The physical and emotional health and safety of all participants should be the key consideration with everything that we do during sport and active recreation programs. It is important that we understand the health and safety needs of a participant and that we ensure that facilities and activities at the program do not jeopardise these. The best way to avoid this is to be prepared and know the participants.
The main sources of danger that may threaten the health and safety of participants can be minimised by careful planning, preparation and by establishing simple rules. Using common sense usually enables us to work rationally through a difficult situation.
While each organisation will have their own set of specific health and safety guidelines, some general principles include:
Anticipation: Implementing simple procedures and rules can reduce certain risks. For example, only one person at a time is to use the trampoline and they are to be supervised by a leader at all times.
Preparation: Carefully set up or check equipment and resources before participants use them and remove any hazards. For example, check the depth and current of water and scale the bottom of a river for debris and snags before participants swim there.
Clear, simple rules: Some rules are required for safety and provide the boundaries in which leaders and participants operate. The fewer and simpler they are, the easier they are to adhere to.
Demonstration: Leaders should demonstrate at all times the behaviour expected of participants. For example, if participants are advised not to run in the indoor facilities, then the leaders must make sure that they do not run.
Supervision: Participants should never be left on their own and should be supervised at all times. Some activities will require greater supervision and it is important to ensure that this supervision is available before attempting such an activity.