NELSON/TASMAN - Developing a Fatality Prevention Mindset - 11th July 2024

9:30 AM
3:30 PM

Tahunanaui School 69 Muritai St, Tāhunanui, Nelson 7011, Marlborough

Fatality Prevention

The workshop is aimed at a wide range of people involved in the provision of outdoor education; from Board members to EOTC co-ordinators and instructional staff. This is because Fatality Prevention is best achieved by ‘defence in depth’ – it is a shared responsibility.

Overview of workshop

Fortunately the vast majority of outdoor educators will never encounter a fatality so cannot rely on personal experience to understand how fatalities might be prevented. When a death occurs it is often assumed that it was due to a freak accident. However analysis reveals that “few OE deaths prove to be caused by misfortune alone. Most involve failures to learn from the past” (Andrew Brookes). In order to learn from the past we should review reports of previous fatalities and serious incidents. By doing so we will avoid the situation where newer outdoor educators repeat old accidents. The purpose of this workshop is to highlight how developing a Fatality Prevention Mindset is possible, and will help you to become more competent in Fatality Prevention. Developing a Fatality Prevention Mindset requires us to look to the past with understanding and compassion, and to the future with rigour and vigilance.

Upon completion of this workshop you should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of Fatality Prevention principles and how these apply in outdoor education contexts
  2. Access and analyse case studies to identify measures to prevent an outdoor education fatality
  3. Critically review an outdoor program, or a specific activity, and identify the level of alignment with Fatality Prevention principles


The workshop is comprised of several elements. Firstly, a brief overview of the relevant literature and an outline of the Three Foundations of Fatality Prevention is presented. The second component involves group work where case studies of New Zealand incidents are reviewed. These case studies are based on Coroners’ reports or investigations by government agencies (e.g., Work Safe or Maritime NZ). Groups then report back on their learnings from these cases and spend time focusing on how this knowledge can inform their practice. 

This workshop will involve close analysis of fatalities that have occurred in outdoor education in New Zealand. Participants can find this work emotionally confronting.