API Summer 2021

atmosphere throughout the business,” says Collett.

system (CBS) in its outdoor adventure park. The audit revealed gaps in staff knowledge about how those systems operated. As a result, some staff failed to complete critical inspections and tests required for both systems. Following the audit, 40 percent of the CBS trolleys were removed from use and sent off to be repaired. The compa- ny also added an extra audit each year to ensure the business was keeping up with industry advances in technology, understanding, and methodology. Big picture view. “The audit process has touched nearly all elements of our oper- ation,” says Mark Cumberpatch, safety adviser for Center Parcs UK, noting that the company revised everything from its PPE paperwork and harnesses to its Zippey trolley process following an audit.

practices to slip. It was only a matter of time before their unsafe belay handling led to an accident. Through the audit, it became apparent that the slackening safety standards the instructors demonstrated were a result of several factors. The two instructors were the only staff qualified to run the climbing wall, and, as it was popular, the manager was programming back- to-back sessions, six days a week. More- over, nobody else at the venue was appropriately competent to monitor, train, supervise, or nurture the two staff members. As a result of the audit, a number of changes occurred: the two staff members were given time off to receive training; a course was arranged to qual- ify more staff to operate the activity; the company, with the assistance of Vertex, designed a manager training course to better prepare the managerial staff to supervise off ground adventure activities; and the operator implement- ed regular session monitoring and staff training to ensure each instructor’s skills were maintained. Create a culture of safety. At Rock Reef in Bournemouth, GM Peter Collett says regular safety audits improve staff awareness and understanding. “The knowledge given to our team about creating and offering a safe, controlled environment brings everyone such confidence, which creates a relaxed THE REGULATORY FOREST Aerial adventure operations in the UK are subject to a variety of regula- tions beyond the Health and Safety at Work Act. Among them: The Man- agement of the Health & Safety at Work Regulations, 1999, the Working at Height Regulations, 2005, the PPE Regulations, 1992, the Approved Codes of Practice, and the Health and Safety Guidance, both issued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), and standards like EN15567, the European Ropes Course Associa- tion (ERCA) Standards, and guidance published by industry bodies such as the UK Ropes Course Guide.

David Long, general manager of Hob- bledown in Epsom, echoes those senti- ments. “Our audit was extremely useful, not just from some of the suggestions raised but also for the instructors, who were able to see the company invest in the safety and operations, giving them further confidence in their role.” Identify process gaps. An audit at anoth- er adventure park revealed that it had great risk assessments (RAs), standard operating procedures (SOPs), training, and other processes for the delivery of its activities. The staff were performing these tasks in a safe way, with good equipment and systems. However, no material existed for the staff to docu- ment the inspections and maintenance work. Nor was there anything to show that staff had been properly instructed and trained to perform those jobs. As a result of the outside audit, the internal auditing system was revised, a training and selection process was created for the inspection and main- tenance jobs, and RAs and SOPs were created to support the inspection and maintenance work. Stay on top of technology. That same operator used auto-belays on its indoor climbing walls, and a continuous belay

As a tool, audits can: • raise staff awareness; • help you comply with the law;

• provide evidence that you are moni- toring, reviewing, and improving your health and safety systems; • identify problems and areas of weak- ness that could lead to accidents; • help identify areas where there may be available technological advances; • discover good practices within a team that can be shared across the rest of your workforce;

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Opposite page: PPE is on the audit checklist. Below: An audit can check specific areas of concern, or focus more broadly on safety and efficiency. Photos: Vertex Training

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