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Adventure Activities Regulations

Safety audits are a key component of any safety system.  The Adventure Activity Regulations 2011 have made it a legal requirement for some operators to undertake an external audit and become registered. The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 applies to all operators and it is considered good practice to undertake an external safety audit even if your activity is not covered by the Adventure Activity Regulations.

The Adventure Activites Regulations

The Health and Safety in Employment (Adventure Activites) Regulations 2011 sit under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.  They require those commercial adventure tourism and outdoor operators in New Zealand who provide adventure activities to undergo a safety audit and become registered.

Drugs and Alcohol

The Adventure Activity regulations were amended in 2012 to explicitly require operators to manage the drug and alcohol-related risks in their workplaces, starting with a clear drugs and alcohol policy in their safety management plan. Auditors will expect to see a policy suited to the risk within the operator’s workplace, and evidence that it is being implemented.

  • To view WorkSafe NZ's guidance material on managing the risk of drugs and alcohol in adventure activities (updated August 2013)  click here

Adventure Activities Regulation Guidelines- are you covered by the regulations?

WorkSafe NZ has developed guidance information, including a table and decision making tree, to help operators understand whether they are covered by the regulations. They have also developed specific information for maritime operators, event organisers, schools and clubs, and contractors. 

  • To view the general guidance information click here
  • To view the information for schools and clubs click here
  • To view the information for event organisers click here
  • To view the information for maritime operators click here
  • To view the information for contractors or organisations using contractors click here
If you are still unsure on whther you are covered by the Regulations, please email WorkSafe NZ 

Information for in-bound operators, marketing agencies and others interacting with adventure operators

Which activities are in, which could be, which are likely to be out and what proof should an operator have that they have met their obligations? A guide has been developed for those interacting with the adventure activity sector.
To view the guidance document click here 

Notification, Registration and the WorkSafe NZ register of adventure activity operators


Notification is not the same as being registered. It involves letting WorkSafe NZ know that you are planning to provide adventure activties. 

If you are planning to provide commercial adventure activities as defined in the adventure activity regulations you should notify WorkSafe NZ. Notification is simple and free. You will then receive adventure activity regulation information from WorkSafe NZ

You should also signup for the SupportAdventure newsletter to ensure you receive safety news from the sector.

Registration and WorkSafe NZ's register of adventure activity operators

Registration occurs once you have had a safety audit conducted by a Worksafe NZ recognised audit provider (for information on recognsied audit providers see the auditing section below ). Once your audit is complete your audit provider will let WorkSafe NZ know and you will be listed on the WorkSafe NZ register of adventure activity operators. You must be registered in order to provide adventure activities. 

  • To view the WorkSafe NZ register of adventure activity operators click here


    WorkSafe NZ have developed an Audit Standard which will be used for the purposes of the Adventure Activities Regulations 2011.The Standard sets out the requirements for safety management systems.In order to be registered as an adventure activity provider operators will be audited against the audit standard.

    WorkSafe NZ requires that audits under the Adventure Activity Regulations are conducted by a recognised safety audit provider - as of August 2014 there are five recognised audit providers.The way audits are required to be conducted is outlined in the New Zealand adventure activities certification scheme. 

    WorkSafe NZ have provided a factsheet on the regulations and the auditing process, they also provide regular updates on the regulation implementation process.

    • For information on the audit and registration process, including audit providers click here
    • To read the audit standard and see the rules that the auditors must work to (the certification scheme) click here

    Monitoring and Surveillance audits

    To ensure you are continuing to conform to the Audit Standard throughout your certification period, the audit provider will carry out monitoring of your operation.  This could be a surveillance audit (which is not a full audit) or they may request a declaration of conformity, in which you confirm that you continue to conform. Examples of things that a surveillance audit might include are equipment checks, incident records, hazard management plans, evaluations of emergency response practices, completed inductions, performance appraisals, and documented reviews of activities or systems

    The audit provider can also require a special audit as a result of a change of your circumstances.

    The audit provider can recommend that WorkSafe NZ suspend, withdraw or limit the scope of your certification, based on the outcome of any surveillance activity. In either case, you would first be given the opportunity to be heard.

    • To view the rules which the aduit provider must follow ( the adventure activities certification scheme)  click here