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Risk Assessment

Metal Detecting

N.A.R.C. have produced a general risk assessment for you to consider your personal safety, whilst out and about metal detecting.

Definitions – there are 4 definitions to consider

 Hazard An action, substance or piece of equipment that has the potential to cause you harm,
 Risk The chances of something happening to you.
 Control What you can put in place to reduce the risk of injury. E.g. gloves, protective clothing.
 Accident An unplanned or unexpected event which causes you injury.

The risk assessment below is designed for you. However, if you have young children with you, who are not detecting, then careful supervision, observation and control of them is required. Oddly, in these circumstances, they could be categorised as being a risk to others who may be affected by metal detecting. Hence the importance of having a specialist metal detecting public liability Insurance.

All members of NARC must have insurance, either from NCMD, or the F.I.D.  We have listed in the table below, the types of hazard that can be encountered whilst out detecting along with a risk assessment.

Essential Kit to carry.
Mobile phone and emergency contact numbers,
1st aid kit, Antiseptic wipes, Plasters, Maps, Tide Times, Foil sheet.
Hat [sunburn risk],
Handheld GPS system
Essential medication, e.g. inhalers, tablets.

Swiss Army knife,
Needle [for removing splinters],

To minimize the potential for problems, make sure you:-

* take into account the local weather forecast, taking the relevant clothing,
* that you have contingency arrangements in the event of a car problem, e.g. puncture, flat battery, loss of oil or water,
* that your mobile phone is fully charged.
* If you are on medication, make sure you have the necessary tablets with you, before setting off.
* take a spare set of batteries for your detector,
* inform the landowner of your intention to detect that day.


 Potential Hazard Comment Control
 Ground contamination

 Animal carcass
Domestic animal faeces. Silage waste, Liquid fertiliser, Bio Solid fertiliser, can all come into contact with skin.

Inform landowner of location
 Wear gloves when detecting and ensure all cuts are protected with waterproof dressings.
Have a water supply available, or antiseptic wipes.
Be aware of hygiene at all times, particularly if handling food.
 Pesticides and Agricultural spraysAt certain times of the year, often prior to harvest or to control weeds.Be aware of when such sprays are in use. Best to avoid going on the land until the effects of the spray have been weathered.
We advise talking to the landowner.
 Dangerous animalsUncontrolled Dogs.Bulls, Goats, Horses.
Cattle that have calved.

Poisonous fish [beach detecting]
Poisonous fish & snakes incidents are quite rare
The public often walk their unleashed dogs around the set aside, or on the beach. This poses a risk to the detectorists, which is out of your control. Be alert to such situations. Follow the country code, informing the landowner if you intend to search a field containing livestock.

Have a mobile phone with you.
 Sharp or rusty metal fragments,         glass, barbed wire, ring pulls.Minor cuts and subsequent infection.Wear gloves; take care when retrieving the object and place object in your finds pouch before removing it to a place of disposal.
Have cleansing water, or antiseptic wipe handy.
 Rivers, Stiles, Ponds, Slurry Pits,      Fences, Ditches. Water can be a danger to any children accompanying you.
Fences and Ditches can be problem, use stiles or gates to get into next fields.
Make sure you check the depth and rate of flow of streams, and rivers.
Open gates, don’t climb over them. Make sure you close them afterwards.
 Buried Cables, water pipes.Be wary of cutting through cables.Minimal risk, but be aware of old water pipes which could be rusty.
 Electric fencesAvoid coming into contact with your detector, it could damage the detectors circuitry beyond repair.Use a stile or gate to pass over the fence.
 Live Ammunition

 Human remains
Old ammunition can be found anywhere. If it hasn’t been fired, leave alone.
If you come across Human remains, leave alone.
Leave where it is, mark the find spot. alert landowner, police and follow the authorities advice.

Inform police and landowner. Don’t touch anything and leave the area.
 Farm, or Beach vehiclesThe onus is on the driver to avoid you. But, be alert to farm vehicles on the field.Keep a safe distance, or move to another field.
 Horse riding, Fishing, Shooting.The wearing of headphones can prevent you from hearing warnings, or rifle sounds.Be aware of your surroundings and other activity around you at all times. It’s easy to switch off!
 Beach detecting
 Tides, Sandbanks and Mudflats.
Quicksand, mud and sandbanks are frequent dangers if detecting below high water mark. Check tide times, beware of sandbanks, research the area by talking to local users. Note when the tide turns, as its incoming speed can be rapid.
 Other dangers

 Rabbit holes, Badger setts,
Could result in slips, trips and falls, leading to sprains and breaks.Detect with a friend, carry a mobile and have 1st aid kit in car. Wear boots with ankle supports, to help prevent sprains.