Club Health & 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.

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:
    • National Standard Operating Standards
    • Event Safety Manual.
2 Hazard Management - proactively preventing incidents
  • Hazard Register.
  • Hazard Notification form.
  • Hazard Identification and Analysis
  • Daily Threat Analysis form - for events.
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.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand has updated  the Club Health and Safety Manual Template - which is an example of a Health and Safety Manual, based on documents developed within NZ. It contains a number of appendices that clubs can 'pick and choose' what is relevant for them. 

 Feedback on this document is welcomed so please send us suggestions for other useful information to include.

Health and Safety At Work Act (2015)

As most people are aware, there have been changes to Health and Safety.  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.

A few useful points to note:

  • For clubs that have paid staff, even part time, these are now considered to be PCBUs under the new legislation. As such clubs with employees need to be thinking about checking their current compliance to the new legislation.
  • Volunteers are owed the same standard of care as a paid staff member. The SLSNZ Health and Safety Manual Template works on this basis.
  • It is important that all clubs review their health and safety obligations and practices at least annually if not more gregularly through the summer season to ensure compliance.  

Learning from what we do

One of the objectives of the current health and safety legislation, is to learn from past incidents to help prevent future incidents. To achieve this we must first share our stories about the near misses, major injuries and notifiable events that we have observed or been involved in. Only then can we consider what changes might be implemented to prevent repeat performances.

Unfortunately, the paper work required to record incidents tends to be a little daunting! To assist members to correctly record the incidents that we are involved in, a flow chart (refer Appendix 4 below) has been developed to correctly capture the stories from which we can all learn. Please take a look at this flow chart and review the SLSNZ Incident and Injury forms (also in Appendix 4 below) to better understand the process when reporting near misses, major injuries or notifiable events. This flow chart should be used for all SLSNZ operations including; voluntary and paid patrols, beach education, nippers events, event guarding, life guard training, sport events and training.

For more information, help, or if you have any questions or concerns, please contact:

Ross Merrett, SLSNZ Health and Safety Coordinator
M: 021 475 137 
P: 07 574 2061 (706)