/ NEWS: BMC launch Incident and Near-miss Reporting System

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UKC News - on 16 Apr 2019
The British Mountaineering Council has launched an Incident and near-miss reporting system for climbers, hillwalkers and mountaineers in partnership with Mountaineering Scotland and Mountaineering Ireland. The system is the brainchild of BMC volunteer Pete Callaghan, who decided that a database of accidents could help to educate others after being involved in an avalanche on Helvellyn in January 2018.

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philhilo - on 16 Apr 2019
In reply to UKC News:

Excellent news, a long time coming. I hope the results will be accessible so we can all benefit from the occasional thoughtful read and review what we do. Thanks Pete

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petegunn on 16 Apr 2019
In reply to philhilo:

Although this will probably become a very good resource for those to educate and to learn from,  I wonder if climbing wall insurance and the like will see a price hike from insurers or even the slow decline of lead climbing walls as seems to be happening in America.

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Luke90 on 16 Apr 2019
In reply to philhilo:

> I hope the results will be accessible so we can all benefit from the occasional thoughtful read and review what we do. Thanks Pete

Have you clicked the links? There are already quite a number of well-written reports available to view. https://www.incidents.thebmc.co.uk/responses

I've only glanced through a few but I've already been reminded of some important things to think about.

As you say, great work by the BMC!

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yodadave on 16 Apr 2019
In reply to petegunn:

can you expand on the decline of lead walls in the US? I'm intrigued, what have you seen or heard?

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eroica64 - on 16 Apr 2019
In reply to UKC News:

Brilliant Idea. Could a fifth column be added to the table to summarise the outcome please? It would help searching through the growing list of results a lot I feel.

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Presley Whippet on 16 Apr 2019
In reply to UKC News:

Recent articles about the bmc only serve to turn me off, it is all too much like being at work, something I escape from through climbing. 

Near miss reporting and the recent business bullshit soaked article about ODG make me very glad that I can just get on with it and ignore the bmc. The bmc serves a good purpose but sadly it has caught corporate flu and there is no known cure. 

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Martin Bagshaw - on 16 Apr 2019
In reply to UKC News:

Brilliant news!

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James Mann - on 16 Apr 2019
In reply to Presley Whippet:

Mr Whippet,

Whatever you might think about the ODG or the BMC as an organisation, the incident reporting system is largely the work of a Pete Callaghan who has as a volunteer, tirelessly worked on this over the past couple of years. His plan was to provide a way of sharing accident information in a constructive way which could be learned from by the climbing community as a whole. This really isn't corporate bullshit at all but a grassroots idea carried out mainly by volunteers with the support of BMC staff. I am sure that Pete doesn't require praise to feel that he has done something of real benefit to the climbing community but I would like to commend him for bringing this to fruition.

James

Post edited at 17:49
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Sean Kelly - on 16 Apr 2019
In reply to James Mann:

Well said James. The UK is one of a few countries that did not have such a system of reporting such near misses & accidents. Hopefully we can all be better informed by the spread of such shared information.

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mag - on 16 Apr 2019
In reply to James Mann:

Just because the lad is a volunteer doesn’t necessarily make it a good idea. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. 

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Andy Reeve on 16 Apr 2019
In reply to mag:

> Just because the lad is a volunteer doesn’t necessarily make it a good idea. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. 

Although what you say is - out of context - correct, I cannot see it's relevance here. In fact, it comes across as unnecessarily critical an obtuse.

Thanks Pete and everyone else involved. Clearly this is a great initiative.

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James Mann - on 16 Apr 2019
In reply to mag:

Wise words. What actually is your point?

James

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Offwidth - on 16 Apr 2019
In reply to James Mann:

Well said James... many thanks indeed to Pete. I still suspect nothing much will change ... the people who need to read such reports usually won't and those who do and need to learn usually won't. I see bad practice all the time from experienced climbers who should know better, especially worrying when belaying indoors.

This needed to be volunteer led, like most other BMC work. It will produce better evidence, even if for the things we mostly strongly suspected already.

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petecallaghan - on 16 Apr 2019
In reply to eroica64:

> Could a fifth column be added to the table to summarise the outcome please? It would help searching through the growing list of results a lot I feel.

Thanks very much for your suggestion. The report list layout is very basic at the moment. Ideas like yours will help us make the reports resort to find and more useful. 

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petecallaghan - on 17 Apr 2019
In reply to UKC News:

I'm really encouraged by the number of reports we have received in just a couple of days, and by the lessons they provide. 

I'd like to say 'thanks' to all those who have already trusted the new service to share their experiences with us all. Please keep them coming. 

I've found UKC and the community here very supportive of this idea, so it's great to see it progress to this launch. Discussions on this forum brought our small team together in the first place. 

The support and hard work of lots of people in the BMC has also been essential to getting us to launch. There's lots more to do, but it's great to get this stage.

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Chris Ebbutt - on 17 Apr 2019
In reply to petecallaghan:

Well done Pete, an outstanding piece of work that over time will grow to provide a vital source of first hand information that will be of benefit to all and personally think will save lives. 

On its own it cannot prevent mistakes in the games we choose to play, but at least people will have the opportunity to learn from the problems others have experienced and hopefully try not to repeat them. 

A vital part of it’s future success is participation, so I strongly urge anyone with an “event” to take the time and share their experiences.

Congratulations Pete for all your hard work and commitment to see this project through.

yours sincerely 

Chris Ebbutt

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profitofdoom on 17 Apr 2019
In reply to Chris Ebbutt:

> Well done Pete, an outstanding piece of work....

People like Pete make me NOT want to give up in life. And inspire me a lot

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jimtitt - on 17 Apr 2019
In reply to UKC News:

Anticipation is an essential part of accident prevention and so it is instructive to note the first two incidents are going to occur in October this year

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eroica64 - on 17 Apr 2019
In reply to James Mann:

What is the matter with you? The road to hell is paved with good intentions indeed. There's far more paving of that road with lousy and evil intentions. I think, FWIW, your comment is foolish and mean-spirited. Shame on you.

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eroica64 - on 17 Apr 2019
In reply to eroica64:

Totally mis-addressed and intended for mag. I am tremendously sorry that I replied to James Mann. It was unintended and stupid of me.

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petecallaghan - on 17 Apr 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

Thanks for pointing this out Jim

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AlanLittle - on 17 Apr 2019
In reply to James Mann:

I suspect his/her "point" is the same as Pete Gunn's - that the best approach to risk management is whistling & looking the other way, because doing anything publicly to address it might draw outside attention to the fact that risks exist.

I do not agree.

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Derek Ryden - on 18 Apr 2019
In reply to UKC News:

I just get a "loading" screen when I follow the link

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danm on 18 Apr 2019
In reply to Derek Ryden:

Working fine for me atm.

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Phil Layton - on 18 Apr 2019
In reply to UKC News:

When I started climbing 10 years ago it was the first thing I looked for to help me manage the risks involved.  This will save lives, not just minimise injuries.

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Mark Kemball - on 18 Apr 2019
In reply to UKC News:

So often, on this forum, following an accident we have a "What happened, what can we learn?" thread. This is often inappropriate, especially if there has been a fatality and any lessons learnt are probably rapidly forgotten. This reporting system will hopefully help answer these questions.

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Mark Kemball - on 18 Apr 2019
In reply to UKC News:

Reading through the reports submitted so far, I really like the fact that clicking on the crag or climb link takes you to the UKC datbase. Thinking ahead, would it be possible for a link in the UKC database to link back to the relevant incidents for a crag, climb or area?

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Alan Pierce - on 18 Apr 2019
In reply to UKC News:

Very good idea . I served 15 years as a rock climbing instructor in the British Army..Title JSRCI Joint Service Rock Climbing Instructor and each one of us had a duty to report accidents and near miss situations back in the mid 80s. At the risk of sounding like a moaning old fart its something that should be encouraged at club and social media sites because i see dangerous practice everywhere i seen climbers these days. Back in the day with the type of equipment we had in a not so developed stage we all took the business of safety a whole lot more serious than i see people practicing today but i do realise that it is more to do with the sheer numbers involved as much as the way people tend to pick up their skills these days .

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Chris Cordery - on 18 Apr 2019
In reply to UKC News:

I believe this to be an excellent initiative and resource.  Amongst many other benefits it will enable people who take time to browse the database occasionally to avoid our common enemy: complacency! 

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Offwidth - on 18 Apr 2019
In reply to Alan Pierce:

Climbers on average taking safety more seriously in the late 80s compared to now isn't something I remember. The chaos in my student club and bad advice from the Student Union was what first got me involved with the BMC, for club safety advice and support, in the early 90s. We even met the odd badly behaved army group.... most were very good ... but not the one abseiling in  big boots  down a pebble dependant high Extreme at The Roaches.

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Pan Ron - on 18 Apr 2019
In reply to mag:

> Just because the lad is a volunteer doesn’t necessarily make it a good idea. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. 

What Hell do you anticipate? And how would you balance a negative impact of a voluntary reporting system, which you can ignore entirely, against useful lessons being learnt and perhaps a few people saved from life changing trauma?  Other recreational sectors have such systems and are wholly better for it.

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Mark Kemball - on 18 Apr 2019
In reply to Presley Whippet:

> Near miss reporting and the recent business bullshit soaked article about ODG make me very glad that I can just get on with it and ignore the bmc. The bmc serves a good purpose but sadly it has caught corporate flu and there is no known cure. 

What you forget is that the BMC is a membership led organisation. 

How did this reporting system come into being? Well Pete, a club member in the south west, came to an area meeting and suggested it. The members there decided we liked it and wanted to push it forward. So our representatives took the proposal to the National Council, who after discusion decided to support the idea. What followed was a lot of voluntary work by Pete and others, supported by the BMC office staff with regular progress reports to our area meetings, resulting in the system we now have, which having taken a look at it seems well worthwhile.

Quite how this fits in with your perception of "business bullshit" and "corporate flu" I can't see.

Mark Kemball (BMC SW area secretary).

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agolay - on 29 Apr 2019
In reply to UKC News:

Great work, I'll get logging when I've got some free time. This has definitely been lacking from the industry for many, many years, hopefully something similar will come into being for the rest of the outdoor industry once AALS has been sorted out.

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Sean Kelly - on 29 Apr 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

This accident/near miss reporting scheme must be the longest gestation in history. I wonder why it didn't hit the ground sooner. (perhaps not quite the right phrase).

I came across this recently via a very roundabout link... https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/rocktalk/two_editorials-307994

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Offwidth - on 30 Apr 2019
In reply to Sean Kelly:

Precisely because it needed the dedicated volunteers, who have now got on with it,  rather than those hundreds moaning on the internet and expecting someone else to do it..

Thanks for the link ... a great UKC thread and good memories of helping on Simon's excellent article. It's a shame I didn't link the YOSAR analysis by John Dill (and ditto for Jim Titt on the German accident report volumes). These volumes and UK MRT reports already tell us much of what might come up in this new analysis, and yet, despite all the 'think of the children' style hot air on the internet about how important such analysis is, hardly anyone reads them. The beginners and iinexperienced accident stuff is obvious, as is unpredicted storms killing well prepared parties anyhow, or mistakes through exhaustion or after cascading  problems, but the big message for me is not obvious: why so many experienced climbers have so many avoidable bad accidents on easy terrain or down to poor planning and surprisingly few accidents on crux sections: climbing is dangerous and people need to stay focused at every stage and some of the  experienced get lazy and let focus drop when they should not. The worst place for regular poor practice I see is indoors, where problematic belaying is on view on every visit I make to roped venues. Please pay better attention folks, as the consequences of a mistake might change your life as well as the person you hurt, through lack of focus on the job in hand.

Post edited at 00:37
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Sean Kelly - on 30 Apr 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

But the impression I had from reading said post was that the BMC & Dan Middleton in particular were looking into it.

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jimtitt - on 30 Apr 2019
In reply to Sean Kelly:

> This accident/near miss reporting scheme must be the longest gestation in history. I wonder why it didn't hit the ground sooner. (perhaps not quite the right phrase).

> I came across this recently via a very roundabout link... https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/rocktalk/two_editorials-307994

Because some feel it is an exercise that may give the wrong result. Should the BMC or any other body give more resources to educating against typical reported incidents (for example a boulderer that missed the mat) rather than adress the serious issues first? Living in Germany where effectively all accidents involving hospital treatment and the rescue services are logged and all fatalities professionally investigated we can gather useful statistics to guide us, a load of self-selecting incident reports tell us nothing new. Heart attacks and slipping and falling are the big killers amongst DAV members and I doubt these will surface in the  reporting scheme which means making decisions is distorted. Making sure your ab rope touches the ground is basic thinking for even a non-climber, if you need reminding then you are in the wrong sport.

The danger is a self-secting reporting system becomes a substitute for correctly targeted education and fundamental competence.

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danm on 30 Apr 2019
In reply to Sean Kelly:

I can clarify for you - way back in 2008 I did look into setting up a scheme. Didn't get that far because I was working alone on it and as well as lacking all the skills to set it up, I had too many other projects on the go.

Scroll forward to summer 2018. Pete got in contact with an idea, he came up to a meeting of the Training Walls & Youth committee and made his pitch. It was immediately obvious that himself and Louie had not only done a lot of the groundwork but were thoughtful guys who'd considered and dealt with many of the potential issues we'd flagged up in the past.

All told I'd say roughly 10 BMC staff and volunteers have worked together to make the scheme happen, but the credit really must go to Pete and Louie for their original work, which was simply motivated by wanting to offer a service which might be of use to the community at large.

Regarding whether it will be of use, well we don't know, which is why it is a 12 month trial. I suspect it will be. For starters, those with an open mind will quickly establish that accidents or near misses are not always due to a lack of competence. As often as not they are caused by human factors which include complacency. Gravity cares not one bit how many extremes you have led or summits you have bagged, so even if the reports end up being mainly ones where there is little new to learn other than that people make mistakes, that in itself should be of value to help us avoid letting hubris get the better of us.

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Sean Kelly - on 30 Apr 2019
In reply to danm:

Thanks for your prompt reply Dan.

I personally know Pete and was about when he had his wee avalanche on Nethermost Gully (he was swept 200ft!)  which is what initially got him motivated to get this scheme going. Thanks are due to him and Louie ? for getting the scheme working and as you say only time will tell how well used the reporting system is. I don't know whether there is a obvious link on either the BMC or UKC websites to encourage people to report near misses and /or accidents. What should be the procedure when a fatality is involved as there are more ramifications?

The bit I particularly liked when I went back to the original 2008 post about the possibility of setting up some such scheme was Simon Lee's piece which paraphrased  Donald Rumsfeld's famous 'known knowns and unknown unknowns'! I have pasted the relevant passage below below as it certainly makes for interesting reading. But stabbing your partner with an ice-axe Simon!!!

"Conclusion

This is by no means a full consideration of risk, which is beyond my faculties anyway, but I hope it will prompt a few thoughts about it. There is much we can't perceive, quantify, control and manage with respect to Risk. That's the context. Realise it, then forget about it. There is after all no point worrying about what you can't control. In fact enjoy it. Risk makes you feel more alive and switched on to the world around you. But there is stuff we can influence in our choices about the types of climbing we do and the way we practise it – always learning of course. If those things are broadly aligned to the level of risk you feel is right for you or what you get out of the sport then I think you have chosen appropriately, irrespective of whether it kills you or not.

*Full quote: “There are known knowns. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don't know.” Toby Foord-Kelcey, a frequent UKC contributor, suggests that an example of an 'unknown unknown' in climbing was Tommy Caldwell and friends being shot at then kidnapped by terrorists whilst climbing a big wall in Kyrgyzstan.

I propose a further example of Pete Biven whose attempt at a route in Lundy led him to be ditched in the sea in a helicopter and dealing with the unforeseeable hazard of trying to swim whilst still strapped to a stretcher. I would love to collect further examples – preferably of the non-fatal variety. Here are potential climbing KK's, KU's and UU's:

1. Known knowns: (Certainties/Information)

I can get pumped climbing

The rope has a fall rating of six and I have fallen on it twice

There is a serac above


2. Known unknowns: (Uncertainties/Judgement)

Whether I will be able to climb fast enough to avoid getting pumped

Whether the stretch in the rope will mean I hit the ledge if I fall off above the crux

Whether the serac will collapse whilst I walk quickly underneath


3. Unknown unknowns: (The Unknowable/Luck)

The red wine I drank last night had a pump-inducing toxin

A rat chewed the middle of the rope last night

Arguing about walking under the serac, my partner stabs me with an ice axe"

Post edited at 20:40
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Mark Kemball - on 30 Apr 2019
In reply to Sean Kelly:

> I propose a further example of Pete Biven whose attempt at a route in Lundy led him to be ditched in the sea in a helicopter and dealing with the unforeseeable hazard of trying to swim whilst still strapped to a stretcher. I would love to collect further examples – preferably of the non-fatal variety. Here are potential climbing KK's, KU's and UU's:

It was Frank Cannings not Pete Biven (unles it happened to both of them!).

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Andy Reeve on 30 Apr 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

> It was Frank Cannings not Pete Biven (unles it happened to both of them!).

Woah! I'd never heard of that. Story here for anyone interested: https://rockandice.com/climbing-epics/when-a-rescue-needed-a-rescue/?cn-reloaded=1

I suspect that won't make it into the reported stats as a commonly cited cause of accidents.

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Mark Kemball - on 01 May 2019
In reply to Andy Reeve:

Yes, it's a good tale! Frank told the story at on of the BMC  SW festivals a few years back.

Post edited at 11:53
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petecallaghan - on 02 May 2019
In reply to eroica64:

>  Could a fifth column be added to the table to summarise the outcome please? It would help searching through the growing list of results a lot I feel.

People have sent us nearly 80 reports in the last couple of weeks and following suggestions for improvements we have added some columns to the list of reports to make it easier to use: http://www.incidents.thebmc.co.uk/responses

We still need to make more improvements so please keep the feedback and suggestions coming. 

Thanks all.

Post edited at 07:07
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petecallaghan - on 14 May 2019
In reply to UKC News:

Following on from feedback, we have improved the search to make it easier to select reports from different areas, or for specific activities, causes or category of injury. 

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Offwidth - on 14 May 2019
In reply to petecallaghan:

Keep up the good work Pete. Any news on site views?

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petecallaghan - on 15 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> Any news on site views?

Since mid April we have had just over a 1000 unique visitors to the site and just under 90 reports published. It's a small number of visitors but a surprisingly high proportion of submissions. 

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Offwidth - on 15 May 2019
In reply to petecallaghan:

Cheers Pete I just hope some of the many complainants about the lack of such a site will  put their viewing where their mouth was.  Safety isn't just for someone else.

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ablackett - on 18 May 2019
In reply to UKC News:

Having read a few of these I feel that they need to be filtered more before being uploaded, there seem to be quite a few that fall into the entirely foreseeable category, 'fell off the opening moves and hit the rocks', 'slipped on ice when walking and bumped my head' 'crimp hold broke - it was fine' sort of thing.  

I would assume the average user isn't going to learn anything they didn't already know from those reports so why are they there?

Perhaps you could cover all these sort of reports with a disclaimer at the top "Slips, trips and falls can result in injury, or are sometimes fine - now you know!"

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