7 – Leadership

 

[EXPLANATION of competencies: If you are wanting to know 1) how leaders skills and experience work or 2) the difference between what competencies a leader may require and recognising those competencies – then click here to check out this post.]

 

7.1 Conventions used

7.1.1 Level of supervision

A system to describe the different levels of supervision MUST be used. (See an example system below.)

Supervision used can be described by the “level of supervision”. This document uses the following three levels of supervision:

  • Level 1 – where a nominated person responsible for supervising others during all or part of the activity is able to physically intervene immediately. (Aligns with level 1 in AS 2316.2.2:2016 and direct supervision in the Core GPG).
  • Level 2 – where a nominated person responsible for supervising others during all or part of the activity is able to visually see the participant(s) and verbally intervene immediately. (Aligns with level 2 as per AS 2316.2.2:2016 and direct supervision in the Core GPG).
  • Level 3 – where a nominated person responsible for supervising others during all or part of the activity is in the vicinity and able to respond promptly to provide assistance when called upon. (Aligns with level 3 as per AS 2316.2.2:2016 and indirect supervision in the Core GPG).

7.1.2 Leader naming conventions

The activity leader naming convention enables this activity Good Practice Guide to be related to Core Good Practice Guide requirements.

The leadership naming conventions for challenge course activities are:

  • ‘’Manager” and “Supervisor” is equivalent to Leader in Core Good Practice Guide.
  • ‘’Instructor” is equivalent to Assistant leader in Core Good Practice Guide.
  • “Activity leader” is a collective noun referring to conductor(s), supervisor(s) and/or manager(s).

Instructor

Instructor (also known as a conductor): A person with the competence to supervise participants who are actively participating on challenge course element(s). An instructor MAY be a challenge course instructor: low elements and/or an instructor: high elements.

The competence of an instructor generally means that they:

  • require defined operating procedures to follow when supervising participants
  • require Level 3 supervision by a supervisor or manager so that assistance is readily available if a non-routine situation arises
  • guide participants but there is no intention of imparting activity skills or knowledge to participants beyond that which is necessary to enable their safe participation, although the conduct of the activity MAY achieve other education outcomes.

Supervisor

Supervisor: A person with the competence to independently supervise participants who are actively participating in challenge courses or elements. A supervisor MAY be a challenge course supervisor: low elements and/or a supervisor: high elements.

The competence of a supervisor generally means that they:

  • do not require supervision when supervising participants use of element(s)
  • can apply their skills and knowledge to a broad variety of challenge courses and elements
  • can provide Level 1, 2 or 3 supervision of instructor(s)
  • are be able to deal with non-routine situations
  • are able to teach the skills and knowledge required to conduct activities (i.e. able to train instructors).

Manager

Manager: A person with the competence to be a supervisor and to manage and maintain a challenge course. A manager MAY be a challenge course manager: low elements and/or a manager: high elements.

The competence of a manager generally means that they:

  • can undertake all necessary activities related to a challenge course including supervisor roles
  • can provide Level 1, 2 or 3 supervision to instructors and supervisors
  • undertake or manage the maintenance of the course or elements.

 

 

7.2 Competencies

This section outlines the competencies that activity leaders should have.

7.2.1 Competencies overview

The Australian Adventure Activity Standard and Good Practice Guides refers to units from the Sport, Fitness and Recreation Training Package for descriptive statements of the knowledge and skills required of activity leaders.

The Training Package units are used for the sole purpose of providing descriptions for the knowledge and skills required. It is not intended to imply or require that specific formal training, assessment or qualification is the only means of gaining or recognising knowledge and skills.

Providers can recognise activity leaders as having the ‘ability to apply knowledge and skills to achieve expected results’ (i.e. competencies) in a number of different ways as detailed in ‘Core Good Practice Guide’ Recognition of competence.

The Training Package units listed can be found by searching for the units on the training.gov.au/Home/Tga website. The code provided with the unit name assists in this search.

7.2.2 Challenge course competencies

Also refer to competencies section in ‘Core Good Practice Guide’.

The following table outlines the recommended competencies activity leaders should have when leading challenge courses.

Activity type Instructor

Units describing skills and knowledge

Code (or equivalent) Supervisor Units describing skills and knowledge Code (or equivalent) Manager

Units describing skills and knowledge

Code (or equivalent)
Common challenge course units          
  Operate communications systems and equipment PUAOP013A Operate communications systems and equipment PUAOP013A Operate communications systems and equipment PUAOP013A
      Plan for minimal environmental impact SISOOPS304A Plan for minimal environmental impact SISOOPS304A
Low elements/ Adventure games          
  All units listed in Part I – Core Standard, all common challenge course units plus   All units listed in Part I – Core Standard, all common challenge course units plus   All units listed in Part I – Core Standard, all common challenge course units plus  
  Conduct a low ropes session SISOCRP301A Conduct a low ropes session SISOCRP301A Conduct a low ropes session SISOCRP301A
      Supervise a low ropes session SISOCRP403A Supervise a low ropes session SISOCRP403A
          Manage a low ropes course SISOCRP505A
      Manage risk in an outdoor activity SISOODR404A Manage risk in an outdoor activity SISOODR404A
      Coordinate emergency responses SISXEMR402A Coordinate emergency responses SISXEMR402A
High elements          
  All units listed in Part I – Core Standard, all common challenge course units plus   All units listed in Part I – Core Standard, all common challenge course units plus   All units listed in Part I – Core Standard, all common challenge course units plus  
  Conduct a high ropes session [Note: has limited rescue skills] SISOCRP302A Conduct a high ropes session SISOCRP302A Conduct a high ropes session [Note: advanced rescue skills] SISOCRP302A
      Supervise a high ropes session

[Note: has advanced rescue skills]

SISOCRP404A Supervise a high ropes session SISOCRP404A
      Manage risk in an outdoor activity SISOODR404A Manage risk in an outdoor activity SISOODR404A
      Coordinate emergency responses SISXEMR402A Coordinate emergency responses SISXEMR402A
      Implement and monitor occupational health and safety policies SISXOHS402A Implement and monitor occupational health and safety policies SISXOHS402A
          Manage a high ropes course SISOCRP506A
Facilitation skills          
  Assist in the facilitation of adventure-based learning activities SISOABL301A Assist in the facilitation of adventure-based learning activities SISOABL301A Assist in the facilitation of adventure-based learning activities SISOABL301A
      Facilitate adventure-based learning activities SISOABL402A Facilitate adventure-based learning activities SISOABL402A

Note: Refer to Abseiling and Climbing GPG for:

  • Bouldering on natural or artificial surfaces
  • Abseiling and climbing elements on natural or artificial

 

7.3 Recognition of competence pathways

Refer to considerations for recognition pathways outlined in ‘Core Good Practice Guide’ – Competencies.

 

7.4 Supervision requirements

7.4.1 Supervision plan

Supervision requirements MUST be documented in a challenge course supervision plan.

Activity supervision MUST be implemented according to the challenge course supervision plan.

A challenge course supervision plan MUST include:

  • A course diagram for visual reference
  • A summary of the risks identified in the risk assessment
  • Supervision requirements for the challenge course
  • Specific locations to operate supervision from
  • Obstructions (g. trees, structures, etc.) and/or conditions (e.g. sun location, mist, etc.) that may impact supervision visibility and procedures to overcome these
  • Relevant manufactures specifications or requirements
  • Activity leader roles and responsibilities
  • Activity leader competencies including any special competencies for each element
  • Activity leader pre-deployment confirmation of competence, training or orientation required
  • Communications plan
  • Emergency response plan.

Also refer Appendix 7 – Challenge course supervision plan.

7.4.2 Group size considerations

Considerations when determining group size MUST include:

  • site capacity
  • site related legislation or regulation
  • the time allowed to enable all participants in the group to complete the activity is sufficient and realistic and does not compromise safety
  • having appropriate supervision for participants non-actively participating
  • considerations for determining group size outlined in Core Good Practice Guide.

7.4.3 Supervision ratios considerations

Considerations in determining challenge course supervision requirements should include but are not limited to:

  • the nature and design of the elements
  • requirements for the belay system(s) and transfer between belay system(s)
  • time for the activity leaders to allow all participants to undertake the activity being sufficient and realistic and does not compromise safety
  • the ability to see and/or hear active participants
  • the number of active participants enables activity leaders to adequately monitor, detect and correct improper procedures
  • having appropriate supervision for participants non-actively participating
  • the potential for activity leader fatigue
  • emergency event and/or rescue requirements
  • considerations for determining supervision requirements in Core Good Practice Guide.

An appropriately competent person MUST establish supervision requirements and standard operating procedures for element(s) and/or the challenge course.

7.4.4 Participants that are non-actively participating

Consideration MUST be given to the type of supervision participants required when non-actively participating (i.e. who are waiting to undertake the activity).

In cases where participants who are non-actively participating require Level 1 or 2 supervision, that supervision MUST be provided by an activity leader not providing Level 1 or 2 supervision of an activity or by a responsible person as appropriate.

7.4.5 Assessment of participants use of safety systems

Each participant MUST be assessed to confirm they have sufficient reach to use and operate the safety systems while retaining an appropriate footing. (For example, there may be a minimum height requirement to reach or connect belay systems.)

An assessment MUST be completed to confirm each participant is competent to carry out the relevant safety instructions and safety system operation.

The assessment to confirm each participant is competent to carry out the relevant safety instructions and safety system operation MUST be completed without exposure to risks, serious injury or death. (For example, use of test system or element.)

Where the participant has been assessed as competent to carry out the relevant safety instructions and safety system operation, ongoing supervision MUST monitor and check the participants actual use of the safety system for at least 5 times before adjusting the level of supervision. (For example, a self-belay interlocking system being used is supervised to ensure the first 5 actual uses after confirming competence using the text system or course.)

7.4.6 Overall supervision

When high elements are in use there MUST be at least one activity leader available with supervisor or manager competencies.

All people at height irrespective of the level competence MUST be appropriately supervised and/or monitored.

Supervision for collective belay systems MUST be determined by risk assessment and supervision plan.

The maximum number of separate elements one activity leader can supervise MUST be determined by risk assessment and supervision plan.

When high elements are in use there SHOULD be a minimum of two activity leaders available.

7.4.7 Connectors & connection

Self-closing connectors that are non-locking MUST not be used.

All locking connectors that are not tool locked or auto-locking (e.g. screwgate carabiners) MUST be appropriately supervised throughout the activity to ensure they remain locked.

The first/initial connection of climbers and belayers to the safety system MUST be supervised or checked before being relied upon. (Refer Leadership – Assessment of participants use of safety systems above.)

7.4.8 Supervision for different situations

To be used in conjunction with Leadership – Supervision requirements sections above.

The recommended level of supervision, minimum recommended usage checks and suggested supervision ratios that SHOULD be used are in the following table.

(See table next page)

 

Supervision for different situations table

Safety system Assessment Checking use after assessment (Refer note 1 and 3) Rest of the system

(Refer note 1 and 3)

Suggested ratio

(Refer to note 1 and 2)

Low elements or adventure games Level 1 Level 1 or 2

as appropriate

Level 2 thereafter when spotting required 1:18 active participants with a maximum of 8 climbers
Level 3 (see note 7) thereafter when no spotting required 1:24 active participants
Assisted or team belay

(Note 5)

Level 1 Level 1

check each use

Level 1

check each use

1-4 belay systems

(Note 4)

Auto belay Level 1 Level 2 with a minimum of 3 uses checked Level 2 thereafter 1:12 climbers
Self-belay Level 1 Level 2 with a minimum of 5 uses checked Level 2 thereafter if connectors are:

·         auto-locking or

·         triple action auto-locking

1:12 climbers
Level 3 (see note 6) thereafter if connectors are:

·         tool locked,

·         interlocking device or

·         interlocking device – tool activated

1:15 climbers
Continuous self-belay Level 1 Level 2 with a minimum of 3 uses checked Level 3 (see note 6) thereafter if connectors are:

·         tool locked,

·         interlocking device or

·         interlocking device – tool activated

1:18 climbers

Notes:

  1. Use course designers or course builders recommendations for the site and/or elements when available. Site specific recommendations MUST be used in preference to generic suggestions that lack an understanding of the specific site or element involved.
  2. When site specific course designers or course builders ratio recommendations are not available, the suggested ratios in the table need to be revised for the specific site or elements by considering:
    • Leadership – Overall supervision section requirements and recommendations above and
    • Leadership – Group size considerations section above and
    • Leadership – Supervision ratio considerations section above.
  3. When site specific course designers or course builders’ levels of supervision and assessment checking recommendations are not available, the suggested assessment checking recommendations in the table need to be revised for the specific site or elements.
  4. An important consideration in determining the supervision ratio include but is not limited to the proximity of the belay stations.
  5. Includes all other types of safety systems not specified elsewhere (g. haul systems, “donkey belays’, “glider possum” etc.)
  6. Use of Level 3 supervision on high elements MUST only be used where the course has a suitable design and equipment and appropriate procedures for participant induction, assessment and progress monitoring.
  7. Use of Level 3 supervision for low elements or adventure games when no spotting required MUST only be used where the course or adventure game is of appropriate design for the participants.
  8. Refer glossary for definitions for levels 1, 2 or 3.

 

7.6 Activity management

7.6.1 Knowledge of site

Activity leaders MUST have an induction to the activity site that includes supervision requirements in the supervision plan and any relevant specific activity site procedures.

The knowledge of the activity site that activity leaders require before leading participants at that site, SHOULD be considered when allocating activity leader roles.

7.6.2 Activity leader positioning

Procedures SHOULD enable activity leaders to respond to emergencies and complete rescues in an appropriate time frame.

7.6.3 Participants belaying and spotting

Considerations for when participants operate belay systems must include:

  • participants are willing and capable
  • appropriate training is provided
  • the need for ongoing monitoring to ensure:
    • correct technique is used
    • attention to the task is maintained
    • equipment is used correctly
  • backup systems to support the belayer (e.g. using a backup belayer)
  • the relative weights between the belayer and climber, where the belayer’s weight is integral to the correct function of the belay and the belayer is not anchored.

Considerations for when participants are spotting should include but are not limited to:

  • participants are willing and capable
  • appropriate training is provided
  • the need for ongoing monitoring to ensure:
    • correct technique is used
    • attention to the task is maintained.

7.6.4 Activity information for participants

The information required MUST be determine prior to the activity.

Required information MUST be provided at the appropriate time before or during the activity.

Activity information that SHOULD be provided to low element or adventure game participants includes but is not limited to:

  • appropriate personal clothing requirements
  • relevant hazards and risks
  • any expectations required of the participant
  • specific areas they need to know about (g. waiting areas, belay areas, where safety equipment is to be worn, areas not to be entered)
  • how to access the elements
  • communications and systems used to manage the flow and safety of the activity
  • the correct fitting of and care of any personal safety equipment
  • appropriate technique(s) for the activity
  • method for “falling off” and “recovering”
  • correct method of spotting.

Activity information that SHOULD be provided to high element participants includes but is not limited to:

  • information provided for low element or adventure game participants above
  • element specific hazards or risks
  • the correct use of the belay systems and/or any other fall protection systems
  • appropriate technique(s) for the activity
  • the release procedures for belay system or other system
  • procedures for exiting or being lowered back down.

Where there is only has one activity leader, the group MUST be briefed on what action to take to enact the emergency management plan if the activity leader becomes injured or incapacitated.

7.6.5 Activity Communications

A clear & unambiguous communication system MUST be used to manage the activity.

For example:

  • system or safety operation such as confirming “on belay” or “off belay”
  • safety communication from leader to participant, leader to leader or leader to supervisor
  • safety communication participant to participant
  • emergency situations.

7.6.6 Falls from height

Considerations for the likelihood of a fall from height should include but are not limited to:

  • the stability and grip of the surface being stood on
  • obstacles that need to be negotiated
  • abilities of participants including the ability to follow instructions.

To protect from a fall from height, procedures MUST include checking participant(s):

  • equipment is correctly fitted before they need to rely on the belay system
  • correct attachment to the belay system, safety or other systems.

Checking equipment and attachment MUST not be delegated to the participants themselves, unless they have demonstrated competence in the procedure(s) and then only for checking their own equipment or attachment.

To reduce the potential for falls from height, procedures MUST include:

  • ensuring ropes are of a sufficient length for the element
  • remove unnecessary slack in belay system before use
  • monitoring the correct use of belay systems
  • monitor attaching to anchors or belay systems
  • monitor belay rope(s) to keep them at the appropriate length
  • monitor belay systems to remove unnecessary slack in belay ropes
  • providing appropriate instruction to mitigate risks caused by the stretch in dynamic rope.

To reduce the potential for falls from height, procedures SHOULD include:

  • designating what areas that are not to be entered
  • designating waiting areas
  • designating areas that can only be accessed when attached to the belay system
  • checking participant’s equipment is correctly fitted before they need to rely on the belay system
  • checking correct attachment to the belay system, safety or other systems
  • anchoring the belayer where the belay system relies substantially on the belayers weight to arrest a fall and the weight of the abseiler or climber is greater than that of the

Consideration MUST be given to the need for separately spotting climbers when starting their ascent, until such time the climber reaches a fall height where the belay system will full operate to stop their fall before they touch the fall zone.

 

7.6.8 Fall safety systems

7.6.8.1 Belay and activity systems

Procedures to ensure that all “activity leader supervised” systems function as intended MUST include:

  • anchor systems and equipment are suitable for the activity, site and participants
  • appropriate knots and connections are used
  • regular inspection of all anchors and connections where practicable
  • operating procedures and checks used will prevent unplanned disconnection of any part of the system
  • checking attachment and disconnection to the system during the activity.

Appropriate assessment should consider and address the possible differences between participant and activity leader usage of systems.

Where a belay system relies on a lanyard, throughout the climb the climbers harness attachment point SHOULD not be higher than the safety point that the lanyard is attached to. (This means the fall factor on a lanyard SHOULD not exceed 1.0 – refer Appendix 4 – Fall factors.)

7.6.8.2 Assisted belay

Where participants are belaying, they MUST be instructed and appropriately supervised.

Where a belay system requires a belayer, either the belayer MUST be:

  • verified as a competent belayer or
  • under Level 1 or 2 supervision of an activity leader.

7.6.8.3 Self belays

Two lanyard safety systems

Procedures MUST be in place to minimise the likelihood of placing a head/neck between the two lanyards when using a two-lanyard safety system. (For example, informing of procedures to reduce risk, lanyards are kept in front while using, lanyards are held together while progressing.)

Auto belays and continuous self-belays

Procedures to ensure that all auto belay and interlocking continuous self-belay systems function as intended MUST include:

  • anchor systems and equipment are suitable for the activity, site and participants
  • appropriate knots and connections are used
  • operating procedures and checks used will prevent unplanned disconnection of any part of the system
  • appropriate training of participants in use of the “automated systems”
  • confirming competence of participants in using the “automated systems” prior to them undertaking the activity without Level 1 or 2 supervision
  • ongoing level 3 supervision of the activity.

 

 

7.6.8.4 Collective belays

Barriers

A risk assessment and supervision plan MUST consider if monitoring is required to ensure fixed barriers are not disregard.

Soft-fall

A risk assessment and supervision plan MUST be used to determine the supervision required when falls from height are solely protected by soft-fall.

Deep water

Supervision of “pools” used to protect from falls of height MUST conform with any required ‘pool safety’ legislative or regulatory requirements of the relevant jurisdiction(s) the activity operates in.

Supervision arrangements MUST include:

  • appropriate rescue requirements
  • appropriate training of activity leaders responsible for water rescue
  • Level 1 or 2 supervision visual supervision at all times in the event a person becomes unconscious while in the water.

Netting

A risk assessment and supervision plan MUST be used to determine the supervision required when falls from height are protected by netting.

7.6.8.5 Spotting belays – low elements and adventure games

Where participants are spotting they MUST be instructed and appropriately supervised.

Where a safety system requires a spotter, either the spotter MUST be:

  • a competent spotter or
  • under Level 1 or 2 supervision of an activity leader.

The number of spotters required and their location in relation to the climber MUST be determined prior to the activity for each element or adventure game.

Considerations in determining the number of spotters and their location should include but are not limited to:

  • the nature and design of the element or adventure game
  • the likelihood of falling and possible directions of the fall
  • whether the element has ‘holds’ on vertical, inclined and/or overhanging surfaces
  • the body orientations that the element or ‘holds’ permit, or the adventure game requires
  • obstacles in the fall zone
  • the use of padding to protect from hazards in the fall zone and/or hard landings
  • the number of active participants enables activity leaders to monitor, detect and correct improper procedures.

7.6.8.6 Flying foxes

A full body harness or combination chest and sit harness MUST be considered when using a flying fox, to mitigate the risk of falling out of a sit harness when inverted.

7.6.8.7 Giant swings

A full body harness or combination chest and sit harness MUST be considered when using a giant swing, to mitigate the risk of falling out of a sit harness when inverted.

7.6.8.8 Rescue systems

Rescue systems MUST allow for a timely and effective rescue.

Considerations for rescue systems should include but is not limited to:

  • load direction including multi-direction loads
  • load magnitude
  • ability to raise the person
  • ability to lower the person
  • ability to enable an activity leader to complete contact rescues.

7.6.8.9 Harness hang syndrome

Harness hang syndrome is medical complications due to being “suspended within a body harness for a prolonged period of time (5 to 30 minutes)” (reference: Australian Resuscitation Council – Guideline 9.1.5 – July 2009). Harness hang syndrome can lead to blood pooling, “shock”, unconsciousness and/or death. It is also known as ‘suspension trauma’ or ‘suspension syndrome’.

Emergency management plans MUST include:

  • rescue of unconscious persons suspended in a harness
  • guidance on trigger points for considering the possibility of ‘harness hang syndrome’ occurring
  • appropriate actions to follow where ‘harness hang syndrome’ is suspected, including but not limited to the relevant first aid treatment.

7.6.9 Falling objects

Procedures to minimise the possibility or impact of falling objects MUST include:

  • checking the site prior to use
  • ensuring helmets are worn where relevant as per the equipment section
  • designating waiting areas that reduce the expose to falling objects
  • briefing participants on potential hazards and how to avoid dislodging objects
  • briefing participants on the appropriate action and warnings to give if an object does fall
  • managing groups so that the groups and individual’s exposure within potential falling object areas is minimised
  • minimising movement between areas that are located below others
  • supervision of participants while they are located above others.

Procedures to minimise the possibility or impact of falling objects SHOULD include but are not limited to:

  • placing belay areas where ever possible so that they are not directly under the climber
  • managing spectators and/or other people moving through the area.

7.6.10 Entanglement and snags

To avoid entanglement in ropes and devices:

  • long hair MUST be secured to stop it being able to be entangled
  • loose jewellery (g. bracelets and necklaces) and watches SHOULD be removed or secured
  • loose clothing SHOULD be secured
  • clothing and hat drawstrings SHOULD be secured.

To avoid being caught or snagged, where there is such a risk:

  • rings SHOULD be removed or tapped over
  • body piercings SHOULD be removed or taped over
  • loose jewellery (g. bracelets and necklaces) and watches SHOULD be removed or secured.

The activity leaders SHOULD monitor belay rope(s) to keep them at the appropriate length and tension, to prevent the possibility of a slack rope becoming entangled or snagged.

7.6.11 Activity leader fatigue and repetition

Considerations for activity leader fatigue SHOULD include but is not limited to:

  • time required to complete tasks
  • task repetition
  • weather (e.g. hot temperatures etc.).

Considerations in managing activity leader fatigue and task repetition risks SHOULD include but are not limited to:

  • group sizes and the number of groups
  • role rotation
  • suitable breaks.

7.6.12 Spectators

Any spectators SHOULD be directed to an appropriate waiting area to view the activity.

 

 

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