Does your Bushwalking Club Need a Training and Safety Officer?

 Does your bushwalking Club need a Safety Officer and what would their role be? Does your Club need a Training Officer? Can the two roles be combined?  Who could constitute your Training and Safety sub-committee? What could be included in the job description of a TSO?

I  believe that if your Club is going to take the training of leaders and new members seriously then you need a Training and  Safety Officer.  I believe the one person can and should fulfill both roles as the two are integrated; maintaining a culture of safety during walks benefits from a training program.

The Training and  Safety subcommittee could include:

  • the “Walks Secretary” or his/her deputy
  • someone who has had some formal bushwalk training or for South Australians,  a rep from Bushwalk Leadership SA
  • the “New Members Secretary” or their deputy
  • someone with recent involvement on a Training or Safety committee in another bushwalk club, preferably with knowledge of the Adventure Activity Standards (AAS)

This makes 5, but as you know it is rare to get full attendance at any Committee meeting.

Summary of the Role of the Training and Safety Officer

  • chairing the Training and Safety subcommittee,  
  • ensuring compliance with AAS
  • attending Committee meetings.
  • auditing current leadership practices
  • development of a leadership development program
  • encouraging a change of culture if needed 

Template Job Description: Training and Safety Officer

  • encouraging a culture of safety, with all members and all leaders walking within their capabilities
  • promoting ongoing training as a requirement of membership renewal
  • organising training for potential leaders and those seeking updates
  • establishing a database of training resources to assist members seeking to improve their skills and knowledge
  • establishing and supporting a mentoring program for potential leaders and new members
  • auditing, reviewing and recommending changes to current bushwalk documentation and procedures, taking into consideration the AAS
  • maintaining an Incident Register. Assess and report on appropriate action.
  • chairing the Training and Safety sub-committee and making recommendations to the Committee

More specifically the responsibilities could include

  • utilising internal and external resources to improve the skills, knowledge and hence the enjoyment of members while walking
  • liaising with existing training providers to provided customised courses for Club members
  • publicising existing courses at meetings, on the Club website and in your magazine
  • negotiating group discounts for Club members attending courses eg first aid
  • providing training and documentation for walk leaders so they can effectively mentor new members on their walks
  • encouraging leaders to offer the opportunity for self reflection and feedback at the conclusion of each walk
  • monitoring the progress of new members, through a log book system, so that they progress through a series graduated of walks
  • encouraging and advising members wishing to be involved in accredited training, with a system of internal recognition and benefits
  • developing guidelines for internal accreditation of leaders, with an ongoing re-accreditation process
  • encouraging, facilitating and mentoring experienced members to share their skills and knowledge with others
  • developing a database of “go-to” people within the Club with particular skills or knowledge
  • encouraging and facilitating Club “go-to” people to document their skills and knowledge for sharing with others
  • developing  online resources to assist members wishing to gain leadership skills (PowerPoint’s, brochures, podcasts, web links)
  • developing a culture of sharing knowledge and skills with others 
  • developing recognition of the need to continually updating personal skills and knowledge,
  • developing a membership renewal requirement that each member attends one skill or knowledge update training session per year.

View other relevant posts in this Bushwalk Leadership Series

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This article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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