Adventure Tourism Safety Audits.

In reality the one site that has all the info that you need to be aware of, so that your Adventure Activity (diving) business is registered and passed Auditing requirement by 1 November, is on The WorkSafe website.

Eg: Safety audit standard for adventure activities – Requirements for a safety audit of operators.

The site is massive. When first opened it can be a little intimidating! But by investing a little time you can soon navigate your way through the index.

WorkSafe have provided six advisors to assist businesses. They can be emailed at:

An informative Up-date Newsletter is currently posted by WorkSafe to assist businesses.

Subscribe at:

I have spoken to a few dive businesses and there seems to be a general concern re having Auditors who do not understand diving coming into their business.

I have been reliably informed by organisations that these individuals have been in the audit business for a very long time and this is an unnecessary concern. There is a set audit procedure with templates that are standard no matter if they were auditing a one man business or a corporation.

If the auditor needs advice on any technical matters they will ask an approved ‘Expert’.Various experts are appointed by each Auditing organisation. Some audit organisations provide personnel who are both auditors and diving experts. This will hopefully reduce auditing costs.

What is of major concern for dive operators is the cost to have the audit done.

Prices range from $3,000.00 to $10,000.00. This cost to be repeated every three years!

The Government has offered financial support of $1,000 to $1,500 if you have signed up with an audit provider by 31 July. Did your business do that?

If your Safety Management plans are in order, and your operation follows best practice, the business will be issued with a certificate to operate; this certificate will be valid for three years.

If the audit organisation is not completely satisfied, you may receive, for example, a six month certificate to operate and, during that time, you address the areas of your business that need attention to bring them up to standard.

A surveillance audit may also be conducted during the three years. This will incur extra cost.

I have spoken to a few dive operators who feel the whole process has not been thought through or developed to a point acceptable to the Dive Industry. They feel the audit organisations do not fully understand diving procedures, but as mentioned above, the audit organisations feel they have that covered.

Auditing costs are also a hot topic for small diving operators.

The reality is that this process has been in the pipeline for over three years (2011). I’m informed that WorkSafe will come down hard on businesses that have not got their act together on 1 November. Their auditors will be on the road from this date checking that businesses that are not compliant and have not received certification are NOT operating!

Infringement fines of up to $3,000 will be issued. Operators who are prosecuted could face fines of up to $250,000. In addition, operators who flout the law may be refused registration in the future.

There is another date looming in 2015.

A new Health & Safety Act comes into force on

1 April


This Act will further tighten the regulation, compliance and responsibilities of Owners/Directors of Adventure Activity businesses. So now is


to get your  procedures in place.

Such is the concern of some in the dive industry involved in diver training, taking people diving and selling equipment that they are considering setting up a Dive Industry Association so that the Industry can address some of their concerns as a single voice.

For further information contact:

Tony Howell @ NZ Sea Adventures


Phone: 027 243 0175

Email: Brent McFadden

Go Dive Marlborough


Ph: 0274 344 874

It is a costly time for the industry. The Government just wants to try and stop a repeat of tragedies such as Cave Creek, Mangatepopo gorge drownings, hot air ballooning and skydiving plane disasters. Protecting and maintaining New Zealand’s image as a safe place to participate in Adventure Activities and diving is part of that activity!

View my editorial in this issue for comments from the Minister of Labour, Simon Bridges and how these regulations may affect Dive Clubs.

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