Since 1941 around the world and since 1969 in Canada, we have had policies and procedures to minimize risk on ALL of our programs. Any risks posed by traveling in our tripping areas are taken into account and controlled and reduced through practices supporting these policies.
At Outward Bound Canada (OBC), students are deliberately encouraged to take part in activities containing unfamiliar risks that are not part of their normal life. As an organization our role is to use perceived and real risks as teaching tools to enhance self-confidence. Our extensive risk management policies and procedures have been devised to minimize accident potential and are set forth in our National Risk Management Policy.
Managing risk is an integral part of the training and experiential process of Outward Bound and exemplified by the words and actions of each instructor. Our staff are qualified outdoor leaders with a depth of experience and technical expertise well beyond those normally required during course operations. Minimum requirements ensure that each instructor is qualified in first aid and CPR (as well as Bronze Cross water safety for water-based courses), as well as being a skilled and experienced group leader, accustomed to working with individuals under stress.
Risk Management involves not only overt precautions to prevent accidents, but also a “what if” attitude toward every experience. All program operations, that involve hazards or potential harm, are systematically assessed for risk/benefit so that appropriate safeguards can be instituted. A system of “checks and balances” is implemented by properly trained, qualified and involved staff, by staff monitoring and reporting, Board and Management committees and professional external resources conducting timely reviews and the annual review of any accidents and incidents. The National Risk Management policy requires that appropriate procedures be implemented, to enable the activity to be conducted in as safe a way as possible and to attain OBC’s overall risk management objectives.
Outward Bound is often used as the model against which other outdoor programs are judged, and as an expert reviewing agency in the event of incidents and accidents in other programs. Our staff have facilitated seminars on risk management for camp directors, students of outdoor education, and for camping associations. We have been asked to advise other outdoor organizations and every two years our programs are reviewed by an External Safety Committee of international experts in the field.
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