News & Updates

10 May 2019 • General

Health & Safety: Identifying and Addressing Unsafe Practice

Athletics is a fun event that we all enjoy, but it does have inherent dangers – and for those of us embedded in the sport, we can at times downplay the risks and forget to follow good practice.

We all want to go home safely after training and competition. We all have the ability to confront unsafe practices and potential risks and become proactive guardians, the Kaitiaki of our sport.

Athletics New Zealand has a number of resources available to clubs, centres and event organisers, which are available here.

These resources will help you to make your activities safer and ensure you are following best practice guidelines.

But ensuring you follow Health and Safety guidelines and complete the required planning is only one part of the process.

We need to work together to ensure we have a Health and Safety culture within our sport.

So what does a Health and Safety culture look like?

  1. Responsibility for Health and Safety is shared. You should not turn a blind eye to unsafe practice.
  2. Be aware of the key Health and Safety rules in relation to your facility/club/event.
  3. Confront unsafe practice in a friendly but firm manner.

Be Aware: Identifying and Addressing unsafe practice

Two key reminders for this month:

  • Nets and gates must be used for Hammer and Discus. We regularly see athletes training Hammer and Discus without the use of nets. This should not be happening.
  • Stay aware on the track. an Official was knocked over by an athlete while crossing the track and was hospitalised – this illustrates that even those of us familiar with the track and field environment need to keep Health and Safety in mind at all times.

A recent worksafe NZ study identified five main attitudes or ‘types’ in relation to Health and Safety – which type are you? Do you have all of these types within your club or centre?

  • Proactive Guardians – driven by the need to protect. They actively embrace Health and Safety and see it is as important. These people see its role and value in the sport and how it contributes positively to the success of activities.
  • Pick and Mix Pragmatists – driven by self-reliance and self-confidence. They trust their own intuition and experience above all and take calculated risks. They value Health and Safety but they only adhere to it when they want to and feel that if they apply common sense then Health and Safety will be taken care of. They are likely to feel that some of the rules go too far.
  • Tick the Box Immunity – driven by fear of prosecution or censure. They want to cover their tracks. They adhere to Health and Safety rules but there is no positive emotional engagement. They think only about themselves rather than the welfare of others.
  • Resisting – driven by the need for freedom. They are libertarians with a streak of anti-authority. They reject Health and Safety and they talk of the nanny/police state. For them, Health and Safety is a hindrance rather than a help. They are essentially fatalistic.
  • Hidden – driven by ignorance. They mostly are unaware of Health and Safety rules. Mostly they are young, inexperienced athletes. These people are very vulnerable.

For any further information contact Trevor at