New Zealand has a global reputation as an adventure tourism destination. A 2013 Tourism NZ study found that 1 in 2 international holiday visitors did some kind of adventure tourism activity during their stay. It’s an important industry so we must do everything we can to keep ourselves and our visitors safe.
Our New Zealand health and safety workplace legislation aims to enhance professionalism in the adventure sector in this country and ensure consistent good practice. It sets out the process for becoming registered as an adventure activity operator and makes it an offence for unregistered operators to offer adventure activities to participants.
To become registered operators are required to complete a number of steps. These include clearly detailing their safety management system and operating procedures. This information is then subject to an audit.
Activity Safety Guidelines (ASGs) have been developed to provide practical guidance for commercial operators, to help with meeting their legal requirements. They are voluntary guidelines that came about after the 2009 government review into the safety of New Zealand’s adventure tourism and outdoor commercial sector and reflect industry good practice.
Unusually, the regulation of adventure activities falls under the jurisdiction of three different government agencies. The Civil Aviation Authority is responsible for safety in aviation adventure activities, Maritime New Zealand for water-based activities such as jet boating or rafting, and WorkSafe NZ for all others. The agencies coordinate approaches to ensure their consistency.
Most New Zealand adventure operators recognise it is in everyone’s interest to share safety knowledge and help each other maintain the highest safety standards. They know that a safe workplace culture, safe systems and safe equipment keeps everyone happy – which is also good for business.
If you are in the adventure industry and want to ensure maximum health and safety for staff and customers in the workplace, be sure to consider doing a health and safety training course through WorkSafe Reps.