Pole vault


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​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 pole vault 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​.​

Extreme risk
Pole vault activities involving use of a pole to jump over a bar or into a pit.

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.

​Small, specialised groups only. This activity is unsuitable for class groups.

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

An accredited sporting facility with suitable pole vaulting facilities, as required by the World Athletics manuals and g​uidelines​ (see Track and Field Facilities Manual Chapter 2.3.4), must be used.



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, hazards and potential dangers.

During the activity, all adult supervisors:

  • must be readily identifiable
  • must closely monitor students with health support needs
  • must individually supervise monitor students during participation
  • must closely supervene the approach, take-off and landing areas. Participants must not begin their run up until the landing area is clear
  • must regularly monitor the landing padding position and condition
  • 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, high head winds, thunderstorms).

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:

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 to ensure safe participation and that safety rules and procedures can be followed.

An accredited sporting facility with suitable pole vaulting facilities, as required by the World Athletics manuals and guidelines (see Track and Field Facilities Manual Chapter 2.3.4) must be used.

Landing area padding, including take-off box padding, as required by the World Athletics manuals and guidelines (see Track and Field Facilities Manual Chapter 6.2.6) must be used. For example, width = 5 metres, length = 2 metres in front the zero line and extending 5 metres beyond, and thickness = 0.8 metres for activities other than major international competitions.

Landing area padding must be constructed from material that allows both sufficient absorption from the fall and adequate resilience when compressed.

If spikes are worn, the landing area must be covered by a single spike-proof top mat approximately 5cm thick and should have a weatherproof covering.

If multiple pads are used, the landing area must be covered and bound together to prevent any part of the body from catching between the pads.

The uprights should be mounted so that they are not easily tilted.

A range of undamaged poles of different sizes to suit individual needs must be available.

All equipment must be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

A process for checking for damage for all equipment used in the activity must be established and employed.

Ensure spikes, if worn, are no longer than 9mm (synthetic surface) or 12mm (grass surface) per the Little Athletics competition handbook. Follow venue requirements, if available.

 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 hazards
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
Weather, sun, humidity

The school's sun safety strategy must be followed and not interfere with activity safety (e.g. use sunscreen spray to avoid slippery hands).

Assess weather (Bureau of Meteorology) and environmental conditions if participating outside. Cease the activity if the conditions become unfavourable (e.g. high head winds, thunderstorms).

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

Faulty or dangerous equipment

Check equipment for damage before and during the activity.

Dry equipment (including mats) before each jump if conditions cause dampness.

Playing surface

Cover/fill runway hazards (e.g. sprinkler heads, holes) to be level with the surrounds.

Clear the jumping area from loose items or debris. Do not participate on a slippery surface.

Student considerations Control measures
Student technique

Develop participant take-off skills by beginning in the sand pit off 2 steps increasing to 4 steps. Progress to the mats off 4 steps. Only progress to the mats off 6 steps once take-off skills are determined competent by the qualified adult supervisor.

Determine a safe grip height according to the competence of the participant.

Manual handling
Lifting equipment

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

Instruct students on procedures to lift and carry mats. That is:

  • ­use handles at the side
  • ­do not lift aloft to carry on backs, shoulders or heads.

Physical exertion
Exhaustion and fatigue

Schedule regular drink breaks, recommended every 30 minutes in conditions of extreme temperature. Make drinks available for individual players between breaks.

Continually monitor participants for signs of fatigue and exhaustion.

Student issues

Provide specific safety induction for students wearing spikes.

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

Ensure fingernails and hair do not pose a hazard.

Conduct warm-up/cool-down activities.

Clear the landing area before students start their approach.

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

 Additional links


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Last updated 06 September 2023