Adventure tourism gets help putting safety first

00:53, Aug 20 2014
Duncan Faulkner
INSPIRED: Co-founder and co-director of remarkable safety software company, Duncan Faulkner, who with Brian Graham developed a cloud-based safety management software program and app.

Two Cromwell men have come up with a solution for adventure tourism operators who face "enforcement action" if they do not comply with new legislation.

Duncan Faulkner and Brian Graham's cloud-based safety management software program and app is aimed at businesses that have to become registered and audited from November 1.

They released the software about three weeks ago and were already attracting businesses, including NZ Ski, Southern Discoveries and Urwin & Co Ltd, Faulkner said.

The new requirements are in response to several adventure-tourism related deaths, including that of British backpacker Emily Jordan who died in 2008 while river boarding in Queenstown.

The 21-year-old, from Worcestershire, drowned when she became wedged under a rock. The operator, Mad Dog River Boarding, failed to carry any ropes and was fined $66,000.

In 2009, Prime Minister John Key called for a cross-departmental group investigation, including representatives from the Civil Aviation Authority, Maritime NZ, Ministry of Tourism and the Tourism Industry Association.


Four months out from the deadline, only 73 adventure activity operators have been registered, WorkSafe figures show.

Faulkner said he came up with the idea of building a software program for businesses after spending three months "nutting out" a management safety system for Cromwell-based Aurum Helicopters, where he worked as a pilot.

"It dawned on me - how can the Government expect industries to build this themselves? There is no-one saying, ‘here are the tools to help you with it'. Now, we are four months away from deadline and people are saying, ‘I don't know how to do this'. I don't think the Government realised how big of an ask it was."

With no easy-to-use software on the market, Faulkner and Graham built a program that took away the health and safety jargon and words that confused people, and formed the company, he said. The software could be customised to all industries.

It also provided a platform where businesses, safety advisers, auditors could all log into the same standardised system from multiple devices.

"Our mission is to have a multi-agency approach to reduce tragedies in the workplace . . . The end game is to reduce tragedies by empowering operators to manage their safety better and give them the tools. Everyone wants to be safer, they just often put it in the too hard basket."

Worksafe Programme director Stuart White said the Government had been doing everything it could to help the sector get audited and registered under the new Adventure Activities Regulations Act. "Come 1 November, WorkSafe inspectors are going to be out in force and anyone who isn't registered and is still operating can expect enforcement action."



Number of adventure activity operators registered: 73

Yet to be registered: 287

Contracts for safety audits signed: 259

Safety audits underway: 111 

The Southland Times