Safer Adventures: Managing The Risks Of Adventure Travel

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Safer adventures: Managingthe risks of adventure travelYour guide to the British Standard for adventurousactivities outside the United Kingdom (BS 8848:2014)

Safer adventures: Managing the risks of adventure travelAdventure travel is supposed to be challenging.But regardless of your age, destination orchosen activity, your safety should be ofparamount importance. BS 8848 sets standardsto minimize the risks of adventure travel.Knowledge of the standard is importantto anyone organizing, or taking part in,an overseas venture.Hundreds of thousands of people take part in organized activities abroadevery year. Overseas adventures can be great fun, broaden horizons, andteach new skills. But, if the venture isn’t managed properly, the consequencescan be very serious, resulting in accident, injury or even loss of life.Whether you’re a student going on a geographyfield trip; a young person planning a gap year oradventure holiday; someone in their forties takingon a charity challenge; or a pensioner consideringa volunteering project; BS 8848 can offer you peaceof mind. Providers that comply with the standardmust endeavour to keep participants safe andinformed at all stages of the venture.If you, a family member or a friend are planningan adventurous activity abroad make sure thatthe chosen provider complies with BS 8848.Safer adventures: the basicsWhat does the standard cover?BS 8848:2014 “Specification for the provision of visits,fieldwork, expeditions, and adventurous activitiesoutside the United Kingdom” can be used by providersof any adventurous activities abroad, including: a dventure holidays gap-year travel volunteering projects charity challenges expeditions field research educational visits.Any UK organization (e.g. schools, charities or touroperators) planning an adventurous activity abroad,for individuals or groups, can use the standard andshould consider its requirements.2

Your guide to the British Standard BS 8848:2014How does the standard protect consumers?BS 8848 details good practice for venture providersto ensure the safety and well-being of everyonetaking part. It shows organizations how to planventures, identify potential risks and manage themeffectively. It also requires participants to be givenclear information so that they can make informeddecisions about risks to their own safety.A single provider – one clearly identified person,or organization, to take overall responsibility for thewhole venture.The standard covers all aspects of the venture– from planning, transport, staff and accommodation,to the activities themselves. In summary,BS 8848 requires:Capable staff – all ventures to be run by competentand experienced people.I nformed choice – participants to be given clearinformation about the venture, and potential risks,before they book.Good preparation and planning – policies andprocedures put in place to identify and manage riskat every stage of the venture.3

Safer adventures: Managing the risks of adventure travelSafer adventures: the detailsWhat should I expect from a good provider?Organizations that comply with BS 8848 must:Assign clear roles and responsibilities Identify one individual or organization as the‘venture provider’ who is accountable for all partsof the venture, including those run by third parties. A ssess the services of any third party providers,for example, for travel, accommodation orventure activities. G ive clear instructions to the leadershipteam about following procedures andsupervising participants.Appoint competent staff Assign an overall group leader who knowsand understands the skills of the group. R ecruit leaders with the right skills, trainingand experience for the activity being undertaken. Carry out relevant checks on all staff workingunsupervised with children under 18.4Plan and prepare Plan and research all aspects of the venture –including the location, transport, accommodationand equipment – to assess them for suitabilityand safety. Prepare an itinerary and budget for each venture. C ollect information about participants, includingany pre-existing medical conditions, to assessthat the venture is suitable for everyone involved. C heck the availability of local medical servicesand support for each venture.Provide clear, accurate information Before booking – give potential participantsclear and detailed information about activities;the expertise of the leaders; potential safetyissues; price; itineraries; and any prerequisitesfor travel (e.g. fitness or training), so that theycan decide if it’s the right venture for them.

Your guide to the British Standard BS 8848:2014 A fter booking – provide detailed informationabout accommodation, transport, meals, paymentschedules, insurance, and the participants’ ownresponsibilities (for example to obtain relevantvisas or insurance). M ake sure that everyone involved in the ventureis aware of the risks of specific activities andlocations – for example dehydration or altitudesickness – and understand what to do to minimizethese risks.Safety management Develop written plans to identify, assess andthen manage potential health and safety risks.These should cover the venture itself, plus thecapability and experience of the venture leadersand participants.Emergency plans Produce a written ‘incident and emergencyresponse’ plan for each venture to detail whatshould happen if things go wrong. Ensure that all staff are aware of the emergencyplan; have access to medical advice and support;and know what to do and who to contact in theevent of illness, accident or emergency.ChecklistTop tips for anyone planning an overseas adventure:Research – find a project that best suits yourrequirements and abilities. How challengingdo you want it to be? Do you want to be partof a supervised group or do something onyour own? Do you have the necessary skills,experience, mental aptitude or fitness to takepart in the venture? What training is requiredbefore you go?Compare providers – gather informationfrom several venture providers so that youcan compare what’s on offer. heck compliance with BS 8848 – be sure toCchoose a venture that complies with BS 8848.If you’re not sure, ask.Signing up – read the terms of the contractcarefully before you book. People under 18will need a parent or guardian to sign ontheir behalf.I nformation pack – once you’ve booked, youshould receive a detailed venture informationpack. Make sure you have all the informationyou need and don’t be afraid to ask questions.Find out who is responsible – there should beone clearly identified ‘venture provider’ and,for groups, a named venture leader in charge.Make sure you know who these are.Emergency contacts – make sure that yourfamily knows how to contact you whileyou’re away, and that the venture providerhas details of who to contact back home incase of an emergency.L ook after yourself – take responsibility foryour own safety by following the venture rulesand ensuring that you have suitable insurance.Raise concerns – if you have any concernsduring the trip tell the leader immediately.Complaints – if you have any complaintscontact the venture provider in the first instance.If you need any help or advice about makinga complaint, contact Citizens Advice(see Useful Information on page 7).5

Safer adventures: Managing the risks of adventure travelFrequently asked questionsQ. What is BSI?A. BSI is the UK’s National Standards Body.It’s been developing standards for more than100 years to make products and services saferfor consumers. Standards set out good practiceand guidelines for organizations to follow.Q. Must all organizations that run adventurousprojects abroad comply with the standard?A. No, the standard is voluntary. If an organizationdecides to use the standard, it can choose to‘self-assess’ or to employ an external auditorto check that it complies with the standard.Before booking, ask for written confirmationthat the venture is compliant and how thiscompliance was assessed.6Q. If an organization doesn’t follow the standardis it breaking the law?A. It’s not a legal requirement to follow the standard.But if an organization claims to comply with thestandard, then doesn’t, Trading Standards may beable to take further action. Consumers can get intouch with their local Trading Standards via theCitizens Advice Consumer Helpline (see UsefulInformation on page 7). Even if an organizationdoesn’t claim compliance, in the event of a seriouscomplaint or incident, the standard could beused in a court of law to provide a benchmarkof best practice.Q. Where can I find a copy of BS 8848?A. Many libraries and universities can accessreference copies of British Standards, or copies canbe bought from BSI at

Your guide to the British Standard BS 8848:2014Useful informationABTATravel advice and details of UKtravel agents and tour operators020 3117 0599www.abta.comRoyal Geographical Society (with IBG)For information and advice aboutexpeditions and field trips020 7591 information about standards0845 086 9001www.bsigroup.comTrading StandardsEnforcement of consumer-related AdviceFor advice about consumer rightsand complaints via national helplineor local bureaux08454 04 05 & Commonwealth OfficeFor advice about overseas travel020 7008 Safety and Health AssociationPromoting health and safety in Higher Out GroupInformation and advice about taking a gap yearwww.yearoutgroup.orgYoung Explorers’ TrustNational charity promoting safe and responsibleexpeditions for young peoplewww.theyet.orgContact us tofind out how BSIhelps to makeexcellence a habit.7

BSIBSI was established in 1901 and has beendeveloping standards for over 100 years.Standards set best practice and guidelinesfor organizations to follow. Standards makegood business sense, and make productsand services safer for consumers. B SI Group has 2,900 employees globallyand works in 150 countries We publish around 2,500 standards a year T here are approximately 34,000 publishedstandards that help make our lives easier,safer, healthier and more sustainable.CPIUThe Consumer & Public Interest Unit (CPIU) workswithin BSI to represent consumers in standardsdevelopment and reflect the public interest in thedecision-making process. It investigates areaswhere new standards might be beneficial toconsumers, and ensures that new standardsaddress key consumer issues, by working withrelevant consumer organizations to feed theirinitiatives and concerns into the standardsdevelopment process.BSI Group389 Chiswick High RoadLondon W4 4ALUnited KingdomT: 44 845 086 9001E: cservices@bsigroup.combsigroup.comCPINThe Consumer & Public Involvement Networkis supported by the CPIU, and is made up ofindividuals and representatives of consumerand public interest organizations who takean active part in standards-making committees.These people ensure that the interests of UKconsumers are represented in UK, Europeanand international standards.Contact CPIU389 Chiswick High RoadLondonW4 4ALUnited KingdomT: 44 20 8996 7085E: BSI Group 2014About usBSI/UK/389/ST/0414/en/DDSafer adventures: Managing the risks of adventure travel

the risks of adventure travel. Adventure travel is supposed to be challenging. But regardless of your age, destination or chosen activity, your safety should be of paramount importance. BS 8848 sets standards to minimize the risks of adventure travel. Knowledge of the standard is important to anyone organizing, or taking part in, an overseas venture. 2 Hundreds of thousands of people take part .

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