This informal CPD article School Excursion Transport Risks was provided by David Gregory at Xcursion, a risk management training provider focused on school excursion & activity safety.
Today we’re going to look at transport risk. Do you have a transport policy for both external providers and internal driving of vehicles? It’s really important that you do have both because transport can pose one of the most significant risks to your participants and your staff in anything that you’re doing.
Going from point A to B can actually sometimes be one of the most dangerous things you do for any of your programs. Ensuring that it’s well managed and effectively run is critical to the improvement of safety and the reduction of risk for all your programs. This first question you need to ask is whether you are contracting out your transport services to another party, in which case there needs to be a process through which you vet and assess the external provider or if you’re running things internally.
If you’re just trying to look for the cheapest deal possible from a third party and just taking whatever bus tour operator will give you the best deal, that’s really not something that you should be doing under these circumstances and in this context, you really need to effectively vet the driving track-record of the company, their approach to students, their approach to staff and their approach to driving. All of this is critically important!
Once you find the right fit and establish that really positive relationship with one of these providers, it’s that ongoing communication that’s really important as part of that long-term relationship building. When I found providers in the past to drive really well, I held onto them because I knew how they operated and this was in line with our expectations and addressed this significant risk. However, every new program that you bring in a new company or driver, you need to effectively review them and ensure they can provide the right skills and approach.
In terms of running internal transport, be very careful around when people are driving, how long they’re driving for, and also when they’re starting and finishing activities during those days as well and if this is coupled with driving.
This is really important! Is someone there to just drive a vehicle? In which case, that’s a really good situation to be in, or is someone going on a hike or some sort of long expedition, then driving? Often in my experience with excursions, you don’t sleep that well at night because, even if the students are well behaved, they do like to stay up late. So that’s a big consideration. You can be really tired, even if everything else is running well.
Teachers getting in vehicles tired is an extremely dangerous scenario. Unfortunately, it has ended in tragedy before. So, it’s important to be really clear on a policy for your staff, driving vehicles, to ensure your staff are checking vehicles before they get in, in terms of maintenance and condition as well as fatigue management processes for when they’re actually going to be driving a school vehicle. Often the unasked question until it’s too late is… Is it appropriate that the teacher is driving a vehicle at the end of a program having been actively involved throughout that program?
If you can get your transport policies right and if you can implement them with that view of a culture of risk management, then you will be on the way to really improving safety within your school and organization.
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