Risk Assessments

What risk assessment is required for school Orienteering

What are the risks?

Orienteering is a vigorous sporting activity and it is possible for competitors to fall and twist ankle or sustain cuts and bruises. Heat exhaustion can be an issue in longer events run in hot conditions. Snake bite is possible but almost unheard of. Getting temporarily 'lost' is part of the sport but rarely lasts longer than a few minutes. Getting seriously lost can be a concern when orienteering in remote and unbounded bush locations or when students make their way off the map.

Department of Education Guidance

EQ has issued guidelines for Curriculum Activity Risk Assessments for orienteering.  The guidelines can be downloaded here 

The following link will take you to the CARA generic template which should be completed using the guidelines.

Based on these Risk Assessments you will need to consider carefully the type of terrain you use.

1. School Grounds
Orienteering in school grounds is considered Medium Risk as there is some chance of an incident or injury requiring first aid.  The risks should be managed through your regular planning processes.  As well as sun safety and hydration, consider control sites and how the students will approach and leave them.
2. Park Terrain
Park terrain is defined in the Risk Assessment as terrain "that is modified, semi-natural or managed with clearly defined containment features". Park terrain is rated as Medium Risk and a Risk Assessment is required. An Orienteering Instructor coaching qualification or appropriate skills and experience is required to conduct the event.
3. Bush Terrain
A bushland setting is defined as "one that is natural, generally unmodified with little, no or poorly defined containment features". Rated as High Risk by EQ, a Risk Assessment is required  A Learn and Play Orienteering coaching qualification is also required to conduct the event.

Risk Assessment

The risk involved in orienteering must be assessed based on a number of factors, including:

  • Age and competency of the students.
  • Difficulty of terrain and risk of students sustaining injury or becoming lost.
  • Skill and experience of the staff conducting the event.
  • Time of year and weather conditions.

Risk Management

The EQ risk Assessment provides a range of suggested risk control measures, and the following advice may also be useful.

Primary school students should do most of their orienteering in school ground with more advanced events in parks, focusing on map skills. High school students should start in the school grounds or parks and progress to bush terrain when they have gained basic competence in the use of map and compass. You should select your park and bush map areas so the risk of injury or loss of students is minimized avoiding steep escarpments and deep gullies. Set your courses so that they are backed or bounded by 'defined containment features' such as roads, fences, major clearings or clear well used tracks. Many metropolitan bush areas are contained by major roads or fences and could be reasonably classified as 'park' terrain for the purposes of risk assessment. Don't run courses in extreme heat or cold and don't start late in the afternoon, when overdue students may find themselves in failing light.

Coaching Qualifications

Information on how to get coaching qualification can be found here

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