Revised 11 October 2019

OACT SAFETY POLICY

This policy applies to all events. Prior to the event, the organiser should familiarise her/himself with Document 14, Safety and emergency procedures and consult with the course planner and controller to agree on an emergency contact number to be printed on the maps. This is especially relevant in more remote or rugged areas. Some Classic events may require a satellite phone (available from the office) to be taken to the event for emergency use if the area does not have reliable mobile coverage. The event organiser has the discretion to require all competitors to carry a whistle for safety reasons.

BEFORE THE EVENT

The first three items should be attended to in consultation with the Controller and Course Planner and as far ahead of the event as possible. A minimum lead time of two months is suggested – longer is better.

1. Event Planning Information. In addition to the general information on the website, there are two sets of information on specific areas which are available to assist the organiser, course planner and controller in the planning of events:

  1. Event Planning and Management Guidelines. These location-specific guidelines are being prepared progressively for all areas used for OACT events and, if available, are provided electronically (or in printed form if necessary) from the OACT Office or through Google Drive. They contain information such as location of suitable assembly areas, directions to assembly areas, landholder contact details, comments on map quality and reliability, safety and environmental factors to be considered in planning and conduct of events, and other conditions which are normally specified by the land owner or manager.
  2. Event Planning Kits. These are available for most areas and contain most of the above information, plus courses and results from some previous events, which may be useful in providing course planning ideas and identifying typical running speeds for the area. They are large folders which need to be collected from the OACT Office, and returned after the event.

2. Event Notification. At least eight weeks prior to the event, a member of the organising team should visit the proposed location to check that there are no issues which may prejudice its use (e.g. new fences, temporary construction works). Then contact the OACT office to confirm the location of the event assembly area and the names and contact details of the key officials (organiser, course planner, controller), and any special features or warnings associated with the event.

At least one week before the event, check that the event information on the website is correct, and consider posting a news article advertising the event. This should be done through the OACT Office, which may be able to assist if necessary.

3. Land Use Permission and Conditions. Check with the OACT Office as early as possible whether it will be obtaining permission for the event from the landholder or whether it is necessary for the organiser or course planner to do this. Many Classic events are held outside the Canberra metropolitan area (e.g. Namadgi National Park, private land in the ACT or NSW), where gaining approval for access is normally the responsibility of the event organiser or course planner. Permission for events held in Canberra Nature Park and possibly pine forest areas may be arranged through the OACT Office. Advise the Office if access is required through a locked gate. For sprint events at tertiary campuses or schools, the organiser or course planner is usually responsible for arranging access.

For some areas, particularly if they are used for a major event or require a significant mapping effort, a longer lead time (several months or more) may be required to secure approval, so that the necessary preparation is not rushed. When permission is granted, make sure that all conditions which may have been placed on the use of the area are strictly observed (such as out-of-bounds areas, fence crossings, disturbance to stock, provision of toilets etc.). If you have any concerns about approval conditions, discuss them with the relevant Program Co-ordinator or the OACT Office Manager. If toilets are required, arrange them through the Office Manager.

Take a copy of the approval to the event, in case there are any issues with authorities or local residents. For Canberra Nature Park areas, the approval usually includes a mobile number for the duty ranger in case this is needed in an emergency.

4. Event Roster. Unless someone else in the club is doing it, the organiser needs to arrange for a suitable number of club members to be available to undertake the various tasks to ensure the smooth running of the event on the day. Help is always required for packing up and control collection. You will need a contact list for your club as it is often found that direct personal contact is the only way to obtain enough volunteers.

Volunteers will usually be required to perform at least the following functions (in some cases in two shifts):

  • Help set up and take down tent and other event infrastructure
  • Register participants, take payments and give out maps
  • Assist the computer operator to register participants electronically on the SI system, and operate SI finish timing system. If no regular OACT officer is available to manage the computer, this task requires experienced or trained operators from the club.
  • Put up results if they are displayed (unless runners are asked to do this themselves).

Additional volunteers will be required if start times are pre-allocated or if maps are otherwise handed out at the start. For championships and other major events, many more volunteers may be required for various tasks.

The organiser and controller should remain free to oversight the event, to deal with newcomers and any complaints, and to organise recovery of controls and any persons overdue or missing.

The OACT website has a facility for managing rosters and recording who volunteered. The roster template can be copied from the website and pasted into an email for direct communication with club members if required.

5. Event Equipment and Stores. The equipment other than computing equipment and control flags and stands is kept in the event trailer which is held in the OACT storage shed at Giralang. Control flags, stands and numbers are kept separately at the storage shed. The shed is located in Coree Place, which is off Tucana Street. The keys to the storage shed can be obtained from the OACT Office or from Anita Scherrer (0457 584 459) or Pat Miethke (0428 830 201, ). There is no lighting at the shed so a torch is needed if visiting at night. The computer and peripherals are normally held in the OACT Office, and the organiser needs to arrange for these to be brought to the event. If plastic bags for maps are needed, there is a limited supply in the OACT Office.

The equipment should be checked a few days prior to the event by the organiser and replenished/ reconditioned as required. Ensure that you have sufficient number of registration cards in appropriate colours, that the water containers are refilled with fresh water and that you have plastic cups and bags for the disposal of rubbish.

As the equipment for Classic events is normally brought to the event in the trailer, it is necessary for the organiser to ensure that someone is available to tow the trailer. The trailer can be hitched onto a vehicle single-handed but it is easier with assistance. Pull the trailer out of the shed and check its contents before leaving the site. You can take additional pigtails, stands, tarpaulins etc. but, on return, remove such additional items from the trailer. The trailer has a device locked on the trailer coupling to prevent theft of the trailer. It is locked with a padlock and the key is with the shed keys. The device should be stored in the trailer after it is removed, and both parts should be locked together with the padlock to prevent one part from being lost.

6. Toilets. The main guide to whether toilets should be provided is the travelling distance from home or the nearest public toilets and the duration of participants at events. For events in rural areas, toilets need not be hired if pit toilets are permitted by the landholder. The conditions for most events in Namadgi National Park include hiring toilets. Arrange the hire of toilets through the OACT Office. For regular events (approximately 100 competitors) a trailer-mounted toilet is adequate, but requires a suitable vehicle and driver to collect it from the hire firm and tow it to and from the event. For large events requiring multiple toilets, the hire firm will deliver the toilets.

7. Computing and Timing Equipment. SportIdent (SI) is normally required at all Classic events. The computing equipment for Classic events consists of:

  • Two laptop computers, with power transformer and power cable, mouse and mouse mat. The computers have the software package, SportSoftware (OE2010).
  • Registration and download SI units.
  • A wooden case for sun protection.
  • A box containing a 24V battery with leads for the laptops and splits printer. This is the normal power supply for the computer timing equipment. It needs to be charged before and after each event (i.e. before returning to the office).
  • A splits printer.
  • A large plastic tub with lid containing the following items:
    • Sine wave inverter (for connection to a car battery to supply 240V power), power board and long electrical cable. This is a standby for the battery box and is not normally used.
    • Eight SI units: Two (2) Clear, two (2) Check, two (2) Start and two (2) Finish units in a small plastic tub.
    • Two medium-sized plastic tubs, one containing SI sticks for hire and one for returned SI sticks.

There is no need to re-program any SI units. They are to be used for the purpose for which they have been programmed and no changes should be made. For ACT League events, the field controls are numbered from 101 to 180, with 199 and 200 (two units) reserved for the last control(s).

If an OACT officer is not available to operate the computer registration and timing, it is important that you familiarise yourself prior to the event with how the timing equipment works, and that your helpers on the day include a competent computer/SI operator and assistant. When you collect this gear from the OACT Office, make sure there is a guide in the computer box or otherwise ask for one. You should ensure that the XML course file has been loaded onto the computers prior to the event.

Information on operating the computer timing equipment is contained in:

  • Document 19. A Beginner’s Guide to OE2010
  • Document 20. Advanced Use of OE2010 SportSoftware.
  • Document 21. Connecting Epson TM-T88IV Splits Printer

There are some differences between the instructions in these documents and the current operating requirements of the computer system, which may require additional advice from an experienced operator.

AT THE EVENT

8. Direction Signs. Ensure that direction signs are placed from an appropriate location to guide competitors to the event. If competitors need to turn off a main road, pre-warning signs should be placed several hundred metres before the turnoff. At some venues, additional signage may be required for safety reasons (see Event Planning and Management Guidelines for the relevant area). Erect the ‘Orienteering’ banner at a location which promotes the event, usually where competitors would leave a public road. If signs have been supplied by ACT Forests indicating that the area is reserved for orienteering, ensure that these signs are prominently placed at the access roads.

9. Assembly Area. The assembly area is where competitors come to gain information regarding the event, and to register and pay their event fees. It should desirably be in a compact location, protected from the weather, with room for children to play safely away from parked cars, private or sensitive areas and hazards (e.g. dams). It is important that any event information is displayed accordingly and that it is obvious to novices where they should go to seek help and instruction. Efficient flow through the assembly to the start allows the competitors to concentrate on their race, rather than being distracted by inefficiencies in registration, information, or start procedures.

10. Information including legal notices. Clearly display instructions for the day’s event, list of courses offered, with sample course maps for viewing (unless these are issued at the start), the list of fees, the course closure time, and any warnings advised by management authorities or the controller. Label the registration card container to indicate the correct card colours for each course. When required, signs should be used to indicate direction and distance to the Start(s) and the location of toilets.

For legal reasons, ensure that the whiteboard with the General Risk Warning is prominently displayed. Use a marker pen or attached notices to provide information on the following:

  • Today’s organising club and key volunteers.
  • Upcoming events (e.g. training camps, social functions).
  • Special warnings or advice for today, such as out-of-bounds rules at Sprint events, hazards (e.g. road crossings, UXO, mineshafts) and significant map changes (e.g. new construction fences).

11. Event Registration. The registration procedure is explained in Document 12, Taking Event Registrations, although a separate queue for season pass holders is not required, and an EFTPOS machine is usually not available at Classic events. A copy of Document 12 is also included with the event equipment. Competitors who use their regular SI stick, as recorded in the computer database, do not need to complete a registration card. For other competitors, ensure that you have sufficient stocks of registration cards, colour-coded with a different colour for each course. Make sure that pens are provided for competitors to complete their cards.

After paying their entry fees, it is important for all competitors to register with their SI sticks on the event computer or hand their registration cards to the computer operator. This is the only way of ensuring that there is a reliable record of all competitors registering for each course. The current practice also requires competitors to clear and check their SI sticks at the same time. The registration system should be set up to make this procedure obvious to competitors. Newcomers should be instructed in the procedure when they enter (or beforehand).

12. Refusal of Entry on Grounds of Capability. Under the Orienteering Australia Competition Rules, rule 6.2 permits the refusal of an entry on a course, if the organiser considers a person is trying to compete on course beyond their capabilities. This may be an important safety provision in the case of inexperienced orienteers wanting to tackle a challenging course in some of the more rugged or remote areas used for OACT League events.

13. Computing Equipment. On the day, ensure that the computer is correctly assembled and connected to the battery box (or alternative power supply if necessary). Ensure that the Clear, Check, Start and Finish SI units are turned on using an SI stick. Ensure that the Clear/Check set is located adjacent to the SI registration desk and that the Start and Finish units are located at the Start and Finish areas respectively. See Section 7 for further advice on the use of computer equipment.

14. The Start. The Start location is normally determined by the course planner, but assistance from the organiser’s team may be required in marking the route to the Start, if this is not obvious. The route from registration to the start should be clearly indicated by signs, streamers or tape. The Start banner is to be positioned so that it can be seen from some distance away on approach. A control flag should be hung on the stand holding the Start SI unit. If there is a long walk to the Start, and the Start is accessible by vehicle, drinking water and cups should be provided at or close to the Start, especially on hot days.

15. The Finish. Where considered necessary, the approach to the finish should be marked by a funnel of bunting tape narrowing down to the finish line. The Finish banner should be obvious from some distance on approach. A control flag should be hung up on the stand holding the Finish SI unit. Adequate supply of drinking water and cups should be provided at or close to the Finish.

16. Results Display. If results are displayed, these should use strips of light card attached to a line using a clothes peg (supplied in the event stores). Do not use any part of the registration card for this purpose. For major events, a more substantial results display or possibly electronic screens may be used.

17. Cash Box. The cash box should contain a float of $100. Check before the event to ensure that the float is correct and consists of the denominations listed on the lid of the box.

AFTER THE EVENT

18. Missing Persons. At course closure, check that all competitors have returned. Very occasionally a competitor fails to return to the Finish by course closure time. This can be usually verified by checking the finishers recorded in the computer. A list in the expanding file in the organiser’s box contains phone numbers and car registration numbers of regular competitors, while new competitors who fill in a registration card should include this information on their card. Check whether the competitor’s car remains in the assembly area and/or call the competitor’s phone number. In case a search is required, ensure that at least 6 people remain at the event site until all competitors have finished their courses. If a search is required, this should be managed by the Event Safety Coordinator, who should be appointed by the organising team prior to the event. For further information on Safety and Emergency Procedures see Document 14.

19. SI Card/Compass Count. At the end of the event, the Organiser should check against the registration cards that all hired SI cards and compasses have been returned.

20. Control Collection. The organisation of control collection is normally the responsibility of the course planner and controller, but the organiser is responsible for ensuring that sufficient helpers are available. If the course planner or controller is not available to organise control collection, the organiser should find another experienced person to do this. When collected, all SI units must be checked, turned off using the purple stick in the carrycase, and placed in the carrycase provided in numerical order prior to being returned.

Numbered control flags should also be checked and placed in numerical order in a bag or box. Someone should remain at the assembly area until all control collectors have returned.

21. Equipment Pack-up. If the trailer is used, the equipment should be replaced in the trailer and/or shed in the same manner in which it was found. Any damaged equipment or lack of consumable supplies for another event (e.g. cups, working pens, sticky tape, control cards etc.), must be reported to the OACT Office during the week after the event, so that the equipment standard and supplies can be maintained in good order. Please ensure that all equipment is dry before it is packed away, especially tents and tarpaulins. The trailer and all equipment should be returned to the storage shed immediately after the event, when practicable, and the key returned to the key keeper within three days after the event.

22. Registration Cards, Event Takings and Unused Maps. Cash takings from the event should be counted (with the required float left in the cash box) and the amount noted by the organiser or a registration official. The registration cards, the event takings and unused maps are to be delivered to the OACT Office, unless they have been collected at the event by an OACT official.

23. Results. The results are usually processed by an OACT official. If the official is not at the event, arrangements will be made to retrieve the data from the computer.

24. Event Folder. If an event folder has been borrowed, this should be returned to the OACT Office soon after the event, together with a master map showing the location and description of all controls used, a set of maps and/or control descriptions for each course and any relevant new information.

REMEMBER – If not sure, ask someone. For clarification of any of the above points, don’t hesitate to contact the event controller or alternatively the OACT Office at 6162 3422. There are also many experienced members in your club who are able to give you advice and help.