Safety Management Systems (SMS)

Safety is paramount at Hillary Outdoors and we have a comprehensive safety management system to ensure our clients experience New Zealand’s great outdoors at the safest possible level.

UPDATE: please read our current Covid-19 Policy.

Our safety systems have been developed from almost 50 years experience of working with young people in the outdoors. These systems are regularly checked and re-assessed by internal and external experts, from instructors to managers and we continue to work closely with other leading organisations in the industry to help regulate it. It is important to us that you have all of the information you need to make an informed decision about taking part in a programme at Hillary Outdoors but if you have further questions please do not hesitate to contact the Event or Centre Managers.

Hillary Outdoors operates a three tier safety system as follows:

Tier One – Fundamental Principles of Safety Management

These principles make up the over-arching tier of our Safety Management System. Each principle is accompanied by a description of how it is to be interpreted and applied. A chart that visually illustrates these principles can be viewed here. These principles describe the way that we approach all aspects of managing safety for our clients.

Tier Two – Instructor Handbooks

Instructor Handbooks are carried at all times by Instructors working in the field with groups, and by the Duty Manager. This waterproof document contains policies, briefing points, crisis response information and hazards. The Instructor Handbook and AMPs (see below) together comprise our complete hazard register. This Handbook focuses on documenting hazards that apply to particular outdoor environments (e.g. caves, or the bush) and to particular activities (e.g. surf kayaking, or mountaineering).

Tier Three – Activity Management Plans (AMPs)

AMPs record site-specific hazards. AMPs for outdoor sites must be read in conjunction with the Instructor Handbook. Almost all AMPs for outdoor sites are a 2-sided laminated A4 sheet, and  are carried by the instructors as they visit a site to participate in an activity. They are often very detailed, with FLASH* ratings, photos, and maps to clearly communicate other information such as radio dead zones, escape routes, safe zones and so on.

Additional resources

EOTC Safety

Our safety systems, in order to meet the Ministry of Education's safety guidelines for Education Outside of the Classroom, can be found here.

Organisational Responsibility

These are the positions responsible for adventure safety at Hillary Outdoors:

Hillary Outdoors Trust Board
Strategic view of safety and checking performance of organisation

Health, Safety and Wellbeing Advisory Committee
The Safety Advisory Committee supports the Hillary Outdoors Trust Board and operational Centres to be continuously developing and improving safety. External experts work alongside Trust and management representatives.

Chief Executive
Setting safety culture and ensure there is compliance across the organisation to safety efforts and reporting.

Safety Manager
Responsibility for Health and Safety compliance at each Centre in conjunction with the Centre Managers.

Duty Manager
The Duty Manager role rotates between management and senior field staff. During the period of duty this person is responsible 24 hours a day for the immediate safety of groups in the field. All Duty Managers are trained and supported by their Centre Manager and clear handover processes are in place. The role includes collecting and sharing weather forecast information and closing activities as required.

Training Coordinator
Train instructional staff at Hillary Outdoors Tongariro to be able to perform within organisational safety standards. Directly manages trainee and new instructors. At Hillary Outdoors Great Barrier this role is shared by the Centre Manager, Programme Manager and Operations Manager roles.

Events Manager
Risks in planning and execution of all events

Instructors
Apply Hillary Outdoors safety management system in practice and continuously monitor for and manage new hazards in the field.

Facilities and Catering team
Manage specific hazards in catering and maintenance department including responsibility for vehicles.

Hillary Outdoors is a registered Adventure Activity provider – view our current AdventureMark audit by clicking the logo below.