Bedfordshire Beekeepers Association (Beds BKA), registered charity 1184466, is an association for beekeepers without any paid employees. Most members practise their beekeeping as independent individuals in a variety of settings, often selling their hive products to the public. Volunteers from within Beds BKA membership organise events for members of the Association and prospective beekeepers, and also engage with the public through various events, including stalls at craft fairs.
Trustees of the Association take an overview of Health and Safety topics including the formulation of this policy.
All members of the Association have a duty of care to prevent harm to themselves and others, and to comply with this Health and Safety Policy.
Beds BKA is committed to the anticipation, identification and elimination of hazards, in order to reduce the risk of accidents or incidents of any kind in relation to beekeeping activities that might affect members, their families, neighbours or members of the public.
This will be achieved through:
- advisory training aimed at those considering taking up beekeeping
- training and education within the Association membership
- providing Best Practice guidance documents and drawing attention to them
- provision of risk assessments for management of its teaching apiaries and organised events that engage the public
- safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults (see our Safeguarding Policy and Guidelines and our Equal Opportunities Policy).
Some specific hazards and measures
The following are some of the aspects of beekeeping that present potential hazards:
- bee stings (swelling to eyes or throat particularly; anaphylaxis)
- siting of apiaries
- manual handling (lifting heavy hive parts/equipment)
- working at height or in unusual situations
- working in public places, e.g. when taking swarms
- travel, including transport of live bees,
- working alone and/or in remote places including in agricultural settings
- storage, use and disposal of chemicals
- extracting and processing honey ensuring hygiene
- fire (such as when lighting, using or extinguishing a smoker).
Beginners’ courses include sessions on managing risk through the correct use of personal protection equipment, good handling of bees, and appropriate positioning of apiary sites. Beds BKA advises all new beekeepers to participate in sessions run at the teaching apiaries to gain practical experience working with bees in a supportive and controlled environment, when possible.
Beds BKA maintains a website with a section on Health and Safety documents that includes Good Practice documents relating to safety. Elsewhere on the website we offer basic advice on swarming and contact information for swarm collection services run by volunteer members.
Beds BKA organises talks and occasional practical open days or training events on specialist topics relating to best practice in beekeeping, including First Aid in the apiary, e.g. dealing with Anaphylaxis and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).
Conditions of membership
It is a condition of membership that in attending any live bee activity organised by or within Beds BKA members must:
- declare EITHER they have never consulted their General Practitioner as a result of any insect sting or bite OR that if they have so consulted that they are currently following any medical advice given
- bring any medication for insect stings that have been prescribed to them (including an adrenaline auto-injector)
- on arrival inform the organiser exactly where the medication is and who (if anyone) has their permission to administer it
- inform the organiser of any other relevant medical condition that might affect them during beekeeping.
In all situations where non-members are taken beekeeping, a Record of Beekeeping Activity for the person or persons involved must be completed in order that a Register can be kept that complies with the Association’s insurance. The Record of Beekeeping Activity is to be sent to the Assistant Secretary as soon as possible.
The Record contains a similar medical declaration to the one above. It also requires a signed statement that the person has been made aware of the dangers of not using personal protective equipment prior to engaging in the beekeeping activity, is provided with such equipment and has been given advice on acquiring suitable protective equipment, as well as advice on appropriate behaviour during the activity.
Monitoring and review
Any accidents and relevant health issues at the Association apiaries will be recorded by the apiarists. Accidents and relevant health issues at other Association-run events including public stalls and training will be recorded by an appropriate attending member. Members are encouraged to record and report accidents and relevant health issues in connection with beekeeping. Records should include:
- Name of the person(s) affected
- Place, date and time of the incident
- Details of what happened
- A note of any action taken and by whom.
A copy of these records should be sent to the Health and Safety Officer and the Secretary. All such records will be stored long-term with the Association’s other documents.
The trustees of the Association will monitor the implementation and effectiveness of this policy annually at their meeting prior to the AGM, and take action as necessary.
Last review: January 2021