Track running


​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, equi​pment and student considerations.

For activities beyond the scope of this guideline (e.g. steeplechase), complete a CARA record​ using the CARA generic template (DOCX, 488KB).

Activity scope

This guideline relates to student participation in running on an athletics track 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​.​

Medium risk
Running activities on a grass or synthetic athletics track including sprint, distance, relay, walk and hurdle activities.

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.

Compliance with the department’s guide to managing electrical equipment in departmental schools and workplaces​ for safety switches if using extension or power cords.

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


Parent consent (DOCX, 306KB) is required for all activities conducted off-site.


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, if participating outside.

During the activity, all adult supervisors:

  • must be readily identifiable
  • must closely monitor students with health support needs
  • must closely monitor non-participant crossing points
  • 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).

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 competence (knowledge and skills) in teaching track running; or
  • an adult supervisor, working under the direct supervision of a registered teacher, with current Level 1 Community Athletics Coach accreditation from Athletics Australia (or equivalent).

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. A thorough course inspection must occur before the event to assess suitability of the track (e.g. type of surface, debris), clear/manage hazards and ensure sufficient space to allow for deceleration.

Participants must wear personal protective equipment appropriate to the activity (e.g. enclosed footwear appropriate to the running surface). Consult the Little Athletics competition handbook (section 3.1) for advice on the use of spikes. Ensure spikes, if worn, are no longer than 7mm (synthetic surface) or 12mm (grass surface) per the Little Athletics competition handbook.

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

The line marking of sports fields fact sheet must be followed if line marking is required.

 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 (PDF, 1.5MB) for hygienic practices and first aid.

Follow appropriate cleaning and hygiene management practices when using shared equipment (Departmental staff search "cleaning advice for shared equipment" in OnePortal).

Environmental conditions
Weather, sun, humidity

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.


If vehicle access is required to the track, closely supervise the access points.

Facilities and equipment hazards Control measures

Faulty or dangerous equipment

Use only regulation-size relay batons made from lightweight material (e.g. aluminium, plastic).

Hazardous equipment

Consider alternatives to hammer cap starting pistols (e.g. electronic starting pistol, gas powered horn, whistle, portable PA system).

Starter pistol caps, if used, must be used in accordance with the explosives safety alert issued by the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy. That is, the caps must:

  • be carried in a rigid container and never carried loose in pocket or hand
  • be limited to the immediate number required
  • avoid exposure to high temperatures
  • avoid conditions where impact or abrasion may occur.

Wear hearing protection when using any starting pistol or air horn.

Load caps into the starter pistol only when it is about to be used. Use course markers made from non-injurious material.

Running surface

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

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

Wear footwear appropriate to the running surface. Follow venue requirements, if available.

Sharp implements or objects

Spikes are not to be worn when learning baton changing skills.

Remove starting blocks immediately after the start of circular events to ensure they do not pose a hazard to runners at the finish of the event.

Tools or equipment

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

Do not use finishing tapes in sprint activities.

When hurdling:

  • use lightweight hurdles for beginners and primary school participants. Place weights at the base that allow safe tipping during competition
  • set hurdle heights and spacings to facilitate skill levels and correct technique
  • ensure the hurdles are facing in the correct direction.
Student considerations Control measures


Ensure participants are sufficiently spaced for non-laned events to avoid collisions or spike injuries.

Directly supervise relay changeovers to ensure runners stay in their lane during and after baton changes to avoid collision.

Keep non-participants clear of the running track.

Physical exertion
Exhaustion and fatigue

Ensure students have undertaken sufficient training before participating in distance activities/events.

Do not allow students to run after injury until the injury has been managed according to established procedures. If in doubt, the student should not run until medically cleared.

Continually monitor participants for signs of fatigue and exhaustion.

Student issues

Conduct warm-up/cool-down activities.

Provide specific safety induction for students wearing spikes.

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


Ensure staff can easily recognise those students with health support needs and are familiar with their needs.


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Last updated 14 July 2022