Schools must consider age, maturity and skill level of students when planning curriculum activities. Adjustments are required for
students with disability to support access and participation in the curriculum. Consult with the parents/carers of students with disability, or when appropriate the student, to ensure risks related to their child’s participation in the activity are identified and managed.
Schools must consult current student medical information and/or health plans in accordance with the
managing students' health support needs at school procedure. Record information about any student condition (e.g. physical or medical) that may inhibit safe engagement in the activity and include specific support measures within emergency procedures.
Emergency plans and injury management procedures must be established for foreseeable incidents (e.g. medical emergency, equipment failure, thunderstorm, provision of
Adult supervisors must have:
- emergency contact details of all participants
- a medical alert list and a process for administering student medication
- communication equipment suitable to conditions (e.g. two-way radio, mobile phone) and a process for obtaining external assistance and/or receiving emergency advice. Note that battery life can be impacted by weather conditions
- recovery/rescue equipment suitable to the location (e.g. emergency position-indicating radio beacon [EPIRB] or personal locator beacon [PLB], flares)
- an appointed emergency contact (e.g. the Principal, a park ranger, or local police) who is provided with a route card listing activity details (outline of the route to be followed, the number and names of the party, the estimated time of departure/arrival
- emergency shelter/protection locations and alternative routes that consider foreseeable emergencies (e.g. injury, bushfire, thunderstorm, extreme temperature, tides).
Safety procedures must be determined for the location (e.g. safe use of equipment, location of first aid support and equipment).
Access is required to
first aid equipment and consumables suitable for foreseeable incidents.
An adult with current emergency qualifications is required to be quickly accessible to the activity area. Emergency qualifications include:
Induction is required for all adult supervisors on emergency procedures (e.g. equipment failure) and safety procedures (e.g. safe use of equipment). If the activity is conducted at an off-site facility, induction is to be informed by advice provided in consultation with expertise at the venue.
Instruction is required for students and adult supervisors on correct techniques (e.g. abseiling/rappelling and climbing techniques and methods, safe use of equipment).
Parent consent (DOCX, 306KB) is required for all activities conducted off-site.
Parent consent (DOCX, 306KB) is required for all activities conducted off-site and strongly recommended for high risk activities conducted on-site.
Parent consent (DOCX, 306KB) is required for extreme risk activities.
In addition to the above, for
extreme risk level:
- small, specialised groups only. These activities are unsuitable for class groups.
Principals make final supervision decisions for the activity. Sufficient adult supervision must be provided to manage the activity safely (including emergency situations).
For activities with students with a medical condition or disability that may impact on safety during the activity, consultation with parents is required prior to allocating supervision to determine the impact of students' medical condition or disability on safety during the activity.
At least two adult supervisors, one of whom is a registered teacher must be present. In certain situations, there may need to be smaller or larger numbers of participants per adult supervisor.
The number of adult supervisors required to fulfil emergency and supervision roles must consider the nature of the nature of the climbing/abseiling elements and
belay system (top managed, bottom managed or autobelay), students' ages, abilities and specialised learning, access and/or health needs. The
abseiling and climbing Australian adventure activity good practice guide should be consulted for supervision ratios.
Due to the risk associated with falls from height, the safe conduct of these activities requires the use of spotters in order to protect the participant’s upper body and head from heavy contact with the ground. Spotters are required when the feet of the participant are up to 1.8m above the ground (e.g. lead climbing activities before first clip) (AS 2316.1-2009).
Before the activity, all adult supervisors:
- must be familiar with the contents of the CARA record
- must assess
weather conditions, and obtain accurate information on
tides, depths, currents and other expected water conditions (if applicable) prior to undertaking the activity, inspecting the intended location in order to identify variable risks, hazards and potential dangers.
During the activity, all adult supervisors:
- must be readily identifiable
- must closely monitor students with health support needs
- must closely monitor all students, removing participants for the safety of the group or individuals, if applicable
- must comply with control measures from the CARA record and adapt as hazards arise.
Principals make final decisions in determining supervisor capability (competence, relevance and currency) and are responsible for encouraging and enabling school-based activity supervisors to raise their qualifications to improve safety standards.
All adult supervisors must comply with the
working with children authority—blue cards procedure and be able to identify, and respond to, risks or hazards that may emerge during the activity.
A registered teacher must be appointed to maintain overall responsibility for the activity.
At least one adult supervisor is required to be:
High risk level
Extreme risk level
Refer to the competencies outlined in the
abseiling and climbing Australian adventure activity good practice guide for guidance.
Facilities and equipment
The qualified adult supervisor of the activity, in consultation with the principal, determines the requirements for facilities and equipment appropriate to the local context.
Location must be suitable for the activity being undertaken. Undertake a reconnaissance of new or infrequently used locations to ascertain suitability.
Vehicle access must be available at all times.
Inspection of staging and climbing areas must occur immediately prior to the activity.
All equipment (e.g. ropes, harnesses, slings, carabiners and chocks) manufactured specifically for
rock climbing/abseiling and must comply with the Australian Standards AS 2316.1-2009 for use and maintenance and
international climbing and mountaineering federation specifications.
Equipment must be sized to match the ability and strength of students.
All equipment must be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
A retirement schedule must be developed to replace equipment by manufacturers' nominated expiry date or when significant wear causes a hazard.
Establish and employ a process for checking for damage for all equipment used in the activity.
A log of equipment use, maintenance and inspection for each course must be kept and made available to participating schools upon request.
If privately owned equipment is being used, Principal approval and owner consent/insurance details must be obtained prior to the activity.
Equipment listed below must be manufactured for use in the context of the activity and meet the relevant EN,
UIAA/CE and/or Australian Standard:
- accessory cord
- ascending devices
- belay devices appropriate to the activity and location
- carabiners or other connectors
- descending devices
- dynamic rope
- harnesses connected by a safety line (rope or tape) to an appropriate anchor point or belay where exposure to a fall exists
- static rope
- any other equipment that is part of the safety system used.
Abseiling/rappelling rope long enough for the descent and a top-rope safety rope used in addition to the abseiling/rappelling rope.
Harnesses, helmets, ropes and lanyards provided for all participants in line with the following standards and practices:
- harnesses, helmets, ropes and lanyards that meet
UIAA safety standards, EN358, EN361, EN813, EN12277, AS/NZS1891.4 or equivalent
- harnesses must be worn at all times and fitted correctly when on course, and connected by a safety line (rope or webbing/tape) to an appropriate anchor point or belay
- helmets that meet UIAA or EN12492 standards must be correctly fitted and secured for the duration of the activity
- the belay system or
lanyard arrangement is appropriate for the expected fall factor of a climber to minimise risk of strangulation.
Appropriate vertical rescue equipment suitable for unassisted abseil, and/or haul and lower rescue techniques readily accessible including, but not limited to:
- ascending devices
- belay device
- pair of pliers or multi grips
- prusik loops
- webbing tape
- alloy or steel carabiners
- rope long enough for the longest pitch
- safety harnesses
Personal equipment for all participants including (but not limited to):
- helmets correct size and fit and appropriate for protection from falling objects
- harnesses must be worn at all times and fitted correctly
- clothing appropriate for the activity and weather conditions
- firmly fitting, enclosed, non-slip footwear appropriate to the terrain
- access to drinking water
- insect repellent and sunscreen where necessary.
Consider using backpacks to carry equipment and edge protectors to protect ropes from abrasion damage.
Base of climbs/abseils must be cleared of potential hazards.
If the feet of the participant are above 1.8m, additional fall protection must be applied.
Hazards and controls
Further to those listed, include any additional hazards and control measures considering the local context of the activity.
sun safety strategy must be followed.
managing excessive heat in schools guidelines when participating in very hot or extreme heat conditions.
Monitor participants for cold related illness (e.g. hypothermia) in cold weather conditions.
Ensure drink breaks occur regularly. Make water available for individual participants between drink breaks.
Assess site for unstable rocks, dead tree limbs, harmful fauna and flora.
Falling from height
|Assess and manage risks associated with
working at heights.
Faulty or dangerous equipment
Remove any equipment from the activity area that poses a risk to participants.
Ensure all safety equipment is in place and in good condition.
||Students aware of the location of emergency and first-aid equipment.
Exhaustion and fatigue
|Monitor students for signs of fear, hesitancy, loss of balance, fatigue, disorientation and/or exhaustion.
Conduct appropriate lead-up activities (e.g. trust, cooperation, communication).
Provide suitable options to allow 'challenge by choice'.
Provide scaffolded experiences to build participant skill level, knowledge and experience.
Adopt a system of signals to clearly communicate the need for assistance if in difficulty.
Remove accessories (e.g. jewellery) before participating.
Ensure fingernails, hair and clothing do not pose a hazard.
Guide students through an activity or provide a demonstration prior to undertaking the activity.
Brief all participants on basic first aid procedures for biological hazards they may encounter (e.g.
snakes, ticks, leeches).
Implement procedures (e.g. buddy system, roll marking mechanisms) to account for all participants.
Have students wear easily identifiable clothing (e.g. high visibility rash vest).
Ensure staff can easily recognise those students with health support needs and are familiar with their needs.
Abseiling: descending vertical or near vertical natural surfaces or artificial surfaces using ropes and descending friction devices to manage the descent. It is also known as rappelling.
Belaying: refers to a variety of techniques used in climbing to exert friction on a climbing rope so that a falling climber does not fall very far.
Climbing: ascending, traversing or descending vertical or near vertical natural surfaces or artificial surfaces. (Also see rock climbing).
Multi-pitch: a section of a natural surface or artificial surface that to ascend, traverse or descend, progress is made by using more than one pitch and establishing belay systems mid route.
Rock climbing: ascending, traversing or descending vertical or near vertical natural surfaces. At times also used to describe climbing on artificial surfaces. (Also see climbing.)
Single-pitch: a section of a natural surface or artificial surface that requires no greater than one length of rope to ascend, traverse or descend.