Teachers are advised to carry out a preliminary visit in advance of their school trip in order to conduct their own risk assessment. Responsibility for pupils on school visits remains with the teachers at all times.
Everyday hazards such as slipping, tripping or falling on stairs, trapping fingers in doors and cuts and bruises are inherent in all environments. The following site-specific factors should be considered in relation to the individual needs of each group member.
HMS Belfast is a historic battle ship and many of the original features have been retained to ensure that the ship remains as authentic as possible. Therefore there are hazards that cannot be avoided.
- HMS Belfast is moored on the south bank of the River Thames.
- The ship is moored but will move gently as the river tide ebbs and flows and other river traffic passes by.
- Entrance is via a fixed pedestrian footbridge from the bank.
- The site is close to the Galleria complex of shops, galleries and businesses.
- The bank is reserved for pedestrians but occasionally vehicles may require access to the area.
- All visitor routes including the pedestrian walkway and the ship decks have guardrails along the sides with warning signs advising visitors ‘do not lean on guardrail’. Netting is secured to the guardrails to afford extra protection.
- There is a considerable drop from the main deck level to the water and the tidal river is fast flowing. Six life buoys are located around the ship.
- The decks have bolts and other pieces of equipment fixed to the surfaces which may present trip hazards. High-visibility paint is used where possible.
- There are protrusions at and below head height. High-visibility paint is used where possible.
- Decks may become slippery when wet. Mats are fitted at all entrance doorways to prevent water ingress and additional warnings are made using the ship’s broadcast system during inclement weather. During sub-zero conditions de-icers are used prior to opening.
- Visitors must comply with signs prohibiting access to restricted areas.
- Running is not permitted on the approach to or on any part of the ship.
- The visitor route is patrolled regularly.
- There are a number of decks with a variety of entrances/exits, galleries and exhibition spaces with different lighting levels.
- Access to each deck is by steep ladders with narrow treads. Ladders must be faced to ascend and descend.
- There are protrusions at and below head height. High-visibility paint is where possible. It may be necessary to adopt a stooped position until clear of hatch coamings
- Doorways were designed to be water-tight and therefore have a threshold raised above deck level.
- All public areas on HMS Belfast identified as containing asbestos have been sealed or encapsulated and are inspected regularly by the ship’s maintenance team.
- From time to time contractors licensed by the Health and Safety Executive will be on board HMS Belfast to carry out work that will remove or reduce the amount of asbestos on board. This work will, in accordance with the Asbestos Regulation, be conducted in a manner that will not put visitors at risk.
- Exhibitions may display material relating to the consequences of conflict. Teachers should consider what is age-appropriate for their students.
- The environment can be very disorientating. It is suggested that a meeting point in a highly visible location be agreed with all group members.
- Groups must have the correct adult-to-student ratio of 1:10 (minimum).
- HMS Belfast reserves the right to refuse admission to groups who do not meet this ratio on the day.
- Lost pupils should make their way to the Quarter Deck, where staff will assist them in locating their supervising adult.
- Supervising adults must remain with their students at all times to supervise their activities, monitor their behaviour, ensure their health and safety, and accompany them in the event of an evacuation.
- Supervising adults should ensure that their pupils understand how they are expected to behave. If the behaviour of anyone in your group adversely affects the safety or enjoyment of other visitors or staff, or causes damage to exhibits, this person may be asked to leave. Please brief your students about appropriate behaviour and have contingency measures in place in case anyone is asked to leave the building.
- Alcohol may not be consumed on board.
Fire and Evacuation
- Supervising adults should familiarise themselves with the locations of all the fire exits. They should brief their pupils and accompanying adults about the evacuation procedures and agree an assembly point outside the buildings in advance of their visit. A siren and announcements over the public-address system are used to alert staff and visitors of an evacuation. Lifts should not be used.
- At the Assembly Point, teachers should take the register and report any missing persons to a member of HMS Belfast security staff.
- HMS Belfast has members of staff trained to provide basic first aid treatment, although first aid provision is ultimately the responsibility of the teacher leading the group.
- Please ask a member of staff if you require any treatment during your visit.
- Please report any accidents to the Quarter Deck for recording in the accident book.
- All employees have passed through a security vetting system and carry ID cards with their photograph so they can be recognised by visitors.
- Staff working directly with students are experienced in working with children and have undergone an Enhanced Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) disclosure.
- HMS Belfast has a Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults policy in place.
- Please report any incident or allegation of inappropriate behaviour to a member of staff immediately.
- The inside and outside of the HMS Belfast are covered by a comprehensive network of CCTV cameras. Images are monitored and recorded to help ensure the safety of visitors and the exhibits. If you see anything suspicious please report it to a member of staff immediately.
- Please do not touch any unattended item.
The ship has both internal and external spaces on a number of different decks. Sensible footwear and outdoor clothing is recommended.
- Any materials to be handled as part of programmed activities (such as in learning sessions) have been risk-assessed.
- Staff leading the activities will advise those taking part of any necessary precautions and will ensure safe behaviour.
Kip in a Ship
- Groups sleeping on board as part of the Kip in a Ship programme will receive a full safety brief prior to entering the accommodation mess deck.
- Groups will be allocated an overnight concierge to assist them. The concierge will sleep in a cabin on a different deck. This is linked to the adult cabins by telephone. The Concierge will assist the group should an evacuation become necessary.
- Access to the mess decks is through a hatch way and down a steep ladder.
- The accommodation is entirely enclosed and has no windows.
- The hatches are closed at night and are fitted with an alarm to ensure any unauthorised entry/exit is notified immediately to the Concierge. The hatches are also monitored by the Concierge via CCTV.
- The two mess decks are adjoining with a door between them. This door cannot be locked. Each mess deck sleeps 26 children and has one adult cabin sleeping three.
- Only the bottom two of the three layer bunks in the mess decks may be used.
- For child protection reasons accompanying adults must sleep in the two allocated adult cabins. These are connected to the Concierge cabin by phone.
- Only named adults notified on the booking confirmation form will be admitted. Should any additional adults arrive without booking they will not be permitted access to the mess decks.
- Private functions may be taking place on board during the evening.
From the World Wars to the Cold War, IWM gives teachers and students in UK schools everything they need to explore the course, causes and consequences of conflict from the First World War to today.
From our Collections
The Zeebrugge Raid, 22-23 April 1918
The Falklands Conflict, April - June 1982
The Royal Navy during the Second World War
badge, German, Narvik armshield, Navy
German Naval expansion during the Inter-War period
Mess-deck of Manica, with Hammocks Part Slung, April 11th 1915
Scenes Aboard HMS Amethyst, April - September 1949
The Falklands Conflict, April - June 1982