirements, we deem this accommodation to fall below the required standard & would strongly recommend clients not to use this accommodation.  It will be withdrawn from any Galina International Study Tours Ltd programme.  It will only be reinstated if the defects have been rectified & a re-audit has taken place in which the accommodation achieves an acceptable or high standard.

Galina International Study Tours Ltd will endeavour to assist the accommodation supplier in improving Health & Safety standards in their accommodation.

 

Risk Assessments

If requested, a risk assessment of accommodation 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 & national fire, safety & hygiene regulations & that liability insurance is in place,

b)  the location of fire exits & other exits from the property,

d)  the location of fire extinguishers & smoke detectors,

e)  security details ie locks on guest rooms, external doors & windows,

f)  external security details ie locks on garden or courtyard gates, exterior walled areas, local environment,

g)  details relating to food hygiene & pest control,  

h)  other details eg presence of balconies on upper floor(s) (if applicable).

 

Coach Operators Used by Galina:  UK Companies

The details of coach operators used or likely to be used by Galina International Study Tours Ltd 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 International Study Tours Ltd 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 & other laws, regulations, rules & codes of practice,

b)  that they adhere to safety standards regarding drivers’ hours & 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 & 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) & 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 International Study Tours Ltd 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 & a replacement has to be found at short notice,

d)  when a coach breaks down on tour & 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 International Study Tours Ltd 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 International Study Tours Ltd 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 & other laws, regulations, rules & codes of practice,

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

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

d)  that vehicles used by Galina will be no older than seven years & 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 above) & only then to an operator that meets the requirements stated in our original contract.  

 

Cruise Ships, Ferries & Eurotunnel 

All cruise ships & ferries contracted for use will be subject to validation of all relevant maritime certification in relation to seaworthiness.  Validation will be achieved by a desktop study of relevant documentation carried out by a relevant Department Head, Director or competent person.

 

Itineraries, Visits & Excursions 

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

Galina International Study Tours Ltd will undertake to categorise all promoted excursions in accordance with risk & take reasonable steps to ensure that, where visits & excursions are included in a final itinerary, risks have been evaluated & monitored.

Galina International Study Tours Ltd will ensure information will be provided to group leaders so that they are able to make informed decisions for their own group.

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 certain circumstances we will strongly recommend an inspection visit be undertaken so that the client can assess any risk for themselves & make an informed decision in this regard.       

 

Couriers & Tour Directors 

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

 

Inspection Visits 

Galina International Study Tours Ltd will provide, free of charge, two nights’ Bed & Breakfast accommodation for two people at or near their booked accommodation so that they can inspect accommodation & make their own risk assessment of locations & venues to be visited on their tour. 

This offer applies to group leaders who have made a confirmed booking with Galina International Study Tours Ltd.

 

Duty Officers & Emergency Procedures 

A Galina International Study Tours Ltd Duty Officer is contactable via a mobile phone 24 hours a day. 

All party leaders & coach drivers will be given Galina International Study Tours Ltd's telephone emergency contact number.  Galina International Study Tours Ltd will request the mobile phone numbers of party leaders & coach drivers to assist with co-ordinating emergency procedures. 

The Duty Officer will log all calls.  If a call represents an incident which compromises the safety of a client, an Incident Report will be completed.  These reports will be used to review procedures & determine priorities for risk management.

 

Monitoring & Review of Safety Procedures   

Galina International Study Tours Ltd 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 & 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 & take any necessary remedial action.

 

Training 

All staff involved in the implementation of the safety management system must be trained to a level commensurate with their duties.