The types of activities being performed outdoors and the environment in which they are conducted can present a range of hazards to a person’s health and wellbeing. Hazards associated with outdoor activities may include but are not limited to:
- Traffic and pedestrian management;
- ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure
- Adverse weather conditions (rain, wind, ice, temperature extremes etc);
- Natural disasters (storms, fire, floods etc);
- Animals and insects;
- Noxious plants;
- General environment (sharp objects, trip hazards, terrain etc);
- Participants with pre existing medical conditions;
- Injuries and accidents; and
- Uncontrolled environments (public places, strangers etc).
- Workplace bullying and occupational violence
Where/when would these issues be relevant
Hazards associated with outdoor activities could occur in the following situations:
- Scheduled breaks (i.e. lunchtime or recess);
- Outdoor lessons (e.g. PE, Science)
- During student supervision (e.g. during recess breaks)
- Excursions to other schools, workplaces or public areas;
- Camping trips;
- Outdoor sports and games;
- School fetes or other fundraiser's;
- Working bees and general maintenance;
- General play;
- Social outings;
- Work placements; and
- Visiting clients.
There may be employees at your workplace who are required to work outdoors for extended periods of time (e.g. maintenance workers and/or gardeners, PE teachers etc). These employees are not only exposed to extremes in weather conditions but also to UV radiation on a daily basis.
What do I need to do?
- Identify hazards associated with outdoor activities in your workplace (Refer to DEECD’s Risk Management Procedure);
- Consult with Health and Safety Representatives (HSR) and employees regarding these hazards;
- Develop internal policies or procedures as required (e.g. wet day timetables, SunSmart UV policy, extreme weather conditions procedure etc);
- Review traffic and pedestrian management plans;
- Identify any employees who are required to work outdoors for extended periods of time (e.g. maintenance workers, gardeners, PE teachers etc);
- Implement appropriate control measures to minimise the risks to those exposed to weather extremes and/or UV radiation for extended periods of time;
- Take note of weather reports and enhance control measures when weather warnings are issued;
- Check the SunSmart UV Alert to see forecast daily UV levels and the times sun protection is required;
- Provide information and training to employees who may be exposed to: Temperature extremes (hot or cold);
- UV (e.g. through Workers Education Program or online training)
- Animal or insect bites;
- Noxious plants; and
- Adverse weather (lightning, rain, wind etc).
- Ensure all employees are aware of the emergency plan including evacuation points and procedures that may be required:
- At the workplace;
- At other workplaces; and
- During a severe weather event.
- Ensure those with pre existing conditions are appropriately managing their health and relevant medication and equipment is available for the duration of the outdoor activity;
- Ensure engineering controls are in place (e.g. provision of natural or built shade); and
- Ensure appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is available to employees and students (e.g. broad brimmed hats, AS 1067 sunglasses, SPF 30+ sunscreen, mosquito nets etc).
Legislation, Guidance and Codes of Practice
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004
Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007
OHS Advisory Service on 1300 074 715
School Policy and Advisory Guide
DEECD Regional OHS/WorkSafe Advisors