Working with competence, care and consideration
We work very hard at Blue Mountain Adventure Centre (BMAC) to manage your safety during your visit with us. We know this is a prime consideration for many people booking an outdoor programme, and it is top of our priorities.
It is important to realise that the outdoors and activities carried out at BMAC contain risks that cannot be completely eliminated, and to successfully remove all risks would destroy the unique character that takes people into the outdoors. To manage the risks inherent in what we do, BMAC has a structured systems approach.
Our safety management system is extensive and is documented in a variety of handbooks at our site. The ingredients of our operational plan include:
- comprehensive policies on all aspects of our operation including staff, equipment, activities and safety procedures
- AMP’s and SOP’s for all activities
- emergency procedures
- instructor competencies
- safety checks and logs of safety equipment
Selection, training and qualifications of our instructors
BMAC maintains a high standard in the selection of its staff. We employ people on the basis of their maturity, judgement, teaching and facilitation experience, technical skills and personal experience in the outdoors.
- Staff hold a variety of qualifications pertinent to the various areas of BMAC’s operation. These include NZ Outdoor Instructors Association (NZOIA) awards in rockclimbing, abseiling, kayaking, mountaineering and bushcraft; NZ Rivers Association (NZRA) raft guiding qualifications, Project Adventure facilitation qualifications and a variety of NZ Qualifications Authority (NZQA) outdoor recreation standards. Qualifications vary between staff members.
- Each staff member has logged experience in different outdoor pursuits on personal and professional levels.
- All instructors hold current outdoor first aid certificates, a driver’s license, and have risk and crisis management training.
- They are great managers of people and are excellent role models.
Their training is regular and ongoing with an individualised training pathway. Staff have a professional development allowance and through a combination of in-house training, external courses and national assessments, they work towards annual goals that are mutually agreed. In addition, their work is monitored for quality control purposes.
We use a competency based approach to staffing programmes. Each instructor is assessed against instructor competencies to ensure they have the skills and experience for each of the activities they lead.
We only employ competent, versatile instructors, that are capable of working in a variety of situations, while making best decisions for client safety, and facilitating the best outcomes for the programme.
Safety record and service quality
We have an excellent safety record spanning over 30 years. We record all incidents no matter how minor and analyse these to ensure our policies and procedures are current with best industry practice. BMAC is accredited with AdventureMark—proof that benchmark safety standards are met and that we demonstrate a commitment to safety and quality. In addition audited by the Salvation Army Health and Safety Department. In all cases we receive excellent feedback on our systems.
Safety policies and guidelines
BMAC uses AMP’s (Activity Management Plans) and SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for all outdoor activities. They are generally activity specific, with site specific information for each of the locations that are used.
Although EOTC documentation makes the good suggestion that you ask for details of individual instructor experience and their logbooks, it isn’t practical for us at BMAC since we work with such a wide variety of clients and schools all around New Zealand. For each group we take into consideration the weather, activity, location and skill level of the participants, which may mean we make a last minute change to our instructors. We believe it is more appropriate to look at the systems we use to employ, train and supervise the activities of all our staff members. However, when you are at BMAC, please do feel free to ask your instructor about their experience and qualifications.