Teachers talking about their epics : near misses in outdoor education
This study examines incidents with high potential for serious harm (HIPO incidents) which occurred in Rotoiti Lodge Outdoor Education Centre programmes. Through the use of qualitative techniques, the research explores definitions and meanings of key terms (accident, incident and epic); examines accounts of eleven HIPO incidents; considers effects the events had on those involved; identifies possible causes of the incidents and structures these into recognised models of analysis; investigates what people did about an event afterwards; and determines suitable procedures for reporting and analysis which would benefit a school's risk management plan. The results of the research affirm that HIPO incidents are meaningful events for teachers and instructors that experience them and that they have significance for safety and preventive purposes. Consistent with industrial research, incidents were shown to have multiple causes over a number of stages and most could be traced back to factors which management had control over. For example, a shortage of skilled and experienced outdoor staff was found to contribute too many incidents in the study. Additionally, HIPO incidents were processed both formally and informally after an event. Helpful procedures included formal debriefs, talking to family and friends, self reflection and recording it. Schools would do well to provide a no-blame forum for events to be discussed and appropriate remedial action planned at the conclusion of each outdoor education camp. This thesis contends that due to the current focus on adventure activities in outdoor education, economic pressures and an analogous increase in professionalism and safety standards in the outdoor industry, outdoor education in New Zealand schools is in a process of transition. Elements of this have important implications for the management paradox between safety and risk. Schools need to re-evaluate their current resource allocation toward outdoor education programmes to ensure that staff have adequate experience for their responsibilities and programmes meet current industry standards.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordsaccidents; high potential incident (HIPO); epic; risk; risk management; incident; contributing causes; outdoor education; adventure education; safety; Rotoiti Lodge Outdoor; schools; accident prevention; incident analysis; outdoor leadership; leader competence; teacher; outdoor instructor
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