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Generic Template For Activity Safety

Specialised Activities require “written procedures, which conform to current industry practice, for the conduct of specialised activities by staff or user groups”.

This generic template provides one structured approach using the Victorian Adventure Activities Standards (AAS). If you choose to use the AAS, you should use the those that apply in your state. Other reference documents or other approaches may also satisfy the requirement to provide “written procedures which conform to industry practice”. Regardless of the approach, the operator has the responsibility for ensuring that all safety requirements, training and equipment standards are adhered to and that the activity is conducted in a safe manner.The reference documents used in the preparation of this document are

State Adventure Activity Standards (AAS)

Or

State education department guidelines

PLANNING

Considerations for developing an activity plan

Requirement:

An activity plan has been developed to ensure the activity is conducted safely and in an appropriate manner for the needs of the participants.

Question prompt:

Is there an activity plan?

Is it specific to the needs of the participants (varying age, abilities, physical size, etc.)?

Is it specific to the activity and venue/location?

Evidence / Criteria

Drawn from the following

  • Objectives of the activity (desired outcomes) and participant expectations.
  • Duration of activity
  • Expected capabilities of participants.
    • Age, experience, skill.
    • Fitness, disposition, known medical conditions.
  • Area and route selection.
    • Availability & suitability of maps.
    • Land managers requirements (access restrictions, group sizes, permit requirements, booking requirements).
    • Availability of area specific information.
    • Ability of site to withstand visitation with minimal impact.
    • Terrain (route characteristics) and associated implications.
    • Remoteness and access.
    • Seasonal factors (snow, fire, availability of drinking water, tides, river levels, track conditions, other users).
    • Description of intended route.
  • Expected weather conditions and implications (hypothermia, hyperthermia).
  • Group composition.
    • Size of group.
    • Standard of care (education, commercial or community organisation).
    • Leader to participant ratio
  • Equipment, food and clothing requirements.
    • Availability of equipment for participants.
    • Available communication equipment.
    • Condition and suitability of all equipment
  • Support/evacuation capabilities (vehicle etc.) and availability of emergency medical assistance.
  • First aid requirements.
  • The leader(s) selected for the activity:
    • Must have the required skills, experience and competency to conduct the activity, effectively manage incidents and satisfy the planned objectives.
    • At least one leader should be suitably familiar with the area being visited (the level of familiarity will vary according to the objectives and circumstances surrounding the group.)
    • Have passed the Working With Children Check if independently supervising participants under 18 years of age.
  • Reasons for cancelling, modifying or postponing an activity may include (but are not limited to) one of forecasted or current adverse weather conditions, insufficient equipment, restrictions dictated by the land manager and environmental factors (flood, drought, fire).

Pre-activity documentation

Requirement:

Documentation is collected by leader &/or organisation to maximise safety

Question prompt:

Is safety information recorded by the organisation &/or leader prior to the activity?

Evidence / Criteria

  • Emergency strategy
  • Participant’s names, address and emergency contact details.
  • Any medical conditions of participants, including teachers and supervisors, that are likely to affect performance. For example asthma (details of management plan including medication), diabetes, epilepsy, fainting/dizziness, specific allergic reactions, blood conditions which may affect bleeding/ blood clotting, conditions affecting balance, recent or long-standing injuries (e.g. back, knee, ankle), disability or other relevant medical conditions (e.g. pregnancy, repetitive strain injury (RSI), heart and any relevant medication.
  • Throughout the activity, the leader must take reasonable steps to manage any known specific participant medical requirements.
  • After a full explanation/brief, participants should be asked to sign an acknowledgement of the inherent risks involved in the specific activity.

The signature of a parent/guardian for participants under the age of 18 authorising participation.

Competency of leaders

Requirement:

Leaders of adventure activities have satisfied a comprehensive process of skill acquisition and experience equivalent to recognised standards and appropriate for the activity.

Question prompt:

What qualification &/or accreditation (or equivalent) do leaders have for this adventure activity?

Evidence / Criteria

Skills and experience at least equivalent to relevant Units of Competency at the National Training Information Service for

  • Assistant
  • Leader
  • Other roles

First aid Requirement:

Every supervisor has a current and recognised first aid certificate

Question prompt:

What first aid qualifications do leaders have?

Are these qualifications sufficient for the

  • Size of the group
  • Age of the group
  • Special needs of group
  • Remoteness of the activity
  • Ease of contact of emergency services
  • Likely time for emergency services to reach the group
  • Nature and severity of the likely injuries

Evidence / Criteria

  • Copies of certificates for verification
  • First aid kit appropriate to the level of training available & accessible at all times
  • The training and first aid kit is aligned with emergency strategy (use in remote areas, specific to participant needs, etc.)

Reference Information

ANTA unit HLTFALA (Health & Fitness Package)

First aid training organisations
Risk management

Requirement:

Prior to any activity being conducted, risks should be identified and appropriate strategies and control measures implemented. Leaders must be familiar with any measures documented

Question prompt:

Is a risk assessment conducted prior to the activity being conducted?

What action needs to be taken to manage the identified issues?

Evidence / Criteria

  • Activity specific risk management
  • Risk assessment and strategies are documented
  • Leaders provided with a copy, made familiar with contents
  • Criteria are taken into account (weather, environment, participants, and equipment)

Emergency strategy

Requirement:

A strategy is developed to manage incidents and minimise their escalation

Question prompt:

Is there a documented emergency strategy?

Evidence / Criteria

Emergency access and emergency escape routes (where possible).

Assembly points where appropriate

Emergency contact details for key organisations (land manager and police) and how they are best contacted (mobile phone, satellite phone, radio).

Planned start and finish time of the activity.

The emergency trigger time for the non-participating contact to inform emergency services (on failure of group to return/check-in).

Specific communication being carried by group.

Strategies adopted peculiar to specific areas being visited. (e.g. the rock scramble or river crossings)

Strategy for maintaining supervision ratios should changes to activity eventuate

Activity leader(s) and a non-participating contact must have copies of the emergency strategy. The activity leader must communicate with the relevant non-participating contact at designated time(s). If this does not happen, the non-participating contact must commence the agreed steps of the emergency strategy which would ultimately lead to the police being notified. There may be certain trigger times for various stages of the emergency strategy to be implemented.

A summary of the emergency strategy must be provided as a component of the pre-activity briefing.

Restrictions to participation

Requirement:

Organisation has systems in place to halt or amend the activity in the event of specific criteria

Question prompt:

Are there operational and individual restrictions established that may cause the activity to cease if the group or individual safety is placed at risk?

Evidence / Criteria

Operational restrictions

  • Weather
  • Environmental factors (flood, lightning, fire)
  • Equipment damage/failure
  • Restrictions dictated by land manager

Individual restrictions (Pre & during activity)

  • Participant under effects or influence of alcohol or drugs (including prescription) which may effect performance or unwilling to follow instruction
  • Participant who declares a medical condition that poses unacceptable risk to self, or the safe conduct of the activity
  • Participants with body weight, disability or fitness levels that pose unacceptable risk to self, or the safe conduct of the activity
  • Participants who are unable or unwilling to follow instructions

Participants who are clearly unprepared for foreseeable conditions

Reference Information

Bureau of Meteorology website http://www.bom.gov.au/weather/vic/
Pre-activity briefing

Requirement:

All participants are briefed on the activity prior to departure

Question prompt:

What information is included in activity briefing?

Evidence / Criteria

  • Identity and role of activity leader(s).
  • An outline of the activity plan and objectives.
  • The nature of the activity and its inherent risks.
  • Essential equipment and clothing.
  • Correct use and/or fit of equipment
  • Recommendations on the type of food, the amount of food and water required and the availability of water.
  • Strategies for conservation including flora, fauna and rubbish removal and sanitation.
  • A summary of the emergency plan or sufficient information to allow participants to act appropriately in the event of an incident or emergency, including methods of emergency communication.
  • Explanation of what is expected of participants and the participant’s responsibility to act as requested (conduct etc.).
  • Restrictions to participation.
  • Leaders should receive acknowledgment that participants have understood the content of the briefing.
  • Leaders must also offer participant the opportunity to voice any concerns.
  • Agreed methods of communication within the group (signals and calls) devised before the activity commences.
  • Final check that all documentation is completed and submitted

Ratios

Requirement:

Leader/group ratios are suitable for each activity

Question prompt:

Are leader/group ratios consistent with Adventure Activity Standards or other recognised guidelines?

Evidence / Criteria

  • Experience of the leader.
  • Expected capabilities of participants (experience, competence, fitness, etc.).
  • Conditions (environment, remoteness, weather).
  • Land manager’s requirements.
  • Planned duration of the activity.
  • Remoteness of the activity.
  • Suitability and availability of equipment

Land managers or relevant authorities may also suggest ratios that differ from AAS and where these are within AAS (fewer participants per leader) they must be regarded as minimum requirements.

Reference Information

AAS

State education department guidelines
Group size

Requirement:

Group size is suitable for the activity

Question prompt:

Is the group size consistent with Adventure Activity Standards or other recognised guidelines?

Evidence / Criteria:

  • Safety of the group and individuals
  • Objectives of the activity
  • Any specific restrictions imposed by the land manager (e.g. Parks Victoria).
  • Expected environmental impact of the activity.
  • Experience of the leader and participants.
  • Potential impact on other users.
  • Conditions likely to be encountered (environment, remoteness, weather)
  • Equipment available
  • If a large group is split, each part adhere to AAS
  • Small are groups larger than 4 people.

LEADER ROLES

Requirement:

The leader of the activity must have the skills and experience to carry out the activity plan without external supervision, be able to delegate tasks to assistants and manage the group.

The assistant leader must have the skills specific to the conduct of the activity, be able to undertake activity-specific tasks delegated by the leader, and be able to manage the safety of the group, including in an emergency, if the leader is incapacitated.

Question prompt:

What actions do the leader/s take to ensure their responsibilities are met for matching group experience/capabilities to the activity being undertaken?

Evidence / Criteria

  • Take reasonable steps to ensure that the level of knowledge, ability, skill and equipment of each participant is adequate for the level of difficulty and complexity of the activity.
  • Ensure that a process has been undertaken to research and plan for likely hazards, and that the leader is familiar with the measures required.
  • Introduce themselves as leader and introduce any other key people
  • Ensure that minimal environmental impact message is conveyed and adhered to.
  • Manage and minimise the impact to the environment that may be caused by the activity
  • Where considered necessary nominate an assistant leader (or assistant leaders) who has/have known skills and experience relevant to the activity and are willing to perform defined duties.
  • Ensure a briefing is conducted and understood by all participants.
  • Undertake headcount before, during and immediately following the activity.
  • Maintain awareness of the physical and psychological condition of the group.
  • Control the pace of the group.
  • Delegate responsibility to other group members as necessary (whip, navigation, first aid, etc.)
  • Notify relevant people of safe completion of the activity.
  • Ensure that any incidents are managed, reported and recorded.
  • Manage group to avoid or minimise the effects of hazards.
  • Ensure land manger’s requirements are followed
  • Confirm the activity plan
  • Ensure that the group has access to safe, potable drinking water.
  • Check suitability, condition and use of all group equipment prior to departure and on return.
  • Ensure group equipment is secured and stored correctly at all times
  • Ensure to the best of your ability that group members do not get into situations beyond their capabilities.
  • Check first aid kit equipment prior to activity.
  • Check communication equipment prior to activity.
  • Frequently check weather forecasts prior to the activity and, as required and if possible, during the activity.
  • Ensure all documentation has been completed and collated
  • Arrange for the signing of waivers where these apply.

EQUIPMENT

Requirement:

Equipment is suitable for the task and properly maintained and stored.

Question prompt:

Is the equipment used consistent with industry guidelines, Adventure Activity Standards or other recognised guidelines?

Is the equipment checked, stored and maintained in accordance with industry guidelines, Adventure Activity Standards or other recognized guidelines?

Evidence / Criteria

  • Equipment meets industry standards
  • There are written procedures for the regular major checking of activity equipment
  • There are written procedures for the checking of activity equipment prior to use.
  • There are written procedures for the maintenance of specialised activity equipment.
  • All activity equipment is stored appropriately and securely
  • It is clear what equipment is required for participants, equipment that should be carried by the leader (or delegate) and equipment that is to be shared by the group.

MINIMAL IMPACT

Requirement:

The activity is conducted with minimal impact on the environment.

Question prompt:

What actions do the leaders take to ensure the activity is designed and carries out to minimise the impact on the environment?

Evidence / Criteria:

Routes, equipment and venues are chosen to minimise impact

Participants are briefed on actions and behaviour that will minimise impact on the environment

The activity is conducted to minimise impact on the environment.

INCIDENT REPORTING

Requirement:

Records maintained of incidents & accidents that resulted in injury or had potential to result in injury

Question prompt:

Are incidents reported & recorded?

Evidence / Criteria

Incident Report Forms are available.

A record of incidents is maintained and reviewed

Employer / Activity Provider / activity leader is reminded of WorkSafe’s incident notification protocol