​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​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 considerati​ons.​

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 triathlon activities involving swimming, cycling and running 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 (e.g. cross coun​try, cycling (road,​ tr​ack, path) and swimming in pools) 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

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

Risk levels​

High risk
​Triathlon activities involving swimming in pools, track/path cycling, track running.
Extreme risk
T​​riathlon activities involving one or more of swimming locations other than a swimming pool, road cycling or road running.

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.

Prior consultation is required with local authority (e.g. SLSQ, local council) for local advice, emergency support mechanisms and additional supervision requirements to ensure participant and public safety.

Confirmation of student water safety and swimming competence is required prior to participation. The process is determined by the school and must consider the specific aquatic environments in which the activity will take place.  Consult the sequence of competency water safety and swimming education program for support in determining age-appropriate suitability.

Individual disciplines (e.g. cross-country, cycling (roa​​d, track, path), swimming in pools) with more stringent requirements must take precedence.

Competition rules and procedures with additional or more stringent safety requirements must take precedence. The Triathlon Australia event operations manual (EOM) and the Triathlon Australia race competition rules must be used to inform the staging of an event.

All risk levels​​​



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, swimming competence and specialised learning, access and/or health needs. Consider additional supervision recommendations from CARA guidelines for the individual disciplines (e.g. cross country, cycling (road, track, path), swimming in pools) as relevant.

Specific roles for supervisors must include recovery, emergency and general supervision roles. At no time, should students be relied upon to recover a person in difficulty.

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
  • be appropriately dressed to perform an immediate rescue at all times
  • closely monitor students with health support needs
  • ensure all students in the water are in sight of at least one adult supervisor at all times
  • directly control and supervise road and/or water crossings
  • comply with control measures from the CARA record and adapt as hazards arise
  • not allow free-swim/cycle activities
  • suspend the activity if the conditions become unfavourable (e.g. rips, sweeps, currents, undertows, visibility, debris, thunderstorms, extreme temperatures) or when environmental warnings have been issued (e.g. lifeguard warning).

Additionally, for competitions:

All adult supervisors to be within close proximity of first aid and water provisions.

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.

Consideration of additional supervisor qualification recommendations from CARA guidelines for the individual disciplines (e.g. cross country, cycling (road, track, path), swimming in pools) as relevant.

At least one adult supervisor is required to be:

For high risk activities:

  • a registered teacher with qualifications in HPE (or equivalent demonstrated capability) and with competence (knowledge and skills) in teaching triathlon, or
  • an adult supervisor, working under the direct supervision of a registered teacher, with current foundation coach accreditation from Triathlon Australia.

For extreme risk activities:

  • a registered teacher with current foundation coach accreditation from Triathlon Australia, or
  • an adult supervisor working under the direct supervision of a registered teacher, with current development coach accreditation from Triathlon 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.

Consideration of additional facility and equipment recommendations from CARA guidelines for the individual disciplines (e.g. cross country, cycling (road, track, path), swimming in pools) as relevant.

Appropriate routes for the individual disciplines that consider water, road and track hazards. Assess suitability of surrounds and reach of water when selecting a location for the swimming route. Consider local water conditions and foreseeable hazards, such as:

  • tidal flow and currents
  • use by other watercraft and traffic patterns
  • water temperature, depth and visibility
  • underwater hazards (e.g. rocks, reef) and dangerous marine organisms.

A pontoon, boat or float in close proximity to students where swimming occurs in open water.

Access to waterways, roads and tracks available for emergency vehicles.

Support vehicles/watercraft conforming with Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads regulations and driven by a licensed driver. Consult the CARA guidelines for power boating.

Readily identifiable first aid, water, food and shade stations.

Participants must wear personal protective equipment appropriate to the activity, the location and conditions (e.g. enclosed shoes, stinger suit, helmet, brightly coloured swim cap).

Compliance with the fact sheet for starting pistols and caps, if relevant. An electronic start pistol or safer alternative is recommended.

 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
Animal bites and stings

Adhere to the Surf Life Saving Queensland marine stinger safety guidelines. For further information about types of poisoning and treatment available, consult Queensland poisons information centre or phone 13 11 26.

Do not deliberately handle marine organisms. Avoid contact where possible.

Continually assess threat of dangerous marine organisms appropriate to location.

Participants to wear a stinger suit. Consult the Surf Life Saving Queensland marine stinger risk management guidelines.

Biological hazards
Blue green algae, body fluids (e.g. blood, saliva, sweat)

Check with the local authority (lifeguard service) for the presence of known water contaminants (e.g. effluent) or other marine hazards at the location.

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.

Environmental conditions
Weather, sun, cold

Assess weather (Bureau of Meteorology) and environmental conditions prior to participating outside.

Keep the pre-race briefings short to prevent students becoming cold.

Participants to wear a wetsuit. Follow temperature and time parameters determined by Triathlon Australia's Race Competition Rules.

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 (e.g. water stations).

Facilities and equipment hazards Control measures

Boundary clearance

Use brightly coloured buoys to define swim area.

Ensure spectators do not interfere with the activity.

Damaged or faulty equipment

If privately owned equipment is being used, obtain principal approval and owner consent/insurance details prior to the activity.

Check equipment (e.g. helmets, wetsuits) for damage and correct fit before and during the activity.

Slip/trip hazards

Remove or clearly identify hazards on the course.


Continually assess threat of vehicles (e.g. boats, cars) as appropriate to location.

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

Student considerations
Control measures

Manual handing
Lifting and carrying equipment

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 students for signs of distress (e.g. fatigue, hypothermia, exhaustion, illness, hunger, dehydration, difficulty breathing and hyperventilation).

Student issues
Student numbers, special needs, high risk behaviours, medical conditions, separation from the group

Clearly identify participants (e.g. race number on bibs) and ensure student's upper torso is covered for all disciplines.

Finish each race before the next group begins.

Implement procedures (e.g. roll marking mechanisms) to account for all participants when participating off-site.

Limit the number of students in the water when close supervision is required and/or when the water is tending to become crowded.


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Last updated 18 April 2023