Qual to become a Safety Supervisor


Cool. I guess it was managed then.
The point was that there is risk in all things and the trick is to ensure you have appropriate controls in place to mitigate that risk while at the same time actually allowing the activity to go ahead.

I don’t disagree with the requirement for supervision but I do question whether the bar is set at a level that makes it more difficult to provide that supervision whilst allowing the activity to continue.

And yes, sometimes finding 2 qualified supervisors is so difficult that it limits whether we can run a range, especially if we are just looking at a squadron-level shoot. We should not need to drag external staff in to assist when we could instead take a more sensible approach to who can supervise a shooter (perhaps any trusted adult with a current WHT) and enable the activity.

We have coaches who can’t supervise. WI/SAAI is bizarrely not considered to be suitable to supervise live firing, despite being able to train an ab-initio student and authorise them in a WHT. Somebody in a position of power is unhinged and it is hindering shooting.


This is the line of thought that has got society where it is today and has created a whole industry and culture of fear in little more than 25 years.


You can say the same of RCOs who have to be or should be fully conversant with the weapons on the range. Ergo why can’t they instruct and or test. You have to wonder how much of cadet shooting is now just a copy and paste from what happens in the regulars, where you can afford to have people specifically there to train and those specifically to run ranges.

Personally it doesn’t say much about the competence of people in the forces if they need to have this many people around when they are on a range, either that or jobs for the sake of jobs.


Have you met squaddies?


Fair comment.


Coaches can’t safety supervise, as they haven’t been trained to safety supervise. They have been trained to coach. The exception being if they have attended a Coaching Course where they have also gained a Safety Supervisor Qualification or Authorisation.

SAAIs / WIs can’t safety supervise as they haven’t been trained to safety supervise. They have been trained to conduct weapons training and testing for the weapons they are trained and qualified on. At no point in the SAAI (or WI) course is time spent teaching how to safely act as a safety supervisor.

Likewise, an RCO has been trained to safely Conduct a Range. They haven’t been trained in the required Method of Instruction to be able to carry out weapons training or conduct a weapons handling test.

We can all comment, probably across all domains of training, how back when we were cadets / younger staff / in the day how things were easier, you didn’t need as many staff etc. However, we need to accept times change, and for a whole host of reasons. Being in a MOD sponsored youth organisation means we conduct elements of our training in accordance with certain rules / regulations or governing bodies. For us, shooting falls under the auspices of the Army Regulations and means we need to align to rules specified by the SASC. Yes we can (and do) try to influence these; however over time they change (and this means they have changed since the 60’s / 70’s / 80’s / 90’s / 00’s when some of us may have been cadets or staff). This is no difference to how rules changes for taking cadets on AT (aligning to NGB rather than experience), or to FC.


An inherent flaw in the current system. There is so little extra load involved in acting as a SS that there should be no reason not so sign off a coach or SAAI with very little additional briefing.

Shooting is broken and we are being let down by those in charge. I don’t see it getting any better any time soon and I lay the blame firmly with those who hold the attitude that the Regular MOD way is the ideal model. We need to be rid of ex-regular personnel in senior positions or we will never adapt and we will crumble under their ineptitude.


I have never been mugged either. Are you saying we don’t need police?


I was referring to the industry that has grown up around H&S, that has made everyone far too jumpy. I’ve listened to the Wing H&S officer (a recent invented post) speak at the squadron and was amazed by the rubbish they were spouting that comes from Corps H&S rules/requirements. I’ve worked in what people would require as hazardous environments and even in the 90s (when H&S really kicked off) we didn’t do half of what we are required to do. I don’t know how true it is, probably folklore, but the armed forces H&S rule book, has a footnote of does not apply in times of conflict, as there is more important things to do.

When it comes to shooting (and probably everything we do in cadet forces) again the question is what has happened to young people in the last decade, that we need all of these people around? What you might find is a causal effect of having all these people around watching them (some of who will be anal types wanting to impress, make a name for themselves and have tales to tell) makes the cadets more nervous and prone to make mistakes. You can do the same thing all the time without problems and as soon as someone is watching you and probably assessing your performance, you make mistakes you never do. I’d suggest go back to how it was for 5 years and see if incidents rise. But that would need people with balls which is something lacking.
If as you seem to suggest incidents happen in the ACF and this isn’t repeated in the ATC, then is it something in the young people who join the ACF? Over many years, I’ve seen the behaviour of cadets in local ACF units and had to advise them that it’s not acceptable. Whether they think they need to mirror a stereotype of people’s perception of squaddies and act like jack/jill the lad/lass, I don’t know. But it is marked when you see the two sets of teenagers together and it’s hard to believe they are of the same generation and schoolmates.


absolutely this.

In my relatively brief time I have known Cadets die during Air Cadet Flying, fieldcraft, and AT.

In these activities risks of repeats have been mitigated (some will argue with limited impact or success) by adding more supervision and/or qualified Staff.

Yes in all my time i have NEVER heard of a shooting related injury.
Despite this the activity Staff requirement is the highest for any other activity, with one of the highest “training” requirements to hold a certain qualification.
The stories I have heard typically arise when known rules are broken - one such example being a “Staff shoot” on a private rifle and pistol collection when the Cadets finished for the day.
Another more widely notified an RCO suffering the effects of fatigue and exhaustion in hot weather on Summer Camp made an error in judgement.

I can understand knee jerk reactions if i can see the intent is for good reason, in reaction to a negative outcome, but this isn’t the case for shooting.


No. I have never had to remove anyone due to, as you are suggesting, unruly behavior. I have had to remove someone because when doing their drills they would not keep the weapon pointing in the correct direction.

Now, like I said, this only happened the once - I am sure something similar has happened to at least one safety supervisor in the ATC in the last 10 years. This was a range with 8-10 lanes. On such ranges I would think an RCO would be glad that they were not the only person keeping an eye on the cadets. It also isn’t like these are particularly new rules, they have been around for a long time.

I also resent your suggestion that ACF cadets are generally unruly troublemakers. They are not.


As I have said before the Cadet Forces and RAF are too concerned with risk and not enough with threat & harm. We treat every risk equally which just isn’t reality.


I’d say it’s another casualty of the “Everything is an SA80” mentality of SASC.

The L98 is a complex system which is easy to get wrong, under the added pressure of actually being on the range and plenty of cadets forget virtually everything when handed one with live ammunition, after passing their WHT 30 minutes ago - close safety supervision is definitely a good thing in that situation.

Firing a .22LR bolt action rifle on an indoor, two lane range is much, much less complex - I’m pretty sure that most RCOs worth their salt are capable of making sure that two cadets are doing nothing unsafe without extra help.

And I haven’t got the foggiest idea how it is that I’m competent to solo-assess a cadet in the whole of weapons handling, but I’m not able to supervise a cadet who’s already signed off, under the supervision of an RCO.


This is where the problem lies. On I-III ranges where firers are on a static firing point, staff don’t actually ‘Safety Supervise’. All they’re doing is ‘weapon watching’ for incorrect drills or unsafe handling which is what SAAI’s\WI’s are taught to watch out for during WHT’s. I’m unable to see the logic in not permitting SAAI’s\WI’s to act as SS\Wpn Watchers on a I-III range. In fact, it defies logic.

During my time in the Regiment, I was always taught that ‘true’ safety supervising only occurred on field firing (Stage IV-V ranges) where firers are moving. We had to obtain the SA(E)90 qualification in order to do this.

IMHO, someone with the appropriate rank at HQAC should challenge the SASC over this whole SS issue.


Probably because it seems from what you read and hear, that when SASC assumed control of cadet shooting, they basically did a copy and paste and changed the title to Cadet Forces, without having the foggiest how the cadet forces staff actually operate, ie we volunteer and do things in our spare time. Because this isn’t our job, having specific individuals doing specific things, is not the reality. The reality is an interested group of people doing what interests them. There is cross-over, but not as much as there used to be, given the need to be ‘qualified’ and unless they have nothing outside of the ATC, people newer to the organisation don’t seem to be qualified for different things.
I’d sooner spend days out getting into the countryside seeing cadets doing DofE, navexes and the like, than be around a range all day and I know there are people for who doing what I enjoy would be purgatory.


I’m not sure that’s actually true - SASC have been in charge of cadet shooting for a while and regulations have gradually changed. So as far as I can tell they’ve looked at how we operate, looked at our rules and then decided to change them over to more complex and difficult ones anyway.


Surely the only major change for the best that I can think of (the rules concerning the transport of arms & ammo) was caused by a letter to an MP?


Well, the rules certainly didn’t always state that we needed a specially-qualified safety supervisor or arms storekeepers. We’ve also lost QCWHT and the basic (.22) RCO and WI courses.


The rules already existed, the letter simply made the MOD and HQAC offer better guidance on them.

They should also be checking that the barrel stays within a suitable arc during all drills and firing so as to comply with the instructions of the RCO and type of complex and be in a suitable position in order to monitor the firer and intervene if required.

The biggest issue I come across on ranges these days is people not being in the correct SS/Coaching positions in order to intervene.


That should be covered by the RCO in his staff brief.

That also should be directed by the RCO in his brief but if you have someone who conducts WHT’s, they should know where to stand in order to observe and\or intervene as necessary.