Guidelines for Specific Sports and Physical Activities

24 November 1999

Specific Activities

Outdoor Recreation

Outdoor Recreation Guidelines
Mandatory Procedures
General Supervision
Minimum Impact Code
Risk Management Procedures



Risk Management

Risk management can be defined as a process of systematically eliminating or minimising the adverse impact of all activities and events that may give rise to dangerous situations.

To ensure that all outdoor recreation or adventure activities are planned and conducted safely, an effective risk and safety management process should be implemented.

This process will involve a thorough analysis of the activity, equipment, environment, participants and staff so that unacceptable risk factors can be identified, removed, avoided or suitably controlled. This process will include risk identification to establish the range of risks and hazards, both actual and potential, to which the activity group or individual is exposed. This process may include the use of checklist (refer to page 72) or consultation with appropriate bodies.

To identify risks and safety concerns or potential dangers, activity organisers should consider the main causal factors:

People 

  • the physical and emotional needs of the participants including students with disabilities and
    students with special mediation needs
  • the expertise and experience of staff and students including their strengths and limitations
  • preparation of the participants, including skill development and physical fitness
  • numbers and age
  • what to do in case of an injury, accident or loss of participants.

Equipment and resources

  • condition of camping equipment and means of transport
  • suitability of the equipment for the activity and use by participants (including clothing)
  • communication equipment
  • emergency assistance access
  • what to do in case of equipment loss, damage or failure.

Environment

  • possible effects of various weather conditions
  • nature of the terrain which has sheer cliffs; nature and depth of river crossings, etc.
  • threat of bushfire, floods etc.
  • visibility variations
  • nature and condition of vegetation.

After identifying safety issues, a risk management plan should be produced and implemented. The plan will set out the operational aspects of the activity, perceived and actual risks and the control measures that should be taken.

Risk management involves selecting the most appropriate strategy for contacting or reducing the injury risk. Strategies may include:

  • Risk avoidance: activity organisers making an informal decision to not conduct the activity, or aspects of the activity.
  • Risk control: activity organisers avoid or minimise adverse risks or hazard through the establishment of management policies, control measures and procedures.

Remember:

Avoid any risks or hazards that cannot be satisfactorily controlled or managed.

Note:

Risk management planning forms, parent permission details and an activity intentions form are provided in APPENDIX C. These forms should be amended to suit the proposed activity.

The following checklist will also assist teachers planning activities. The checklist will assist principals who have to assess applications to conduct such activities whether they are conducted in one day or involve overnight stays.

RISK IDENTIFICATION CHECKLIST FOR PLANNED ACTIVITIES

Teacher / leader qualifications and experience:

  • What training and experience do the teachers in charge/leaders have in the activity?
  • Do they possess competencies or qualifications relevant to the activity?
  • Have they led groups of people in the activity? Whom have they led? How often?
    Where? When?
  • Have they been involved with school-aged children in the activity?
  • Are they familiar with DET child protection procedures detailed in documents 97/018 (S.017) and 97/019 (S.018)?
  • What experience do the support staff have?
  • Have any other schools conducted this activity? Where did they go? How did they organise it? Did anything go wrong? What advice can they offer?

Student Requirements:

  • Is the activity appropriate to the ages and maturity of the students?
  • How closely do the students need to be supervised?
  • How much individual attention do students need for successful instruction at the beginner level?
  • If a student is in difficulty, can other students immediately stop what they are doing while staff help the student? If students encounter difficulty, has the activity been organised in such a way that staff can provide immediate assistance?
  • How will the students be organised while participating in the activity?
  • How will the staff be deployed?
  • Will constant supervision be maintained? If not, can this be justified? How far away will staff be?
  • Over what area/distance will the students be spread?
  • Are students familiar with the activity emergency procedures? Can they implement the procedures?

Equipment:

  • Does the activity require any special equipment?
  • Is the equipment appropriate for the ages of the students?
  • Does the equipment to be used meet industry standards?
  • What can go wrong with the equipment and can this be dealt with?
  • Are there any relevant safety checks that can be carried out on the equipment? Have they been done? Are they current?
  • Are there requirements for any protective clothing? (eg. helmets, wet suits).

Location:

  • Where is it and how regularly is it used for this activity?
  • Is it used for novice participants?
  • How familiar is the leader with this location? At this time of year, and under the forecast conditions?
  • Has advice or permission been sought or gained from the land management authority?

Outdoor recreation operators:

  • What outdoor-specific qualifications do the operator's staff hold?
  • Where applicable, what licence or access rights does the operator have to use National Parks, State Forest or other public or private lands (not owned or operated by themselves)?
  • What child protection training has been undertaken?
  • How does the organisation and staff maintain the currency of their skills and qualifications?
  • What insurance does the organisation or operator possess?
  • What emergency communication systems or strategies does the organisation or operator have in place?

Safety:

  • Have they done anything similar before?
  • What preparatory activities are undertaken?
  • Have the students been tested for any prerequisite skills, eg. swimming?
  • What foreseeable risks can the teacher in charge/leader identify?
  • What plans have been made to deal with them if they do occur and what risk management plans have been made?
  • What will the students gain from participation in the activity?
  • Could the same benefits be achieved more easily another way?
  • What is special about this activity that achieves these benefits?
  • How remote is the activity from sources of assistance?
  • How long would it take to get help after an accident?
  • How would help be called?
  • Has the instructor/leader or a member of the supervising staff a current first aid certificate that is designed to develop first aid and basic life support skills applicable for the environment in which the activity is to take place?

Further information:

  • Are there any laws or regulations (Federal, State) governing participation in this activity?
  • Are there organisations or clubs that conduct this activity?
  • Have they developed a standard code of practice?
  • Does the organisation or club have an information or a development officer who could be approached for advice or assistance?
  • Do these groups conduct training courses that teachers could attend? How accessible are they?
  • Have these groups any experience at introducing students to the activity?
  • Are there any guidebooks that describe the particular venues for the activity?