Near-miss and incident reporting system goes live

Posted by Jonathan Garside on 11/04/2019

The BMC has launched an Incident and Near-miss reporting system for walkers, climbers and mountaineers in partnership with Mountaineering Scotland and Mountaineering Ireland.

On 18 January 2018 five members of a BMC climbing club were avalanched when a cornice collapsed into a gully on the flanks of Helvellyn.  The group was incredibly lucky to walk away with only sprains, bruises and damaged equipment. But the close call led to deep discussions in the hut that night. Why did the incident happen? What mistakes had been made? Could the injuries have been prevented?

BMC volunteer Pete Callaghan, who suffered a badly sprained wrist in the slide, began planning a way to share similar incidents with the wider outdoor community.  He teamed up with the BMC Training, Youth, and Walls Committee to create this UK and Ireland reporting system.

The simple-to-use online form allows reports to be submitted by anyone who has been involved in, or witnessed, an incident or near-miss. These accounts are then are approved by a team of moderators before being published onto a free-to-read database. It is hoped the system will allow BMC members to enjoy the hills in safety by learning from the experiences of others.  

When the year long trial ends in April 2020 any important themes that emerge from the reports will be published. Please consider adding a report - or reading and sharing those submitted by others - to benefit the community.

The system has been developed by BMC volunteer Pete Callaghan, BMC member Louie Smith, and BMC staff Jon Garside, Dan Middleton and Elfyn Jones.

REPORT: an incident or near-miss

Use this simple-to-use online form if you've been involved in, or witnessed, an incident or near-miss. 

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Anonymous User
15/04/2019
Do descents count?
Jonathan Garside(staff comment)
24/04/2019
Slips, trips and tumbles when descending are sadly not uncommon. So yes, please do share those incidents too.
25/04/2019
Just a bit of information which may already be known about! Holst HVS 5a, on 40-Foot Wall at Juggy Point, Range West, Pembroke has turned into an aerial Jenga game with a tonne (literally) of rock just waiting to fall from about 7m. There is a new (I'm not sure HOW new) alcove due to rockfall half way up the route. I climbed up to the Jenga, nudged it and then scuttled off left onto the E1. I was almost scared to shout in case the vibrations made the whole route disintegrate! I would recommend staying off this route! The ones to the left of it were fine though. I didn't check the ones to the right but reckon they were probably OK too. I think if I had pulled on the lowest block or fallen on gear placed by it, I might well have killed my belayed and possibly myself. Just thought I should warn people! I did this route on 25th May 2017 and it was fine. It has definitely changed!
Anonymous User
29/04/2019
I cannot tell you how much this 'incident or near miss' site/page whatever you want to call it irritates me to the point of anger. It is a total load of rubbish. For a start off what in god's name is a near miss? If you have nearly missed you have hit! All this site does is give, it seems to me, attention seekers a voice to air their epics. I've read some of the reports:they are like scripts from comedy shows. Can I refer you to the Idwal Slabs crisis and the abseiling epic. I simply cannot believe any sane person would want or indeed need to articulate ignorance and incompetence.

Everybody makes mistakes. We do. We are human! The point is we learn from them. It's called experiential learning. We do what we do, go to wild places , rock climb, ice climb, flog up bloody massive hills, run, walk et al, and we learn! We assess the situation. We make judgements. One thing I do know from experience is that I MAKE THE CHOICE. So when I hear on the grape vine(0h yes the old way) that a bloody great chunk of rock has fallen off Castle Rock l go and have a look. It is then MY decision whether I take the risk or not. When Colin Downer and team go up and clean it and reclimb it ( I am a huge fan of Downer by the way ) do you honestly think I'm going to jump straight on it with out making a personal assessment. Forget that!
Sure post dangerous events for e.g. Rock falls but spare me, and the rest of fraternity to which I BELONG from idiotic ignorant epics.
The message is simple the more you do the more you learn. Above all the second you believe that you are superior to Nature you've lost! As humans in wild places (however we interpret Wild Places)we never conquer. We are allowed to achieve our aims and objectives by our assessment of time and space at that given moment.
Rolling knots!? How to knot two ropes for an abseil!? Descending slopes and slipping!? Spare me!
And finally if you do feel insecure and unsafe get on a course.
Above all get out and DO IT! We all have this inbred safety factor. It's called FEAR!

Jonathan Garside(staff comment)
30/04/2019
A near miss is maybe best thought of as something that did not result in injury, but very nearly could have. Almost abseiling off the end of a rope but stopping a few metres before the rope runs out could be considered an example.

The long established Accidents in North American Climbing journal published by the American Alpine Club has provided a way for climbers and mountaineers there to share their experiences and collectively learn from them.

The BMC system is for walkers, climbers and mountaineers. Some people may not find this volunteer-led initiative is their cup of tea, but since its launch two weeks ago, many have shared their stories, and hopefully learnt from those they have read.
Anonymous User
05/05/2019
In reply to Jonathan Garside

We may well be arguing semantics here, and I DO NOT APOLOGISE, if you nearly miss then you hit : if you nearly hit then you miss. How can you possibly redefine this apart from making a vain attempt to justify your 'incident/near miss site page'. Using the American Alpine Club as a recommendation for validity of the BMC site is it seems to me ridiculous! Have you researched your second paragraph 'the long established 'Accidents in North American Climbing journal'? Or are you simply assuming that the august body the American Alpine Club publishes righteous articles and is read by all. It is not read by all and I hasten to add I have no idea what the circulation of the journal is. I would suspect however that if the American Alpine Club has a similar standing in the USA as the Alpine Club in this country then the vast majority of participants in this catholic (all encompassing ) activity will ask who are they? what are they?what are they doing for me? Simplistically nothing! Your paragraph is a red herring!
A lot like this BMC site you are promoting.
You can expostulate it virtues until you are blue in the face but in my opinion it is a nonsense and a waste of time and effort.
The American Alpine Club? The Alpine Club (U.K.)? No thankyou very much. Tell your intrepid volunteers what they would have to do to gain acceptance to the Alpine Club AND their chances- every sarcasm intended!






Jonathan Garside(staff comment)
07/05/2019
Regarding near-misses, we have taken the commonly established understanding of the term such as 'an event not causing harm, but has the potential to cause injury or ill health' or 'an unplanned event that did not result in injury, illness, or damage – but had the potential to do so.'

By definition, a near-miss does not cause injury or harm.

Anonymous User
08/05/2019
Personally I would be too embarrassed to say I was stupid enough to nearly abseil off the end of my rope, or I got avalanched because I ignored/didn't check the Avalanche forecast and keep away from the south west facing slopes etc etc.
However, it is voluntary and if you don't want to hear about someone's idiocies then simply don't read it!
Don't sit on here rubbishing someone's efforts to promote safety if you can't come up with a better alternative.
I have corrected a stranger at Swanage who tied off his learner colleague's belay with an Italian hitch and he later shouted up to ask us to check his mates belay because he had never done one before. we moved away and climbed further along. The point is there is a lot of well meaning stupidity around and anything that alleviates it has to be a good thing.
30/05/2019
What gets done with the statistics gathered from this?
And where do I find them to read?
Jonathan Garside(staff comment)
30/05/2019
You can view and filter the reports by following the link from this page:
https://www.thebmc.co.uk/modules/incident-reporting/

As noted in the article above, 'When the year long trial ends in April 2020 any important themes that emerge from the reports will be published.'
Anonymous User
16/06/2019
In response to a reply to two of my missives dated 08/05/2019
I.Sorry for the late response . It would appear that we share a similar view in regard to this nonsense and I quote 'personally I would be to embarrassed...........' as would I!
2. "If you don't want to hear about some ones idiocies then don't read" I had taken this path before your perfectly logical and sound advice hence the (very) late reply.
3. "Don't sit on here rubbishing some ones efforts to promote safety"...... "if you can't come up with a better alternative". This is somewhat rhetorical as you in the next paragraph your advice to climbers in Swanage is what WE?! have a tendency to do.
4. I did come up with an alternative, two in fact if I can reiterate get out there and do it (experienctional learning) and if you are unsure get on a course! Or ask advice from experienced people.
5. To James Evans. A great question. In fact I would contend a show stopper! The statistics from this will be minimal AND subjective (by that I mean biased) and why is it necessary to quote the "American Alpine Club Journal as an example as a model. As I said before why use this as a model, what is its circulation figures, who are the readers? Frankly we have NO idea therefore,until we do it's use as a model is inadvisable. BUT James, I am aware that we are much maligned and indeed perhaps underrated in the out door sports field, we are good and I mean really good in certain aspects. I am referring to Mountain Rescue. Real people, indeed proper people. They save lives. They are nonjudgemental. They are volunteers who run totally professional units......and they religiously record incidents. So if you want statistics on incidents log onto their websites. It is illuminating, encouraging and at the same time sad.
Why reinvent the wheel all the evidence is there on record. Why is it not being utilised rather than quoting an obscure journal in The USA. The BMC as a viable source compared to Mountain Rescue is a joke
6. I don't want negative life changing incidents. I DON'T!

BMC well meaning or not this is a waste of time and opportunity!
Anonymous User
19/06/2019
Why is the rock fall at Tremadog headlined in Access and Conservation and not in Incident and Near Miss. Rock fall in the slate quarries 14/06/2019? Check out UKC , Forums, Rock Talk! You have major credibility issues at the BMC I'm afraid
Jonathan Garside(staff comment)
21/06/2019
The Incident and Near Miss reporting system is user generated. If someone had an incident or near miss involving rock fall at Tremadog or elsewhere, and chose to submit a report, then that would be published.

Regarding any known rock instability at a crag that could endanger climbers, the BMC would wish to ensure that climbers are made aware of such issues very quickly.

That you and many other climbers are aware of the issue at Tremadog suggests that this outcome is being achieved.

Whilst a user generated rock instability related report would be welcome. In and of itself, I doubt it would have the same reach that the way in which the BMC has made climbers aware of the current issues at Tremadog.
Anonymous User
25/06/2019
A subjective view regarding the rock fall at Tremadog it was on UKC way before the BMC. My contention is therefore that that I, like many other activists, use the UKC site rather than the BMC. But this is a red herring and a deflection away from the original discussion. Now seen as how only I and two others have chosen to express opinions on this matter then it would appear that there is a limited uptake and it's a cul de sac. It is good to see the picture of the Mountain Rescue with the gong on the opening menu though! No sarcasm intended
Elfyn Jones(staff comment)
01/07/2019
Hi
Regarding the sequence of reporting of the facts of the Tremadog loose blocks, I received the message about these blocks very late on Friday night, May 10th from instructors at PyB. I wrote the initial article warning of the loose rock on the BMC website at 10.30pm that night and also put a post on UKC referring to that article . I placed handwritten signs at the crag the following day.
We then carried out the work on Friday June 14th and the BMC article was live before the contractors had actually left the site. An updated forum post was then put on UKC. UKC copied and pasted the text from the BMC article and added some comments of their own for their own article later that day. I'm not sure how much quicker or more extensive a coverage we could have had to make this information public without informing Reuters or the BBC!
Jonathan Garside(staff comment)
03/07/2019
In the first three months of use, the site has received visits from over 2,300 individuals, 7,700 visits to the page listing reports and a total of nearly 22,000 page visits across the site, with visitors spending an average of a minute to read each report.

A wide variety of user generated reports have been submitted with the one hundred report milestone passed on 8 June. Thank you to all of those who have engaged with the system, providing summaries of your experiences and hopefully learning from the reports you have read.

BMC volunteer Pete Callaghan is moderating the reports submitted before they are published.

When the current trial ends in April 2020 any important themes that emerge from the reports will be published in a summary report.

Our reporting system is elective. The many years of reports published by Mountain Rescue describe the incidents their volunteer teams were called out to attend.

Every year there will be many incidents and near misses in the mountains and on the crags which only the individual(s) concerned will ever be aware of. Whilst it is always possible to analyse the information available, this is not the same as saying that any incident reporting system describes all incidents that might have happened within a certain period.

The BMC’s system includes a user-generated narrative describing what happened and identifying any lessons learnt. We hope that the power of these narratives will effect long term change, as they will hopefully be powerful enough to cause others to reflect upon their behaviours and decision making processes.

These narratives will play an important part in any summary reports that the BMC publishes.

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