MNZ gears up to work with the new adventure activities regulations

Safe Seas Clean Seas Issue 40, June 2012

MNZ, along with other agencies and industry bodies, is busy implementing the Government’s decisions from the 2009/10 review of safety in adventure and outdoor commercial activities.

There is one legislative measure in the package. Regulations for high-risk activities made under the Health and Safety in Employment (HSE) Act require operators to obtain and pass a safety audit and be registered with the Department of Labour (DoL). Having come into force on 1 November 2011, the regulations will be fully in play by the end of October 2014.

Another key initiative is the development of resources to support operators’ safety management. DoL has funded the Tourism Industry Association to undertake this work, which involves developing generic and activity specific safety guidelines, and a dedicated website where operators can work with others in the outdoor sector to promote safety and share good safety practice.

DoL has also commissioned Outdoors New Zealand to look further into two areas identified by the review as requiring further work: the role of qualifications for instructors and guides, and an assessment of the value and feasibility of developing a national database of accidents and incidents in the outdoors commercial sector.

It is important that New Zealand is a destination where participants can be confident that safety in adventure activities is properly managed, and that perception of New Zealand’s adventure tourism reflects that. Funding has been made available for an experienced outdoors practitioner to represent New Zealand at an International Organization for Standardization working group, which is developing an ISO standard for safety management systems for adventure tourism.

MNZ is focused on preparing for the regulations’ implementation on water-based activities. This includes commercial river boarding and some kayaking and canoeing activities. MNZ already has safety guidelines in both areas. Whether these will become audit standards or activity specific guidelines is one of the issues to be resolved.

While rafting is covered by maritime rules and is outside the application of the regulations, MNZ is mindful that some operators provide a range of activities, and that there may be some efficiencies in having audits under the HSE Act and Maritime Transport Act carried out by a suitably qualified outdoors auditor at the one time.

The high level of industry engagement in the initiatives bodes well for the future, and builds on the broad-based involvement of the sector in the review.

Further information about the regulations and other safety initiatives, including opportunities to get involved in consultation on draft safety guidelines, is available through the Support Adventure website.

Support Adventure

Who’s included?

The regulations apply to a range of land and waterbased activities that meet the following criteria:

  • payment is made
  • there is instruction or guidance
  • the purpose is recreation or education
  • there is deliberate exposure to risk of harm on dangerous waters or dangerous terrain
  • failure of safety management is likely to result in serious harm.

The regulations provide an indicative list of activities within scope, subject to their meeting the criteria.

There are also a number of specific exclusions (such as for clubs and schools) and activities for which a maritime document is required under the Maritime Transport Act 1994.

In scope Out of scope
Canoeing Businesses hiring equipment where the instruction given relates only to the supply of equipment
Kayaking Commercial rafting and jet boating
River boarding Activities offered by sport clubs to members
Activities offered by schools to pupils

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