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Adventure activities (HSE guidance)

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Adventure activities are regulated in Guernsey by the HSE and providers must be inspected before they can offer certain adventure activities. (see activities below). The audit process is aimed at those who sell adventure activities to the public and not at voluntary organisations offering adventure activities to their members, schools offering activities to their own pupils or businesses offering activities at their indoor facilities i.e. indoor climbing walls.

  • The inspection scheme

    • Activity providers must be inspected before they start to operate in Guernsey. Existing provider are re-inspected periodically (every 2 years, depending on risk).  
    • Adventure activities are regulated in Guernsey by the HSE. The HSE provides a free audit and inspection service conducted by our competent person from Escape Routes. This process ensures businesses offering adventure activities are able to comply with the Health and Safety at Work (General) (Guernsey) Ordinance, 1987.

    • The aim of the audit process: The aim of this process is to assure a provider's ability to deliver safe and effective industry practice in adventurous activities where the management, operating systems and personnel are appropriate to the scale and nature of adventurous provision and its intended target population.

    • The requirements on the provider are drawn from and therefore benchmarked against existing adventure activity accreditation schemes within the UK, namely Adventuremark (, a non-statutory scheme, supported by the Adventure Activities Industry Advisory Committee (AAIAC); and the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority (AALA HSE), a UK HSE statutory Licensing Scheme. The process ensures providers are able to demonstrate to the HSE and their customers or users that their arrangements for managing the potential risks of adventure activities have been audited, Inspected, and found to meet the necessary standards of 'good practice' in the adventure activity industry and comply with the Health and Safety at Work (General) (Guernsey) Ordinance, 1987. The process is aimed at businesses who provide adventure activities in Guernsey, regardless of who they provide it to (young people, adults, family groups etc.) and where it is provided (natural and manmade/artificial environments). The audit process is provided by the HSE's competent person from Escape Routes, on behalf of the States of Guernsey. There is currently no charge to adventure activity provider for this service.

    • On successful completion of the audit process Adventure activity providers receive written permission from the HSE to operate. Existing providers are re-audited periodically (generally every two years, depending on risk). New Adventure activity providers must contact the HSE prior to operating in Guernsey.

    • The audit process definition of 'adventure activities' Adventure activities relate to a wide and diverse number of factors and includes: participants and communities, places and spaces, activities and experiences, approaches and mechanisms of change & outcomes and impact, and in the context of this audit process is defined as: 'facilitated approaches that take place in managed and natural environments, predominantly through activities and experiences requiring the outdoor professional to have situational awareness, understanding of the demands of the group and to adapt what they do in response to those combined factors. Those acting in an instructional or leadership role shall act with professional autonomy and make judgements within the framework of guidelines that support adaptability and lead to learning and environmental awareness.' Examples of adventure activities can be found below. The list is representative of the activities referenced in both of the UK accreditation schemes noted above. Whilst not definitive, many of the examples are not possible in Guernsey, therefore the examples can be adjusted to reflect the type of adventure activities available in Guernsey.

    • Examples of adventure activities, (not definitive & can be adjusted)

      • A          Abseiling, Archery.
      • B          Board Surfing, Boogie Boarding, Bouldering Outdoors.
      • C         Canoeing, Climbing on mobile & outdoor artificial walls,
      •            Coastal, Lowland & Moorland Walking, Coasteering.
      • D         Dinghy & Inshore Sailing, Diving.
      • E          Expeditions - on land &/or water, inc. overnight camps.
      • F          Fell Running.
      • G         Gorge Scrambling.
      • H         Hill Walking.
      • I           Improvised Rafting.
      • K          Kayaking (inc. River, Sea & Surf Kayaking and Sit-on-Tops & Inflatables), Kite Surfing.
      • L          Lowland & Moorland Walking.
      • M         Mountain Biking / Off-road Cycling.
      • O         Orienteering.
      • P          Paragliding.
      • R          Road Cycling/Cycle Tours, Rock Climbing, Ropes Courses.
      • S          Sailing & Yachting, Sea Level Traversing, 
      • S           Stand Up Paddleboarding (inc. surf & coastal water), Swimming outdoors.
      • T          Team Building Tasks, Tyrollean Traversing.
      • W        Windsurfing.
      • Z          Zip Wires & Lines, Zorbing.
  • What is required

    • Evidence requirements for Desk Based Safety Audit of Guernsey Outdoor Activity Providers
      • Section 1: Activity Provider Details
      • Section 2: Activities Provided
      • Section 3: Responsibility for Managing Health & Safety
      • Section 4: Procedures for Assessing & Controlling Risk (Risk Assessments) 
      • Section 5: Recruitment, Selection & Competence of Instructors
      • Section 6: Selection & Procurement of Equipment and Inspection & Maintenance of Equipment 
      • Section 7: Monitoring & Reviewing Safety Arrangements 
      • Section 8: Reporting, Recording & Investigating Injuries & Near Misses
      • Section 9: Technical Advice
  • What happens during the inspection

    • Year 1, stage 1: Desktop based audit of safety management policies and procedures by Escape Routes. 
    • Escape Routes will request relevant documentation relating to the activities safety management and carry out an audit of the documentation to gather information for stage 2
    • Year 1, stage 2: Virtual interview with activity provider.
    • A suitable time and date for a virtual interview with the provider will be held to enable any findings from stage 1 to be followed up.
    • A report will follow Stage 2 which is sent to the HSE to confirm that all safety management systems are in place, in relation to the process undertaken.
    • Year 2, stage 3: Site visit, activity observation by Escape Routes.
    • Activity providers must be inspected prior to operating in Guernsey. Existing providers are inspected every 2 years, depending on the risks. Currently there is no charge for the above service.
  • Outcome of the inspection

    • HSE will consider the inspector's report and decide:
      • (a) whether the applicant satisfies Guernsey Health and Safety Legislation;
      • (b) whether permission should be granted or refused;
      • (c) the length of the period the permission should remain in force;
      • (d) whether it would be appropriate to restrict what the applicant asked for; and
      • (e) whether any non-standard safety conditions are required.
    • Any obvious shortcomings in the adequacy of the proposed provision of activities will be drawn to the attention of the applicant so that they can be remedied. 
    • Notifications - rights of representation and appeal
    • In serving notice of its decisions regarding permissions, the HSE must adopt procedures that meet the principles of the HSE's enforcement policy statement. This requires the HSE to give the provider time to object before any non-standard condition takes effect or permissions are refused or revoked. If the provider wishes to object or make representations at this stage, then they should follow the appeals procedure below. Details of this procedure will always be given to applicants when they are notified of the HSE's intentions not to give permissions. Every effort will be made to achieve a mutually acceptable satisfactory outcome.
    • If the competent person carrying out an audit is aware of a risk of injury that is a matter of evident concern, i.e., a situation where they consider that the risk is so serious or so likely that it warrants short-term action to control it, they will alert the HSE to the matter as quickly as reasonably practicable.
    • At the end of an audit, the findings of the inspection and what the auditor intends to give as advice to the HSE will be discussed with the provider. In particular, if a recommendation of refusal of permissions or the imposition of restrictive permissions, the provider will be told of this with the reasons why. The provider will be given the opportunity to correct any errors of fact or misunderstandings that may have been used in arriving at that recommendation.
    • If, after the procedures detailed in the above have been followed, the HSE decides to refuse to give permissions, to impose non-standard conditions, to vary or refuse to grant a requested variation to existing permissions or decides to revoke permissions, the provider has a right of appeal. If the HSE is proposing to take any of the actions above, then information about the right of appeal will be provided to the provider. 
    • Investigation of complaints
    • The auditor will consider any complaints about the safety standards in relation to adventure activity providers but if the complaint does not relate to facilities for adventure activities within its remit, the auditor will pass the complaint on to the HSE and provide assistance to the HSE where required. The auditor will investigate appropriately all complaints within their remit. They will always inform the complainant of the results of any investigation and what it has done. This function is generally carried out by the auditor on behalf of the HSE. 
    • Liaison with enforcing authorities
    • Where, during their audits, the auditor becomes aware of serious shortcomings in matters outside the scope of the audits, then they will draw these concerns to the attention of the HSE. The HSE will take the required appropriate action.
    • Appeals
    • Following a request from the HSE for you/your business to renew your permissions and the submission of your evidence requirements to demonstrate how you comply with The Health and Safety at Work (General) (Guernsey) Ordinance, 1987. The HSE will respond to you/your business within 3 months of receipt. If the HSE has not issued its decision within 3 months of receipt of your evidence requirements, you may operate as if the expired permission was still in force.
    • You can continue to provide adventure activities for a further 3 months or until a decision is reached (whichever comes first).
    • Your permissions will automatically be withdrawn three months after the expiry date on your existing permissions if no decision is made, and you must stop providing the adventure activities you have permissions for and not introduce any adventure activities that fall within scope of the audit process.
    • In such cases you will have the right to appeal to the HSE if you so wish. Details of the appeals procedure can be obtained from
    • If you are not satisfied with the HSE's decision you can make representation to the States of Guernsey. In most cases the right to further appeal exists. Details of the appeals procedure can be obtained from or see link below:     
    • Click on link:  Appeals
    • Feedback
    • Your feedback is important to us, and we welcome the opportunity for our customers to help us improve through your feedback.
    • You can send us compliments, complaints, or comments (CCC) about your experience of using any of our services. Whether you are happy or unhappy with the service provided or decisions made, or whether you would like to provide us with a suggestion for improvement, we welcome all feedback.
    • Click on link:  Feedback

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