Update: TOADS ON ROADS RISK ASSESSMENTS - January 2022
In addition to the generic activity risk assessment, an activity specific risk assessment is available for toad patrols. Toad patrols are a particularly high risk activity, involving working on roads and near waterbodies at night. It is therefore essential that no lone working takes place, and children under 16 are closely supervised by an adult over the age of 18 years old ( pdf see also safeguarding documentation (188 KB) )
Country specific guidance for COVID-19 s available at:
Northern Ireland: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/
Froglife take the national lead on toad patrolling, and coordinate activities at the national level, including registering the sites with local councils and highways authorities, and compiling the toad data collected. However, many ARGs take responsibility for coordinating their local toad patrol groups, since this ideally requires someone on the spot: to check whether weather conditions are suitable for toads to cross; organise the rota so that volunteers are evenly spread across the migration period; and to check that health and safety precautions are properly observed.
To find out more about toad patrolling in your local area please contact either Froglife or your local ARG, and they will be able to put you in touch with your local toad patrol. If you spot an un-registered/unmanned toad crossing, then you are welcome to set up a new group, but you will need to contact Froglife and your local ARG to register it.
Our ‘Top Tips’ for toad patrollers and coordinators ( pdf our Toad Top Tips can also be downloaded here (46 KB) )
- You can join an existing patrol or, if you find an unmanned toad crossing area you would like to register, then contact Froglife to find out more about setting one up.
- Before setting out make sure that you have completed a risk assessment for the site. Our blank template is attached here:
ARG UK Roads on Roads Risk Assessment
- In order to comply with the umbrella insurances that are operated by ARG UK or Froglife, you must ensure that all your volunteers have signed the volunteer working agreement, and that you have copies of these.
- Check that your volunteers are suitably attired, with warm/water proof clothes and robust footwear. Ensure that everybody has a torch, a bucket and a hi vis vest or jacket (you could also consider hi vis cycle clips or other hi vis gear, often sold by cycle shops).
- When you are wearing a hi vis jacket make sure it is not obscured by an over jacket, rucksack or bag and if you bend forward to pick up an amphibian, make sure that you are always sideways on to traffic so that your hi vis gear is still visible.
- Please read Advice note 4 pdf 4. Advice note 4 (revised) - Amphibian Disease Precautions, A Guide for UK Fieldworkers.pdf (186 KB) : and ensure that all buckets/footwear are clean before the season starts, this is to minimise risk of disease transfer. Never use the same bucket at two different sites, unless it has been thoroughly disinfected first (we recommend using household bleach or Virkon following manufacturers’ directions).
- Depending on temperature, toads will start crossing soon after dusk, until fairly late in the evening, so it is helpful to gather at around that time. Brief all volunteers before you start, and make sure that any new volunteers joining through the evening have had a ‘safety talk’. You will also need to make a judgement at this stage, and if the road is too busy or has poor visibility; please do not attempt to rescue toads.
- Always ensure that patrollers follow basic road safety, so do not operate on a blind bend or hill summit, and do not venture into the road unless you have first checked that it is clear. Remember, drivers will not be expecting toad patrollers in the road, and vehicle stopping distances, particularly on wet roads, are longer than you may think. Our recommendation is that patrollers remain safely on the verge or pavement, unless you are actively crossing the road. The welfare of the patroller is paramount.
- We ask that toad patrollers work on a buddy system, and no one should ever patrol alone.
- If you experience any difficulties or have an accident or ‘near miss’, please advise your patrol coordinator immediately, and then either Froglife or your local ARG. In the case of a serious incident, seek immediate medical attention, and stand the rest of the patrol down.
- And finally…. it is essential that the welfare of our volunteers comes first, and nobody should put themselves in harm’s way under any circumstances. We hope that you have an enjoyable and safe experience, contributing to the conservation of one of our most endearing declining native amphibians.