20 September, 2012
New drug and alcohol regulations for adventure tourism
Adventure tourism operators will face stronger regulations to help prevent tragedies from drug and alcohol-related accidents, Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson announced today.
The proposed changes to the Health and Safety (Adventure Activities) Regulations 2011 and aviation and maritime rules will create an explicit requirement for operators to monitor and manage safety risks associated with drug or alcohol impairment from mid-December 2012.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) have developed new requirements to reduce risk, give greater assurance to adventure tourists, and to protect New Zealand’s reputation as a tourist destination.
Each operator will have to specifically address the possibility of drug and alcohol use in their health and safety management. Operators will then have their drug and alcohol management checked as part of regular independent safety audits.
For adventure activity operators under MBIE jurisdiction, Safety Auditors recognised by MBIE will begin auditing in the new year, starting with operators who are providing the highest risk activities. The first round of safety audits targeting the highest risk operators - about 54 per cent of the industry - is scheduled for completion by November 2013.
The existing programme of regular safety audits by CAA of adventure aviation operators and by MNZ of jet boat and rafting operators will include an audit of drug and alcohol management, once the proposed amended rules are in force.
Adventure tourism operators are already required to take “all practicable steps” to identify, eliminate, minimise or manage hazards.
“Adventure activities are a significant part of New Zealand’s tourism industry. We are sending a strong message to those businesses that risks associated with drug or alcohol impairment must be taken seriously,” Ms Wilkinson says.
The changes would be the focal point for education and awareness campaigns to highlight the risks associated with drug or alcohol impairment and the responsibility of operators to monitor and manage these risks.
These regulations will be alongside other new requirements for the adventure tourism industry.
Under the Health and Safety in Employment (Adventure Activities) Regulations 2011 operators are also now required to notify MBIE of who they are, where they are, what their activities are and whether they have a current safety audit.
All operators have to pass a safety audit by 1 November 2014 at the latest.
For more information visit: www.dol.govt.nz/adventure-activities