Toolkit: Adventure Activities

Introduction to the Adventure Activities Toolkit  

This introduction provides a guide to using the material concerning Adventure Activities. This material consists of Generic Risk Assessments, Specific Risk Assessments and Visit Plans.

The toolkit identifies who needs to carry out these tasks.  It also sets out how the generic and specific Risk Assessments and the Visit Plan relate to each other.

Authority of this advice

This advice has been prepared jointly by adventure activity experts with support from the HSE. The model that is recommended in this advice has been developed with the aims of being clear, simple and flexible. It is designed to make sure that staff can easily identify any significant risks in the Risk Assessment (RA) and record how these risks will be minimised. All other advice and considerations are placed in the Visit Plan (VP) and supporting documents.

We recognise that it is possible to provide the required information in different ways. The key principle is that significant risks are clearly recorded and control measures identified and implemented and that there is system for recording other details.

Role of the LA/ Employer

The LA/Employer must ensure that adequate Risk Assessments are available for their staff to carry out any hazardous activity that may be part of their job. Adventure Activities necessarily include risks that can be significant and Risk Assessments must therefore be available for staff to use so that these valuable opportunities for young people can go ahead.

We have provided generic RA’s for the LA / employer and we strongly recommend that they base their advice on our models.

Role of the Visit Leader

The Visit Leader should ensure that the employer’s system for managing and approving visits is followed.  They are responsible for preparing the Visit Plan which includes checking that the provider has done their Risk Assessment and implements it.

Role of the Adventure Activity provider

The activity provider is responsible for preparing their own Risk Assessments and ways of working to deliver safe activities.  They need to co-operate with the visit leader to help them prepare the visit plan.

If the Visit Leader is also the provider then they need to carry out both roles.

Type of Visit

An adventure activity can be the main element, or a subsidiary part, of any type of visit – Day, Residential or Overseas Visit. The material that is collected or prepared by the Visit Leader should explain which type of visit is taking place.

Delivery of Adventure Activities

For the purposes of this document, Adventure Activities can be delivered by three main operators:

  • An outside supplier:  a provider that is external to the LA or the group who are planning the visit
  • Staff from the establishment who are planning the visit:   e.g. a teacher from a school runs a canoe club or a youth worker takes club members skiing
  • Specialist staff from the LA: this could be through the LA Outdoor Centre or LA outdoor specialist staff who travel around the LA area delivering Adventure Activities


The flowchart in attachment T25 (see below) shows who is responsible for preparing the required paperwork.

Types of Risk Assessment

Generic – the generic assessments are outline assessments that cover the significant risks for the activity wherever it takes place.  They can be used as a starting point and be adapted for any Adventure Activity.

Specific assessment – you need to assess where, and how, you are doing the activity.  You need to record any significant risks and identify what you are going to do to control them.  If the generic assessment covers these adequately then you may not need a specific assessment.  However, you will almost certainly need to record information in the Visit Plan.

Format of our recommended RA

The format of our RA has been prepared by visit and adventure experts with support from the HSE. The key aim has been to provide a simple format that is in plain English. Where information appears in all sections of the RA it has been placed in a heading rather than being repeated throughout the document.

The format highlights significant risks, how these are already being controlled, what needs to be done in future, and how any future action will be carried out.  

Worked Example Visit Plan_Adventure Activities provided by Establishment Staff_T22
Worked Example Visit Plan_Adventure Activities provided by LA Specialist_T23
Generic Risk Assessment_T24
Flowchart of Procedures_T25
Fuels and Stoves_Generic Risk Assessment_T26
Camping_Generic Risk Assessment_T33
Off Road Cycling_Worked Example Risk Assessment_T27
Generic Letters for Parental Information and Consent_T31
Sailing_Worked Example Risk Assessment_T28
Canoeing_Worked Example Risk Assessment_T29
Trekking_Worked Example Risk Assessment_T30
Climbing_Worked Example Risk Assessment_T34
Adventure Activites Day_Worked Example of Parental Information and Consent Letters_T35
Adventure Activities Programme_Worked Example of Parental Information and Consent Letters_T36
Residential with Adventure Activities_Worked Examples of Parental Information and Consent Letters_T38
  • Updated: 01 December 2014

Partners

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The content of this guidance is in line with advice from the Health and Safety Executive and has been developed in partnership with Education Scotland.