Importance of Risk Management in the Adventure Leisure Industry

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Critically illustrate the importance, and societal context of risk management within the adventure leisure industry

In recent decades the emphasis on risks and risk management within the adventure leisure industry has been has been escalating and is now greater than ever. This emphasis is due to the introduction of more stringent legislation from the associated governing bodies, threatening more severe consequences if businesses do not practice within the regulated guidelines. The objective of this essay is to analyse risks within adventure activities and to determine the importance of the management of risk within this field of outdoor leisure. This will be achieved by researching past occurrences in the leisure industry that have resulted in accident or death, which could have been avoided had a thorough risk assessment been constructed. In addition, by exploring the motivation behind participating in such activities, this essay will uncover the degree to which risk is actually required in order for an adventure activity to occur.

As written by (Barton 2007:2) “We are exposed to risk from the moment of our conception to our death”. If this is the case, then undoubtedly there must be forces set into place in order to manage and assess these risks that we are subjected to in day to day life. If a risk is able to be assessed, the severity of it is able to be calculated. Consequently, the hazard that resulting from that risk is able to be determined and prevented.

When planning a leisure activity, it is imperative that the organising party carries out an incredibly thorough and informative risk assessment. Hazards in adventure activities include falls from height, drowning, falling objects, lightning strikes, equipment failure, assault, cold injury, and many more (Barton 2007:12). The reason why a complete and logical risk assessment is necessary is so that leading personnel are able to provide proof that everything in their power has been done in order to prevent the activity resulting in any hazards or injuries to those participating. This will not only supply the organising body with a sense of comfort that the activity they are planning and instigating is safe so as to protect them from any potential legal involvement, but also the availability of a risk assessment is likely to be an appealing factor to prospective partakers‘.

Risks are identified by reviewing historical information and industry standards; interviewing subject matter experts; conducting brainstorming sessions with the organising team, vendors, and key stakeholders; and some times through simulation and scenario forecasting (Silvers 2004:52). Wilks and Davis (cited in Swarbrooke, 2003) explain how all discovered risks are able to be rated in order to decide the way in which they should be tackled. This can be done by comparing the predicted frequency of a hazard, by its severity.

Frequent incidents with slight consequences can, in most situations, be considered an entirely tolerable risk, we might even say a trivial risk (Barton 2007:12). By rating a risk, it can be differentiated between a risk that has great potential to cause injury of death, and a risk that can easily be tackled and therefore will barely be influential in the construction of an activity.

In March of 1993 four teenagers were killed in a canoeing accident in Lyme Regis whilst on a school trip. The deaths of the young students was widely put down to lack of supervision and negligence which consists in “the duty of care and consequent injury” (Scott 1993:45). When carrying out such potentially dangerous activities “One cannot overemphasize the importance of supervision” (Hronek et al 2002:255). The evidence that supported the Llyme Bay legal battle that followed was that ‘the coastguard owed the kayakers a duty of care and that they had conducted the search and rescue operation negligently’ (Fulbrook 2005:27-28).

Being careful and prepared are not only sensible...
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