Equipment, whether hired, borrowed or owned by the school or students, must be in a safe condition and suitable for the activity
First aid kits
First aid kits appropriate to the location and level of training must be carried.
Clothing is the individual’s primary protection against severe and variable weather conditions.
Clothing lists need to be appropriate for the activity, environment and season. Items which are recommended not to be taken or worn (such as jewellery or rings) should be identified.
Glasses or sunglasses should be secured and long hair tied back to avoid being caught in belay devices or other equipment. Loose jewellery must not be worn and rings should be taped if not removed. Items of jewellery or rings which students remove should be placed in a secure location so they do not get lost.
All objects should be removed from pockets before participating. Gloves may be appropriate on elements involving a dynamic belay.
To protect against
sun exposure) use broad-spectrum, water-resistant SPF 30+ sunscreen on all exposed parts of the body, applied according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Students who own sunglasses should be encouraged to bring and wear them when required.
Staff and students must be easily identifiable.
Staff must determine the most suitable identification system based on an assessment of the environment, students’ skills, the type of activities to be undertaken, and the age and number of students.
Course construction and security
The construction of challenge ropes courses is an expert field and should be undertaken by qualified individuals and/or organisations specialising in the planning and construction of ropes courses.
Contractors must provide written confirmation that the materials, equipment and installation meet current industry requirements.
Staff must ensure that challenge ropes course elements are not accessible when unsupervised.
The owner of the course must carry out regular formal maintenance inspections which are fully documented and endorsed by an independent industry expert. Operators must be able to provide written evidence that a maintenance check has been conducted. Before each activity, the instructor should carry out a visual inspection of the course to ensure there are no obvious impediments to normal operation.
An accurate written record of all challenge ropes course safety equipment must be maintained and accessible on request.
Belaying devices must meet Union Internationale des Associations d’Alpinisme (UIAA) standards, Comité Européen de Normalisation (CEN) standards or the Australian equivalent. Devices must be in good working order.
WorkSafe provides guidance on the use of Fall Prevention Systems and specifically cite AS 3533, Amusement Rides and Devices, and AS 1891, Industrial Fall Arrest Systems and Devices. Providers of artificial climbing and abseiling activities must refer to manufacturers and installers to establish appropriate operating parameters. These parameters must address the correct fitting and attachment of harnesses. The harness must also ensure the student or staff member will remain secure in the event of an inversion. Harnesses must be regularly checked and replaced, if necessary, with a recommended maximum life span of five years. See:
On low elements, participants are protected by spotters, but there may be occasions where a combination of the teacher’s knowledge of the group and the elements being used suggest that helmets should be worn.
Where helmets are provided for use by the site operator for a low ropes challenge ropes course, they should be worn by participants.
Helmets which meet UIAA standards or equivalent CEN standards must be worn by all students and staff using high elements and by those belaying or observing from below. Caps must not be worn under helmets.
Ropes used on a challenge rope course must be used in accordance with manufacturer recommendations and meet design standard EN 892 Mountaineering equipment - Dynamic mountaineering ropes, or similar.
Before the activity commences, an experienced staff member needs to inspect the ropes.
The ropes' history and maintenance needs to be logged and the ropes must be stored in a cool, dry place free from ultraviolet light, chemical or physical hazards.
Participants must wear covered and firmly fitting shoes with a non-slip sole
Rescue equipment specific to the ropes course must be accessible at all times.