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New Safety Protocols Developed by Outdoor Pursuits Centre

Author(s): Rick Curtis
Posted: September 21, 2010

OPC Issues Report on Managatepopo Tragedy

As a follow-up on my previous posting about the New Zealand Canyoning incident in April 2008, the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre (OPC) has released a report that contains all the recommendations from the independent review into the Managatepopo tragedy which was instigated by the OPC Trust Board of the tragedy. OPC has posted a summary of the report on it’s Web site or you can download a PDF of the summary from the link at the bottom of the page.

OPC Institutes Broad Safety Management Protocols

As a result of the extensive review of this incident by OPC, the NZ Department of Labour, and the Coroner’s Office, OPC has implemented broad changes to its risk and safety management systems. Below is information from their new Safety Web site that details the changes they have introduced. As I said in my earlier post, this is an accident that we can all learn from, and OPC’s sharing of its new Safety System is a valuable contribution to risk management throughout the outdoor industry. Please take some time to review their materials and consider how it might influence your models and practices.


The diagram below summarizes the major elements of our safety management system.  You can view a few sample documents by clicking on the bold text.  This is a new system and OPC staff are being inducted and trained in its use step by step.

Tier 1: The Fundamental Principles of Safety Management is the best place to start as this is the core of the entire system.  These core principals are expanded upon through our Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and during staff training.

Tier 2: Activity Handbooks go right through the organization.  The instructor handbook contains details of hazards, management strategies and SOPs and guidelines for different activity types.  These cover the generic hazards to that activity type.

Tier 3: Activity Management Plans, are used in conjunction with the previous two tiers.  They contains site specific hazards and procedures which may be additional to, or different to those found in the Activity Handbook.  As the system is being developed OPC continues to use RAMS forms as Activity Management Plans in some places.

The supporting documentation for the sample Tier 3 form includes:

FLASH (Factors Likely to Accentuate Serious Harm) system

Activity Management Plan for ‘Fooled Cave’ (the primary document)

– FLASH Analysis for ‘Fooled Cave’

– Explanation for the Instructor Level

– Previous Incidents (not attached)

– OPC Crisis Management System and specific crisis plan for ‘Fooled Cave’ (not attached)

– Cave Resources: teaching ideas, specific activity instructions and background information for instructors (not attached)

The Competency Overview shows the skills required by staff in various activity areas.

OPC Safety System

OPC Instructor Training diagram

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