Well to begin with you need to thoroughly risk assess the whole activity, it is only once every foreseeable and manageable risk is seen and managed that we can begin to look at everything else. This is the fundamental step for any activity; it is also the most overlooked aspect. So if you haven’t done that, stop reading and crack on. Once that’s done, it’s vital that it forms part of the training; you now know the risks but do the clients or learners? This might even involve re-writing the whole thing into useable notes or handouts for the learners, but one thing is certain, they must be given this information. Now we can begin to create a positive health and safety culture. The second step is a good clear briefing setting boundaries, these may include speed, steepness, distance from the trainer, these must be phrased in a positive manner, avoid a huge list of “do not’s” this is establishing a level of trust and building blocks for a good teacher student relationship. The trainer must not come across concerned or worried about these subjects, it can seem uneasy to the l] student and can even be viewed as weakness or mistrust.
Once we have done a risk assessment, formatted it and embedded it into our session plans and delivered a good briefing it’s time to begin learning. So how do we manage risk now? We should look towards the UK Fire and Rescue services methods of assessing demanding and changing risks in situations often beyond their control. They call this Dynamic Risk Assessment which is supported by a decision making model; these are two tools you must add to your training toolbox now!