Environment

Also refer to Part I – Core Standard

Environment related planning

Abseil & Climb environment considerations

Natural surfaces

Any approved installation of permanent artificial anchors in natural surfaces shall be undertaken by appropriately competent person.

Any approved modification or removal of natural surfaces shall be undertaken by appropriately competent person.

Site safety considerations for natural surfaces include but ares not limited to:

  • stability of the cliff face
  • stability of features (g. loose rocks)
  • availability of natural features to use for anchors
  • safety requirements for access and egress including the likelihood of a fall from height before and after participation
  • ability to retrieve ropes without dislodging or causing rockfalls.

 

Artificial surfaces

Permanent artificial surfaces constructed specifically for use in activities shall comply with relevant construction standards which may include but are not limited to:

  • AS 2316.1—2009 Artificial climbing structures and challenge courses Part 1: Fixed and mobile artificial climbing and abseiling walls
  • AS 3533.1-2009: Design and construction
  • AS 3533.1-2009/Amdt 1-2011: Design and construction
  • AS 3533.2-2009: Operation and maintenance
  • AS 3533.2-2009/Amdt 1-2011: Operation and maintenance
  • AS 3533.3-2003: In-service inspections
  • EN 795: Personal fall protection equipment – anchor devices
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards

Temporary artificial surfaces should comply with either permanent artificial surfaces relevant requirements or be assessed by a competent person that it is fit for purpose for the activity.

Compliance with the AS 2316.1-2009 Australian Standard may include but is not limited to inspection, testing and maintenance requirements.

 

Abseil & Climb – severe weather

The following table details the:

  • current Australian weather warnings
  • associated weather for each warning
  • mainland warning trigger points for issuing warnings for strong winds and hail.

Bureau of Meteorology weather warnings and associated weather Table:

Severe Weather warning Thunderstorm warning Coastal Waters Wind Warning Tropical Cyclone Advice: Watch or warning
High tides      
Large surf      
Heavy rain/flash flooding Heavy rain/flash flooding    
Blizzards Blizzards    
Strong winds

Wind >63 km/h

Gusts >90 km/h

Strong winds

Gusts >90 km/h

Strong winds

Wind >48 km/h or >26 knots

Strong winds

Wind >62 km/h or >=34 knots

  Tornadoes    
  Hail

Hail >=2cm

   
  Lightning    

 

 

Abseil & Climb severe weather triggers

Trigger points shall be based on the Bureau of Meteorology weather warnings and actual weather conditions.

The risk management plan and emergency management plan should include guidance on trigger points and associated actions for:

  • severe weather warnings
  • thunderstorm warnings
  • coastal waters wind warnings
  • tropical cyclone advice: watch and warning
  • extreme cold temperature
  • extreme hot temperatures.

 

Actions for severe weather warnings may include but are not limited to:

  • avoid locations effected by tides or surf
  • avoiding areas that have the potential for flash flooding
  • preparations to avoid the risks associated with blizzards
  • moving to areas that are protected from strong winds
  • managing risks of flying or falling items during strong winds.

 

Actions for thunderstorm warnings may include but are not limited to:

  • avoiding areas that have the potential for flash flooding
  • preparations to avoid the risks associated with blizzards
  • moving to areas that are protected from strong winds
  • managing risks of flying or falling items during strong winds
  • moving to areas that are protected from hail
  • preparations to avoid the risks associated with lightning.

 

Actions for coast waters wind warnings may include but are not limited to:

  • moving to areas that are protected from strong winds
  • managing risks of flying or falling items during strong winds.

 

Actions for tropical cyclone warnings may include but are not limited to:

  • evacuating to a safe location
  • avoid locations effected by tides or surf
  • moving to areas that are protected from strong winds
  • managing risks of flying or falling items during strong winds
  • avoiding areas that have the potential for flash flooding.

 

Bushfire, prescribed fire and fire danger

Refer Core Standard section – Bush fire, prescribed fire and fire danger.

Water crossings and flooding

Abseil & Climb water and river crossings

During severe weather or thunderstorms or when they are forecast, areas likely to experience flash flooding should be avoided.

 

Wildlife safety

Abseil & Climb wildlife safety

Procedures should be in place to minimise the risks associated with wildlife that may be encountered.

The types of wildlife encounters that may need to be considered include but are not limited to:

  • bees
  • wasps
  • snakes
  • spiders
  • hazardous plants g. stinging nettle

Considerations in reducing the above wildlife encounters may include but are not limited to:

  • briefing participants in how to respond to encounters
  • conducting a site assessment before use
  • using alternative locations if necessary.

 

Environmental sustainability procedures

Environmental sustainability procedures may include but are not limited to:

  • use of geological features or artificial anchors where installed in preference to living trees as anchors
  • minimising the use of living trees used as anchors
  • use of ‘tree protectors’ and/or wide tape slings when using living trees as anchors
  • locate activity area and waiting areas to reduce repeated soil and root compaction around trees
  • the use of temporary edge protection
  • the installation of permanent artificial anchors or equipment only being carried out with the permission of the Land Owner or Land Manager
  • avoiding the modification of any natural surfaces or removal of natural features
  • avoiding the removal of selected rock surface vegetation
  • the modification of natural surfaces or removal of natural features only being carried out with the permission of the Land Owner or Land Manager
  • the use of existing site access tracks wherever possible
  • avoid using the edge of access tracks
  • choosing sites wherever possible that have a rocky base and top that can better tolerate groups
  • choosing sites that are appropriate for the group size
  • actively managing groups to minimise impact
  • choosing shaded waiting areas so shade is not sought in inappropriate areas
  • avoiding blocking access to other users with equipment or belayers
  • negotiating with other users regarding shared use of a site
  • use removable protection in a manner that avoids damage to and protects natural surfaces
  • using chalk sparingly, only when necessary and where customary and/or allowed.

Also refer Core Standard – Environmental sustainability procedures.

 

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