New Zealand has recently completed a ‘Review of Risk Management and Safety in the Adventure and Outdoor Commercial Sectors in New Zealand 2009/10’. Outdoors New Zealand has released a comment paper in response that highlights a need for a registration scheme for the sector, with a requirement for up-front and ongoing external safety audits of operators’ safety management provisions
Excerpts from the Executive Summary include:
The review team’s main conclusions are:
- There does not appear to be a fundamental problem in the sector’s ability to develop appropriate safety systems
- However, there are gaps in the safety management framework which allow businesses to operate at different standards than those generally accepted
- While these gaps remain there is insufficient assurance that preventable accidents will not occur
- This situation could result in harm to individuals and their families and damage to New Zealand’s reputation as an international visitor destination.
The review team observed that people should not expect that all accidents in these sectors can be eliminated. Rather, it should be expected that all practicable efforts are made to effectively manage the risk and minimise accidents as much as possible.
Available data on serious harm accidents and fatalities in the adventure and outdoor commercial sectors in New Zealand suggests that most are managing risk well. Many of the activities carry heightened inherent risks but the number of serious harm accidents and deaths appears low when compared to known participation levels.
Foremost, however, the review team strongly recommends that a registration scheme is introduced with a requirement for up-front and ongoing external safety audits of operators’ safety management provisions. This would go a considerable way towards providing assurance that activities are being managed safely.
The review team also strongly recommends a number of complementary initiatives, including:
- Partnering with an industry-led entity to strengthen the safety management framework for the sector
- Developing a practice guide for the sector
- Undertaking an evaluation of the voluntary safety auditing schemes for adventure and outdoor commercial sector operations and developing a register of government-accredited safety auditing schemes
- Promoting qualifications
- Clarifying which government agency is responsible for which activities
- Better information collection and collation
- Improving information about operators’ current responsibilities
Go to the full Final Report here.
Read Outdoors New Zealand (ONZ) response.