School operations

Outdoor Activities and Working Outdoors


This policy outlines the Occupational Health and Safety requirements for outdoor activities that are organised or managed by schools.


  • The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act 2004External Link (the Act) requires the department, so far as is reasonably practicable, to provide and maintain for employees a working environment that is safe and without risk to health, including in relation to outdoor activities or working outdoors.
  • The principal and/or their delegate (as the local management representative) must ensure that all risks relating to outdoor activities or working outdoors are managed according to the Hierarchy of Controls.
  • Under the Act, employees while at work must take reasonable care for their own health and safety and the safety of others who may be affected by their actions or omissions.
  • Central and regional offices provide a range of supports and services to assist principals and employees to be safe and well, including access to the Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Service and local regional officers who can provide free advice on the risk to health when working outdoors or participating in outdoor activities.
  • The Outdoor Activities and Working Outdoors Procedure (under the Procedure tab) must be followed, and sets out the practical step-by-step instructions for implementing this policy when employees are working outdoors.
  • This policy forms part of the department’s Occupational Health and Safety Management System, refer to OHS Management System (OHSMS) Overview for further information.


The principal and/or their delegate, in consultation with the Health and Safety Representatives (HSR) and employees must ensure that:


Anything with the potential to cause harm, injury, illness or loss.

Hierarchy of Controls
There are a number of ways that risks associated with hazards can be reduced however, the effectiveness of each method may vary. The prioritising of approaches in managing the risks associated with a hazard is called the Hierarchy of Controls and indicates the decreasing level of effectiveness of various approaches. The Hierarchy of Controls are:

  • eliminating the hazard at the source
  • substituting the hazard with something else that poses a lesser risk
  • isolating the hazard with an engineering control
  • implementing administrative controls and changing the way work is done
  • providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Often a number of different approaches are used in conjunction with each other to provide a more effective risk control.

Relevant legislation

Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic)External Link

Department policy outlining health and safety requirements for outdoor activities organised or managed by schools

Reviewed 05 February 2023

Policy last updated

15 June 2020


  • Schools
  • School councils


OHS Advisory Service

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