What Are The Safety Standards At Outward Bound South Africa?

At Outward Bound South Africa (OBSA) our primary focus is our Participants Safety while on one of our wilderness courses. We pride ourselves on our high International Safety  Standards and can easily say that Safety is our Number One priority! Why? Well it’s simple, OBSA is solely responsible for our Participant’s lives while on our expeditional  programs.

OBSA allows Participants’ to face challenges and to push themselves clear out of their personal comfort zones in the largest classroom in the world, the Outdoors. Obviously there are risks. There are risks all around us in life, but at OBSA, we  implement and follow through with our strict safety protocols and recovery procedures to make sure that our Participants have an extraordinary experience while in a very safe environment. It’s all thanks to the OBSA Instructors who ensure the safety of our Participants, as they always keep a watchful eye on them during the course. So let’s take a look at what makes our OBSA Instructors so important…

1.) Training and the more Training.

It all starts with the training. Our instructors are put through a challenging 3 month Training School that is not for the faint hearted (speaking from experience). The training is managed by our Training Manager where the Trainees need to get their LOC’s (Level Of Competence) for all the activities: Canoeing, Kayaking, Rock Climbing, Abseiling, Facilitation, Group Dynamic, High Ropes, and ETC. Once the Trainees have acquired their LOC’s, they become Level 1 Instructors.

During the training phase,  the Trainees have the responsibility to keep themselves fit, and still do after they become Instructors so that they can be ready for anything on course.

Most courses involve water based activities, so swimming is the most important  element during training. The Instructors are trained to swim distances of 200m under 6 Minutes while being fully clothed (to add extra drag) as well as and being trained in basic life saving skills with a kayak and without, to act immediately if there is an emergency.

2.) First Aid Qualifications.

First Aid is vital for our Instructors who must all have Level 3 First Aid. An Instructor will carry a First Aid Kit with them at all times when they are on an OBSA course, to ensure that they can respond quick enough in emergency situations should something go amiss. Each year around August we do Scenario Training to put our Instructors in certain scenarios that is treated as real life situations.

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3.) Equipment Safety.

Every month the OBSA Staff do Safety Checks around the OBSA Home Base to see if all our equipment and activities are safe and in working condition. If there are problems there are system and protocols in place for it to be resolved.


4.) Learn about each individual Participant.

The next thing that the Instructors will do at the start of each and every course is a Medical 1-on-1 with the Participants. This will ensure that each Participant is physical and mental eligible to go on a course. Should a Participant have a prior medical condition, this then allows the Instructor to become aware of the condition and will then know how to treat it should the Participant’s aliment arise. This screening is so that if something happens to a Participant, the Instructor can act accordingly. If they need to go to the hospital we can easily give the Doctors the necessary information.

So there you have it, a bit about the safety aspect of OBSA. Should you have any questions, please contact us on training@outwardbound.co.za or call us on (044) 343 2044.

This Blog was written by our Level 2 Instructor,

Jacob van Dyk.