On the issue of safety of hikers no compromise can be made. Yet, it is often the element of anxiety that creates a bit of adrenalin rush which is highly valued by hikers!
It is thus not the safety in itself that should be averted but the question is “HOW is the risk element managed?” The first element checked by Green Flag (in self-guiding trails) is that of trail markers.
If the signage along the trail is not clear, Green Flag is withheld until it is perfectly done.
Other elements such as risky river and public road crossings, stability of bridges, etc. are more difficult to assess and thus the utmost care is taken and regular inspections are often required.
If in doubt, the worst case scenario is taken as the guiding force in making a decision.
It should be noted that this assessment may have legal implications and therefor auditors are indemnified in the website.
Although care is being taken by the auditors in assessing the safety elements of the trails, Green Flag or its agents (who implement or underwrite the system) cannot be held responsible for any damage suffered as a result of inaccurate or incomplete information. The user of the trails and the website acknowledges that he/she understands the risks inherent to hiking and will not hold Green Flag or its agents accountable for any damage suffered as a result of using this the information on the website. Users should also be aware that audits are repeated infrequently and sometimes with long intervals during which time changes in the safety aspects might well occur.
The Risk Assessment worksheet shows the assessment questionnaire filled in by the auditor.
A trail is safe if the dangerous places are manged well.
Clearly unacceptable for Green Flag certification.
Climbing a ladder can be exiting but it should be built with the correct material
Safety of river crossings can be highly dependent on seasonal fluctuation. Escape routes may be required.
Some adrenaline rush is good…but too much is scary! I
Safety is assessed in terms of the “reasonable hikers test”. Worst case scenario is taken into account.
Regular inspection of sensitive places is required.