Home Risk Management and Occupational Health and Safety

These guidelines provide the minimum requirements for the safe conduct of Recreational Canoeing and Kayaking activities. All Registered Guides, Instructors and National Training Providers are required to comply with this guideline

It is the intention of Australian Canoeing to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work* of all the employees’, Officials, Coaches, Judges, Volunteers, Instructors and Guides.

This includes the following;

  • safe premises (offices and venues)
  • safe equipment
  • safe systems of work
  • provision of information, instruction, training and supervision
  • suitable working environment and facilities.

Australian Canoeing is responsible for the health and safety of people other than paid workers, who may be present at their workplace and or events.

Office or event manager/supervisor

Managers and supervisors are directly responsible for OHS within areas under their control. If they are in a position to influence the conduct of the organisation or those involved, the responsibility is extended to any area where a health and safety hazard exists. Managers and supervisors should urgently bring to the notice of the AC executive any area where:

  • it was not reasonably practicable for them to comply with the provision
  • the situation was due to causes over which they had no control and it was impractical to make provision for.

In these situations, they are not held responsible for the situation under the various state OH and S Acts.

Workers;(includes volunteers, ofiicials, judges, coaches, instructors and guides)

AC requires that you:

  • take reasonable care for the health and safety of your co-workers who may be affected by your actions
  • cooperate with your employer (AC) in anything that they do or require, in order to ensure a safe workplace (includes event venues).

You must:

  • ensure that your actions do not put others at risk
  • work safely
  • use and maintain machinery and equipment properly
  • ensure that your work area is free of hazards.
  • notifying your supervisor of actual and potential hazards

Everyone at an AC or club or affiliates event or office

Must not:

  • move or deface signs
  • tamper with warning alarms
  • ‘skylark’
  • play jokes
  • behave in a way that results in risk to others.

You must not deliberately create a risk to the health and safety of your co-workers, such as with a bomb threat or intentional false alarm.

* Note; “at work” includes the activities of AC and its affiliated associations and clubs as well as sanctioned events.

You will also need to comply with the relevant OHS legislation in your state. Please refer to your State Government Website for more information

What are Accidents, Incidents and Injuries?

All Instructors, Guides and Members of Australian Canoeing are encouraged to report Accidents, Incidents and Injuries that are directly related to paddling.

The reporting of accidents and incidents with the maintenance of an incident database allows all paddlers to benefit from the experiences of others.

Australian Canoeing maintains records of canoeing incidents and accidents that resulted in injury or had the potential to result in injury.

Australian Canoeing Instructors and Guides are encouraged to complete an incident report form and forward directly to AC for processing. These records are stored centrally and regularly reviewed to identify trends. Incident and accident reporting is a valuable risk management tool that assists Australian Canoeing in identifying injury trends. The timely and accurate recording of incident or accident-related information can also help Australian Canoeing and its insurer to defend possible liability claims resulting from injuries that may have occurred during an organised activity under Australian Canoeing’s control.

An Incident Report Form is found in Appendix G of the Safety Guidelines and can be obtained of the AC website www.canoe.org.au or by contacting the AC office on (02) 8116 9727.

These details are monitored and kept for the benefit of the paddling community.  No specific details of any accident, incident or injury will be released to the public.

Please report any Accident, Incident or Injury where the paddling community can benefit from your experience

AND

Please report any Accident if

  • A kayak(s), canoe(s) or paddling equipment was involved or
  • the paddling environment is involved
  • and a person involved in the situation required the attention of a medical practicioner

OR

  • Equipment is damaged beyond repair or to a state that it cannot be used to complete its intended journey
  • Please report an Incident (An occurrence or event that interrupts normal procedure) if
  •  the instructor or guide present had to take specific actions from stopping a reportable accident (see above) from occuring
  • Please report any Injury if you or someone in your care
  •  requires the services of a medical practicioner or physiotherapist or chiropractor as a result of a paddling related injury
Download a Report Form
This change will have a minimum impact on boaters, as PFDs are made to the old Australian standards can continue to be sold after 1 July 2010.
Most PFDs made to the old standards will be recognised for many years to come and in the majority of cases; people won’t need to replace their existing PFDs as long as they are servicable.
Some states already recognise PFDs made to AS 4758 and by 1 July 2010, this should be the situtation nationally.
AS 4758 is being introduced to more closely align with international standards and takes into account advances in PFD design and manufacture.
Even though PFDs manufactured to AS 4758 are starting to appear on retailer’s shelves, full market availability of the new product may not be reached until 2011.
PFDs made to AS 4758 are marked as –
  • Level 150 – which is similiar to inflatable PFD Type 1 and suitable for offshore use
  • Level 100 – which is similiar to PFD Type 1 and the minimum requirement for offshore use
  • Level 50 – which is similiar to PFD Type 2
  • Level 50 Special Purpose (50s) – to replace PFD Type 3
Please note that some states have applied limits to accepting older existing PFDs based on when they were manufactured.
So if you have an existing PFD made to the old standards, it is important that you contact your local marine safety authority to find out if it is still accepted.
PFDs are a key safety feature in recreational boating. An National Marine Safety Committee (NMSC) study* found that people who survived a boating incident were more than two times more likely to have been wearing a PFD compared to those who died and concluded that if PFD usage increased to 50%, 2-3 lives could be saved nationally each year.
For more details on PFD laws in your state, please contact your local marine safety agency.

Types of Personal Floatation Devices

It’s important that each person on board has an approved personal floatation device for the activity and conditions that they intend to boat in. If unsure, check with your local marine agency.
New PFDs starting to appear on the shelves, manufactured to the new Australian Standard 4758 are marked as –
  • Level 150 – which is similiar to inflatable PFD Type 1 and suitable for offshore use
  • Level 100 – which is similiar to PFD Type 1 and the minimum requirement for offshore use
  • Level 50 – which is similiar to PFD Type 2
  • Level 50 Special Purpose (50s) – to replace PFD Type 3
Personal Floatation Devices made to AS 4758, will be accepted by all marine safety authorities by 1 July 2010.
This change will have minimum impact on boaters, as PFDs are made to the old Australian standards can continue to be sold after 1 July 2010.
Please note that some states have applied time limits to accepting older existing PFDs based on when they were manufactured.
If you have an existing PFD made to the old standards, it is important that you check with your local marine safeyt authority to find out if it is still accepted.

Other types of PFDs

PFD Type 1
PFD Type 2
PFD Type 3
A PFD Type 1 is designed to keep you in a safe “face up” floating position. There are two types – fixed buoyancy and those which are self or manually inflatable. It can be worn for general boating in all waters. A PFD Type 2 or buoyancy vest has less buoyancy than a PFD Type 1 and may not rotate you to a “face up” floating position. Normally used for sailing, waterskiing, kayaking, canoeing, wind surfacing and on personal watercraft. Has similiar buoyancy characteristics as PFD Type 2 but is manufactured in a wider range of colours. Favoured by waterskiers and PWC riders, it is also available as a built in garment (eg waterskiing wet suit).

Buying a PFD

Try the personal floatation device on in the shop before you buy
  • Choose the appropriate weight and size range. It should be snug without confining or riding up.
  • Ensure you can put it on quickly, with minimal instruction
  • Choose one that is made in bright colours
  • Reflective tape will assist rescuers to find you at night

Mainintaing your PFD

Always read and service your jacket according to the manufacturer’s instructions
After use –
  • Do not machine wash or tumble dry
  • Rinse in fresh water and dry thoroughly
  • Check webbing belts, buckles and straps are in good order
For inflatable PFDs
  • If your jacket is water-activiated (automatic) remove the bobbin before washing to avoid accidental inflatation and replace it once your jacket is dry
  • Check that the CO2 cyclinder is firmly screwed into the inflator
  • Check the air chamber by inflating it via the oral tube and leve it inflated overnight
  • Any questions? Phone the manufacturer or the place of purchase.

Please contact your local marine safety authority for further details on PFD laws in your state.