​​​​​​Guideline review date: 28 October 2021​​

This guideline is provided to support schools in implementing the managing risks in school curriculum activities procedure.

The CARA planner must be used for the specific school context in conjunction with this guideline considering additional risks, hazards and controls and including environmental, facility, equipment and student considerations.

For activities beyond the scope of this guideline, complete a CARA record using the CARA generic template.

Activity scope

This guideline relates to student participation in discus as an activity to support curriculum delivery.

For activities conducted at a non-Department of Education venue, and/or when engaging external expertise, request written risk assessment advice and attach it to this CARA record.

For activities conducted off-site, schools must comply with the school excursions procedure.

For activities conducted as part of representative school sport programs, schools should consult with Queensland School Sport.

Risk level

Medium risk
Discus activities involving a soft, flexible discus (e.g. foam) weighing less than 350g.
High risk
Discus activities involving an inflexible discus (e.g. wood with metal rim, moulded rubber) weighing 350g or more.

Activity requirements

If any requirement cannot be met, the activity must not occur.

If any other safety recommendation cannot be met, modify the activity (or elements of it) and/or identify and use the hierarchy of controls to implement alternative control measures to meet or exceed the minimum safety standard.

Competition rules and procedures with additional or more stringent safety requirements must take precedence.​



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.

The number of adult supervisors required to fulfil emergency and supervision roles must consider the nature of the activity, students' ages, abilities and specialised learning, access and/or health needs.

Before the activity, all adult supervisors:

  • must be familiar with the contents of the CARA record
  • must assess weather conditions prior to undertaking the activity, inspecting the intended location in order to identify variable risks (e.g. wind), hazards and potential dangers.

During the activity, all adult supervisors:

  • must be readily identifiable
  • must closely monitor students with health support needs
  • must supervise the throwing area, surrounds and landing areas at all times. Participants must not throw until these areas are clear.
  • must develop and employ a process for:
    • clear command signalling (e.g. whistle, call thrower names)
    • ensuring no participant is in direct line of a throw (e.g. all participants on non-throwing side during a throw, participants throw down the line then move back 2 metres at the conclusion of their throw)
  • must confine throwing to occur in one direction only
  • must comply with control measures from the CARA record and adapt as hazards arise
  • must suspend the activity if the conditions become unfavourable (e.g. poor visibility, extreme temperatures, thunderstorms)
  • must not allow return throwing.

Supervisor qualifications

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:

Medium risk level

  • A registered teacher with competence (knowledge and skills) in discus or
  • an adult supervisor, working under the direct supervision of a registered teacher, with current level 1 community coach accreditation from Athletics Australia.

High risk level

  • A registered teacher with qualifications in HPE (or equivalent demonstrated capability) and with competence (knowledge and skills) in teaching discus or
  • an adult supervisor, working under the direct supervision of a registered teacher, with current level 2 club coach accreditation from Athletics Australia.

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, including sufficient space to ensure safe participation and that safety rules and procedures can be followed.

Clearly defined throwing area, surrounds and landing areas that considers the ability of the group must be used. Use highly visible markers.

Lines must be marked in accordance with the line marking of sports fields fact sheet.

Participants must wear personal protective equipment appropriate to the activity (e.g. appropriate footwear for the type of activity (i.e. training or competition), surface and age of participants).

Equipment must be sized to match the ability and strength of students.

Additionally for high risk activities

Protective cages must be used when discus activities occur simultaneously with other events in the field of play. Cage requirements are found at World Athletics technical information - manuals and guidelines (see competition and technical rules, TR35-Rule 190).

Common hazards and controls

Further to those listed, include any additional hazards and control measures considering the local context of the activity.

Environmental hazards Control measures
Biological material
Body fluids (e.g. blood, saliva, sweat)

Manage bodily substances (e.g. blood) and open wounds before, during and after the activity. Consult infection control guidelines and Queensland Health's exclusion periods for infectious conditions poster for hygienic practices and first aid.

Follow appropriate cleaning and hygiene management practices when using shared equipment (departmental staff search 'practical subjects cleaning equipment' in OnePortal).

Environmental conditions

Ensure wind is taken into account in determining an appropriate site for the activity.

The school's sun safety strategy must be followed.

Follow the managing excessive heat in schools guidelines when participating in very hot or extreme heat conditions.

Ensure drink breaks occur regularly. Make water available for individual participants between drink breaks.

Dry equipment (including discuses) before each throw if conditions cause dampness.

Facilities and equipment hazards Control measures
Boundary clearance

During group instruction, position throwers at least 5 metres apart and ensure no particpant is in direct line of a throw.

Mark a throwers line and a non-throwers line at least 10 metres apart. Only particpants in the current throwing group are permitted forward of the non-throwers line.

Fast moving objects

Position left-handed throwers on the left side of the group during group instruction.

Instruct participants to check the throwing and landing areas are clear before commencing preparation to throw.

When using the turning throw technique:

  • undertake group instruction to practise without a discus or with modified equipment
  • use protective cages or improvised barriers (e.g. fence, nets) to undertake individual instruction with a regular discus. If cages/barriers are unavailable locate all other participants/spectators at least 15 metres directly behind the throwing area
  • allow only one particpant to throw at a time.
Faulty or dangerous equipment Check equipment for damage before and during the activity (e.g. cracked/worn/loose rims or loose centre screws). Withdraw any damaged equipment from use.
Throwing surface

Conduct a field check to identify and manage surface hazards. Clear the throwing surface from loose items or debris. Do not participate on a surface that is slippery, unduly rough or chopped up.

Perform turning throws on a firm surface only, preferably concrete.

Student considerations Control measures
Manual handling
Lifting and carrying equipment

Carry discuses safely. If transporting multiple discuses at one time, ensure the total weight is appropriate for the person carrying them.

Use correct manual handling processes when lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling or carrying.

Physical exertion
Exhaustion and fatigue

Conduct warm-up/cool-down activities.

Continually monitor participants for signs of fatigue and exhaustion.

Student issues

Remove accessories (e.g. jewellery, lanyards) before participating.

Ensure fingernails and hair and clothing (e.g. pockets, loose shirts) do not interfere with the activity.

Monitor and enforce the correct approach, throw and retrieval safety procedures.

Practise the turning throw technique without a discus or using a soft, flexible discus.

Implement procedures (e.g. roll marking mechanisms) to prevent separation from the group when participating off site.

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Last updated 06 September 2023