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Club Health and Safety

Surf Life Saving New Zealand has the health and safety of its members as a core priority. To assist clubs with understanding and fulfilling their responsibilities, SLSNZ is providing some information and documents for clubs to use if they need to for managing their Health & Safety. Most of the components of a Health & Safety system are already in place in clubs, so it is mainly a matter of linking the pieces together via an umbrella strategy and using the information available to manage risks & incidents. The table below shows the four core components of a simple Health & Safety system and the key elements that contribute to them. 

Ref Component Elements
1 An overall Strategy for managing Health and Safety
  • Health and Safety Manual, linked to:
    Patrol Operations Manual.
    Event Safety Manual.
2 Hazard Management - proactively preventing incidents
  • Hazard Register.
  • Job Safety Analysis sheet (to assess new tasks for hazards).
  • Hazard Notification form.
  • RAMS form.
  • Dailt Threat Analysis form.
3 Incident Management - recording what has happened to learn from it
  • Incident Reports enterted into PAM.
  • Review of H&S and incidents at regular Club Committee meetings.
4 Giving people the skills they need
  • Surf Lifeguard Award & higher qualifications.
  • Annual Refresher.
  • Induction H&S training.
  • Pre-activity briefings.

Available to download is a Club Health and Safety Manual Template  - which is an example of a Health and Safety Manual, based on documents developed within NZ and contents from the Australian 'Guidelines for Safer Surf Clubs' manual. It contains a number of appendices that clubs can 'pick and choose' what is relevant for them. SLSNZ has adopted something similar as its own Health & Safety Manual for its employees.

This Manual is a 'living document' and will be regularly updated. Legislative changes from the final wording of the Health and Safety Reform Bill will be incorporated when this comes out.  Feedback on this document is welcomed so please send us suggestions for other useful information to include.

Health and Safety Reform Act (2015 or 2016)

As most people are aware, there are changes coming to the Health and Safety area.  There are a number of useful documents outlining the changes from organisations such as Sport NZ, Institute of Directors and Worksafe NZ.  Clubs are encouraged to look at this information - some of which is incorporated into the Club Health and Safety Manual Template.

A few useful points to note:

  • For clubs that have any paid staff today (even part time), most of the obligations under the new legislation will simply replicate what already applies under the current legislation - see Appendix 12 in the Template for a quick guide.  As such clubs with employees today need to be thinking about checking their current compliance as much as looking ahead to 2016 for the new legislation.
  • There are also obligations under the current Health & Safety in Employment Act to participants and bystanders as sports events (see pages 3-4 of the Template).
  • One of the big questions people are asking is will surf life saving clubs be considered PCBU's and will the new legislation apply to them?  While it's not yet 100% clear how the final drafting will look and be interpreted in NZ, when this same legislation was implemented in Australia, Surf Life Saving clubs were specifically used as examples of volunteer organisations that would be captured as PCBU's - regardless of whether they had paid staff or not.  The principle being that volunteers should be treated to the same standards as employees - which from a moral perspective is hard to criticise. As such, it would be worthwhile for clubs to work on the basis that they will be covered by the legislation………..i.e. that all volunteers are owed the same standard of care as a paid staff member.  The Template works on this basis.

    There may be some wriggle room in NZ that doesn't exist in Australia - as there has been some lobbying on that point and on whether the new penalties will apply to volunteer directors, but right now it's better to be safe than sorry in terms of planning to ensure volunteers are part of any H&S systems the club has.
  • At this stage it appears the new legislation will come into effect in March/ April 2016, so most if not all of the 2015/16 season will be operating under the old legislation.  This is the perfect opportunity for clubs to ensure they have things up to the necessary standard for the 2015/16 season so that when the new legislation comes into effect they are already fully compliant.

Additional Resources