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Fencing

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​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 (DOCX, 600KB) 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 (DOCX, 488KB).

Activity scope

​​​This guideline relates to student participation in the modern disciplines of fencing as an activity to support curriculum delivery.

Depending on the scope of this activity, other risk assessments may be required when planning. Curriculum activities encompassing more than one CARA guideline must comply with the requirements of all CARA guidelines appropriate to the activity.

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.​

High risk
Fencing sport activities involving foils, sabres and épées.

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.

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Supervision

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.

During the activity, all adult supervisors:

  • must be readily identifiable
  • must closely supervise students during participation
  • must closely monitor students with health support needs
  • 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. extreme temperatures)
  • must not allow fencing actions that involve hard hitting, jostling and body contact.

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 1 adult supervisor is required to be:

  • a registered teacher with qualifications in HPE (or equivalent demonstrated capability) and with competence (knowledge and skills) in teaching fencing; or
  • an adult supervisor, working under the direct supervision of a registered teacher, with current accreditation from the Australian Fencing Federation as a Level 0 coach (or higher).

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, adequate lighting and ventilation to ensure safe participation and that safety rules and procedures can be followed.

Participants must wear personal protective clothing appropriate to the activity (e.g. enclosed footwear with good grip) and that meets Australian Fencing Federation equipment requirements.

Weapons must meet Australian Fencing Federation equipment requirements and be sized to match the ability, competence and strength of students.

Foil blades must have protective tips (e.g. rubber, plastic).

  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 (PDF, 1.6MB) 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
Weather, sun, humidity

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.

Facilities and equipment hazards Control measures
Boundary clearance

Establish a 2-metre safety zone around the playing area to restrict non-participants. If this cannot be achieved, consider ways of reducing risks (e.g. reducing the playing area size, removing spectators).

Ensure there are no sharp or rough edges (e.g. portable signage) facing the field of play.

Electricity

If power is required, ensure electrical or extension leads do not pose a tripping hazard.

Faulty or dangerous equipment

Use markers made from non-injurious material (e.g. cardboard, foam).

Check equipment for damage before and during the activity. Do not repair and reuse broken or severely bent blades.

Do not use personal protective equipment with cracks, dents or damage.

Clean and store all equipment safely and securely when not in use.

Playing surface

Conduct a field check to identify and manage surface hazards. Clear the playing surface from loose items or debris. Do not participate on a surface that is slippery.

Cover/fill playing surface hazards (e.g. post holes) to be level with the surrounds.

Student considerations Control measures

Distraction

Do not participate in bright sunlight, as a fencing mask can distort the sense of distance.

Be aware of the positioning of left and right-handed participants to ensure they face the instructor.

Do not allow fencers to distract, or be distracted by, others (e.g. spectators).

Laceration

Provide instruction to correctly handle the weapon when not in use i.e. carry weapons by the guard or grip, pointing downward.

Ensure participants do not run with weapons at any time.

Provide instruction to correctly position masks i.e. the chin inside the bottom section and the bib in front of the throat.

Physical contact

Enforce rules to prevent rough play. Consult Play by the Rules (conduct and behaviour resources).

Manage injuries according to established procedures. If in doubt, do not allow students to return to play after injury until medically cleared.

Physical exertion
Exhaustion, heat/cold stress

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. shoelaces) do not interfere with the activity.

 Disclaimer

This information is developed and distributed on this website by the State of Queensland for use by Queensland state schools only.

Use or adaptation of, or reliance on, this information by persons or organisations other than the State of Queensland is at their sole risk. All users who use, adapt or rely on this information are responsible for ensuring by independent verification its accuracy, currency and appropriateness to their particular circumstances. The State of Queensland makes no representations, either express or implied, as to the suitability of this information to a user's particular circumstances.

To the full extent permitted by law, the State of Queensland disclaims all responsibility and liability (including without limitation, liability in negligence) for all expenses, losses, damages and costs arising from the use or adaptation of, or reliance on, this information.

Links to external websites are for convenience only and the State of Queensland has not independently verified the information on the linked websites. It is the responsibility of users to make their own decisions about the accuracy, currency, reliability and correctness of the information at these external websites.

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Last updated 06 September 2023