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Adventure activities (HSE guidance)

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Adventure activities are regulated in Guernsey and providers must be inspected before they can offer certain adventure activities (caving, climbing, trekking and watersports).

  • The inspection scheme

    • The following activities are within the scope of the scheme:
      • caving (underground exploration in natural caves and mines including potholing, cave diving and mine exploration, but not in those principally used as show-places open to the public);
      • climbing (climbing, traversing, abseiling and scrambling activities except on purpose-designed climbing walls or abseiling towers);
      • trekking (walking, running, pony trekking, mountain biking, off-piste skiing and related activities when done in moor- or mountain-country above 600 metres and which is remote, ie over 30 minutes travelling time from the nearest road or refuge);
      • watersports (canoeing, rafting, sailing and related activities when done on the sea, tidal waters or larger non-placid inland waters).
    • The scheme is provided by Escape Routes, a UK approved inspection body, on behalf of the States of Guernsey. There is currently no charge for an adventure activities provider to receive permission from the HSE to operate.
    • Activity providers must be inspected before they start to operate in Guernsey. Existing provider are re-inspected periodically (every 2-3 years, depending on risk).  
  • What is required

    • (1) An assessment of the risks;
      • (a) identified the hazards created by the activity;
      • (b) decided who might be harmed, and how;
      • (c) evaluated the risk and decided whether existing measures (safety precautions) are adequate or whether more should be done;
      • (d) implemented the measures;
      • (e) have arrangements in place for appropriate review and revision of the assessment.
    • (2) Health and safety arrangements - the HSE will look for evidence of the following:
      • (a) a policy which creates a culture of safety overall;
      • (b) organisational arrangements to turn the policy into practice;
      • (c) systematic planning methods;
      • (d) appropriate monitoring to ensure that risk controls are implemented and are effective;
      • (e) effective communication of information on health and safety issues;
      • (f) periodic performance review and feed back.
    • (3) Competent persons to advise on safety matters;
    • (4) Sufficient numbers of competent instructors;
    • (5) Suitable safe equipment;
    • (6) Evidence of maintenance of equipment, including records;
    • (7) Emergency arrangements (first-aid, fire, rescue, evacuation).
  • What happens during the inspection

    • (1) The inspector should visit the places specified for adventure activities if that is necessary to enable a judgement to be made on the provider's safety management systems. This is likely to be necessary when the provider's safety arrangements are tailored for a particular location and instructors are purpose trained in-house for that location. Such a visit may not be necessary if the provider's systems and the instructors' competence are clearly designed to cater appropriately for the activity at high hazard levels over a wide range of locations and climatic conditions, for example in the case of a specialist mountain guide or peripatetic canoeing instructor.
    • (2) Wherever possible, the inspector should ask group instructors/leaders and their assistants questions to assess their technical competence and knowledge of what they need to know of the provider's arrangements on, for example, first aid and emergency arrangements. The inspector should also examine randomly selected equipment and related maintenance records. The inspector may also wish to speak to participants to assess how well relevant information is communicated to them.
    • (3) In some cases, the applicant may not be able to demonstrate the effectiveness of all the management systems that need to be checked. This is likely to be the case for any new provider and providers of 'summer camps' or other restricted season facilities. If the HSE is satisfied that the provider's management systems are generally appropriate but considers further checks are needed to give confidence, the HSE will require notice of when the facilities are available for full inspection or may require submission of further particulars.
  • Outcome of the inspection

    • HSE will consider the inspector's report and decide:
      • (a) whether the applicant satisfies Guernsey Health and Safety Legislation;
      • (b) whether permission should be granted or refused;
      • (c) the length of the period the permission should remain in force;
      • (d) whether it would be appropriate to restrict what the applicant asked for; and
      • (e) whether any non-standard safety conditions are required.
    • Any obvious shortcomings in the adequacy of the proposed provision of activities will be drawn to the attention of the applicant so that they can be remedied.


Guidance on adventure activities

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