A key benefit of good risk management is a safer environment for activity participants, with reduced likelihood and consequences of mishaps. Well planned and conducted bushwalking activities not only have less chance of mishaps occurring, but are also more enjoyable.
- Enjoy activities in a reasonably safe manner whilst acknowledging the risks of injury inherent in their club’s activities.
- Understand that all participants have a duty of care to each other.
- Take responsibility for their own safety within the limit of their knowledge, experience and skills.
The HikeWest guidelines are consistent with current standards; aligned with national peak body guidelines (Bushwalking Australia), and provide additional practical guidance for member clubs.. Except for the mandatory requirements in relation to Acknowledgement of Risk (Section 6 of the current Guidelines) the application of these guidelines is voluntary and will not cover each and every circumstance of a club’s activities. For additional information and guidelines for safe and enjoyable bushwalking in Australia bushwalkers should also refer to the online Bushwalking Manual published by Bushwalking Victoria for national use. Also see External Links for other information on safety and skills.
The risk management programs and procedures that HikeWest encourages Member Clubs to put in place and maintain are also an important factor in ensuring a Club remains eligible for the insurances available to our Member Clubs. An annual questionnaire completed by each club informs the insurers of how the club is actively managing and mitigating risk in its activities.
Bushwalking Adventure Activity Standard
The Australian Adventure Activity Standard (AAAS) and related Good Practice Guides (including the Bushwalking GPG) provide guidelines to be used by skilled outdoor leaders responsible for dependent participants, for managing risk and safety across a wide range of outdoor adventure activities, including bushwalking. These standards are voluntary, but encourage safe and responsible bushwalking activities.
Bushwalking Australia Inc (BAI), supported by its member state bodies, including HikeWest, is concerned that the external mandating of standards or competencies for bushwalking clubs can be unnecessarily onerous for such volunteer organisations; confuses existing risk management practices which have proved to be effective within the clubs; and may have the perverse outcome of forcing bushwalkers out of the club structure, leading to an overall reduction in safety and knowledge of bushwalkers.
As a constructive solution for the clubs, BAI supports the development of simple, relevant guidelines, such as the HikeWest guidelines, that enable bushwalkers and clubs to improve the standard and safety of their activities. In addition to the national and HikeWest guidelines, an online Bushwalking Manual has been published by Bushwalking Victoria for national use. The Manual provides information and guidelines for safe and enjoyable bushwalking in Australia.
HikeWest will continue to encourage our Member Clubs and other voluntary bushwalking organisations to maintain their excellent safety record through continued good risk management of their activities.