The following comprise the risk management guidelines adopted by the Catholic Walking Club of Victoria Inc. (CWCV). Download a PDF copy of the Risk Management Guidelines.

Download a PDF copy of the Emergency Contact & Medical Information form

Download a PDF copy of the CWCV Safeguarding Policy.

Download a PDF copy of the Incident Form.

It is based on the Risk Management Guidelines for Bushwalking Clubs dated March 2004 published by the Federation of Victorian Walking Clubs (VicWalk) Inc.

The objective of the guidelines is to identify and manage potential hazards in the context of the Club’s activities with a view to:

  • Minimising the risk of an incident occurring which could result in injury to Club members or third parties or damage to property.
  • Minimising the risk of litigation.

The Club (and its leaders) owes its members and visitors a ‘duty of care’ to take reasonable care to avoid injury to that person on Club activities.  In the context of addressing that duty of care the Club has established the following guidelines:

  • Walk grading system
  • Gear checklist
  • Leaders’ duties
  • Conduct of members
  • Participant’s Emergency Contact & Medical Information
  • Improvement form
  • Incident form
  • Training plan
  • Emergency plan

The goal of the risk management guidelines is to reduce the likelihood and consequences of an incident that results in injury or loss.  Insurance is the safety net that provides financial protection in the event that something goes wrong.  To that end, the Club carries Public Liability insurance and members (not visitors) are covered by Personal Accident insurance.


Walks are graded to aid participants in choosing appropriate walks. As such it sets upper distance limits for walks of differing grades based on the difficulty of the terrain they will pass through.


GentleLevel and easy walking containing no significant difficulties. Suitable for all walkers no matter what their level of fitness.
ModerateCould contain some hills or other difficulties like soft sand, rock scrambling or mud but suitable for all people with a moderate level of physical fitness.
DifficultWould contain significant difficulties. Steep climbs or extreme rock scrambling, climbing etc. Even if the difficulties cover only a small percentage of the walk. Such difficulties must be noted in the Walks Program.


GRADING:Gentle TerrainModerate TerrainDifficult Terrain

Distances are per day

GRADING:Gentle TerrainModerate TerrainDifficult Terrain

Gravel, even on level terrain, would constitute moderate to difficult terrain

GRADING:Gentle TerrainModerate TerrainDifficult Terrain

Allowances should be made for weather conditions and availability of water along the track etc. Check first with the leader when signing up for a walk.


The following is a BASIC EQUIPMENT LIST for a weekend walk. Make suitable allowances for day walks or extended walks.
It is essential that you use good quality equipment and that it is light and small; it has to keep you comfortable and it is your back it goes on!


  • Boots and gaiters
  • Socks (thick)
  • Trousers (no jeans), shorts, overpants
  • Shirt
  • Jumper
  • Parka (rain jacket)
  • Hat (wide brimmed)
  • Clothing for travelling to and from the walk


  • Plate
  • Mug
  • Cutlery – fork, knife, spoon (Often just a spoon and pocket knife are sufficient.)
  • Water bottle
  • Water bag (wine bladders are useful)
  • Cooking pot/s
  • Stove, fuel (shellite or gas), matches


  • Sufficient nourishing food for the duration of the walk plus an “emergency” allowance to cover contingencies such as delays in completing the trip. Make sure it is light weight


  • Soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb
  • Towel, washcloth
  • Pot scourer, tea towel
  • Toilet paper
  • First aid kit, sunscreen, sunglasses, insect repellent
  • Tissues/Hankies


  • Tent, poles, pegs, groundsheet
  • Sleeping bag with liner, sleeping mat


  • Rucksack
  • Map, compass, whistle
  • Torch
  • Pencil or biro, paper
  • Camera, accessories


  • Swimming togs, thermal underwear, balaclava, mittens or gloves, overmittens

Good humour, common sense and a willingness to put up with unexpected difficulties


GENERALThe Club through the Walks Secretary will arrange for an experienced leader to accompany and assist, as may be needed, new leaders.
BEFORE THE WALKLearn as much as possible about the area the walk will cover by studying maps, books, and articles, and talking with others who are familiar with the area. Plan and whenever possible reconnoitre the route, including tracks, possible escape and/or alternative routes, water, huts, campsites, etc. Advise the Club’s Search and Rescue contacts giving details of the planned route and times of start and return (also see “After the Walk” – 4). Obtain all permits which may be needed. Have the latest possible weather forecast. Find out where and when Mass may be attended on weekend and extended walks. Check prospective starters walking fitness and that they are fit and well enough to do the walk. Check that prospective starters have the right clothing, footwear and equipment, and are aware of the nature and grading of the walk and of any costs involved.
ON THE WALKAccount for and welcome all Members and visitors who have booked for the walk.Obtain insurance forms and visitors’ fees from non-members. Ensure members of the party are introduced to each other, taking particular care of visitors. Explain the itinerary for the day, advise the party to stay together, to keep to tracks and to wait at junctions for re-grouping. Where one is provided sign the intentions book at the start and end of the walk (also see “After the Walk -2). Appoint an experienced walker as whip for the party. Have regular rest breaks, and check the party frequently for any physical or other problems. In hot weather be aware of dehydration and heat exhaustion. In cold weather be aware of hypothermia. Know the correct treatment for these dangerous conditions. Regularly check weather conditions, the party’s time and progress and position on the map. If unsure of the position or if other problems arise, discuss the matter with the more experienced members of the party. If it is a large party it may be necessary to nominate another experienced walker as a leader of a “sub-group”. Be open to the party’s suggestions and make the walk more enjoyable by pointing out matters of interest along the track.
IN CAMPAccount for all members of the party. Find a suitable, clean, flat site near water. Make sure the party is aware of hygiene and cleanliness requirements. Comply with regulations, e.g. observe Total Fire Bans. Keep any fire small, encourage the use of stoves, use existing fireplaces and replenish any wood used from stockpiles. Be quiet, especially if near other campers. Advise the party of the next day’s itinerary and starting time. In snow or other cold conditions be aware of the dangers of alcohol consumption. When leaving make sure the campsite is clean and that any fire has been thoroughly extinguished.
AFTER THE WALKAccount for all members of the party. Sign out in the intentions book (also see “On the Walk” – 5). Complete any financial arrangements, including visitors’ fees. Report back without delay to the Club’s Search and Rescue contact. If the party has been delayed phone back from the first country town or by mobile phone (also see “Before the Walk” – 3). Pass the names of all the members of the party and visitors’ insurance forms to the Membership Secretary. Pass visitors’ fees to the Treasurer. Write an article about the walk for the Club’s magazine “The Catholic Walker”, or arrange for a member of the party to do so. Avail yourself of the next opportunity to lead a walk.



There are risks and dangers in bushwalking and other Club activities.

Participation in a Club activity is entirely voluntary. Therefore all participants are responsible for their own safety, and must personally accept the risks of injury, illness or death and of damage to any property, which may result from their participation. It is strongly recommended that participants have Personal Accident Insurance cover and Ambulance Service membership.

Leaders have the authority to take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of their party. All members of a party must respect that authority. You must not separate yourself from a party without first getting the consent of the Leader.

  • Members shall at all times refrain from unseemly and disorderly conduct or any action likely to reflect unfavourably on the Club.
  • No Member shall temporarily or permanently leave the party without first obtaining the Leader’s consent.
  • A Member who leaves the party thereby relieves the Leader of all responsibility in that Member’s respect.
  • A Member shall carry a basic personal first aid kit.
  • Members shall not communicate with the media on Club matters and shall refer any media enquiries to the Publicity Officer.
  • Members shall respect the natural environment.
  • Members shall not bring companion animals to any Club activity without first obtaining the Leader’s consent.
  • Members shall not use the membership list for commercial purposes.
  • The foregoing provisions apply equally to Visitors.

Above all – Members and Visitors are encouraged to apply good humour, common sense and a willingness to put up with occasional unexpected difficulties.


Members will be encouraged to carry the Emergency Contact & Medical Information form in a waterproof container in their packs while on Club trips.


Ad Hoc reports

A Committee Member (for the time being, the Vice President) is to report to the Committee as follows:

In the event of submission to the Membership Secretary of an Incident Form reporting an incident or near miss. It becomes apparent that Club rules or protocols are not being followed. It becomes apparent that Club rules or protocols are no longer appropriate and need to be changed.
The report is to include details of any incidents or breakdown in compliance with rules/protocols together with recommendations for any relevant follow up action or changes to rules/protocols if that is appropriate.

Annual Review

In addition to any ad hoc reports, the designated Committee Member is to review and report to the Committee on the Club’s risk management guidelines annually, in conjunction with the renewal of Personal Accident and Public Liability insurance policies. The report is to comment on the adequacy and appropriateness of the Club’s risk management guidelines including recommendations for any amendments.


Download an Incident Form

To be completed by activity organisers/walks leaders as soon as practical after an incident or when things almost went seriously wrong (near misses). This form is to be kept by the Club Secretary as a formal club record.

In the event of any serious injury (an injury requiring medical treatment) copies of the relevant report must be forwarded to the BWV Insurance Convenor via email insurance@bushwalkingvictoria.org.au or mail to Bushwalking Victoria, P.O. Box 1007, Templestowe Vic 3106.


The CWCV’s training plan is to include (but not be limited to) the following issues:

LeadersInduction of new leaders and improving the skills of existing leaders.
Training methods to include mentoring by experienced leaders, reinforcement of the Leaders’ Duties included in the Club By-Laws and provision of a Leader’s Kit to individual leaders by the Walks Secretary.
Magazine articlesThe Club magazine will be used from time to time to publish articles on relevant topics.
NavigationTraining is to be provided from time to time either through magazine articles or face to face on aspects of navigation.
First aidMembers are to be encouraged to take advantage of the subsidies available from VicWalk or the Search and Rescue organisation for undertaking formal first aid training.
Safety in the bushTraining is to be provided from time to time either through magazine articles or face to face on accident prevention (Based on VicWalk’s “Walksafe” publication).
Duty of careThe Club magazine will be used from time to time to reinforce the concept of “Duty of Care” as it applies to Members’ responsibilities to fellow walkers and the general public.
Treading softly / conservationTraining is to be provided from time to time either through magazine articles or face to face on care of the environment (Based on VicWalk’s “Tread Softly” publication).


Minimum party size
Day walks – Overnight or extended walks
A minimum of four is recommended for safety.  In an emergency requiring external assistance, one member can care for the injured person while two walk out to safety to raise the alarm.
Any reduction in number should only be undertaken when the level of experience and the potential hazards of the trip are taken into consideration.
Contingency plansDevise contingency plans to shorten a walk in the event of miscalculation of walk times, extreme weather or other emergency.
Search and rescue contact procedureA clear record of trip intentions should be left with a responsible person.  This will normally be the Search and Rescue contact relying on the activity description in the Walks Program.  The leader should alert the Search and Rescue contact if he or she plans a material variation to the description in the Program.
Leaders must notify a Search and Rescue contact before and on return from walks and when delays prevent the scheduled return.
The Police are responsible for all search and rescue operations in Victoria.
If the Search and Rescue contacts have reason to believe that a party has not returned within a reasonable margin of the scheduled time they will notify available Club Committee members. If there is reasonable concern that the party is overdue, contact is to be made with Police to seek advice about the commencement of the search process.


The Club and its members participate in both Public Liability and Personal Accident insurance policies as a consequence of its affiliation with Federation of Victorian Walking Clubs (VicWalk) Inc.  Note – visitors (non members) are not covered by the insurance policies.
Copies of the policies are held by the Club Secretary.
The following is a brief description of the major features of the two policies. The complete policy documents should be used as a reference point if there is any question in respect to the policies or if a claim is to be made on either one.
Public Liability Insured: Bushwalking Australia Inc, Federation of Victorian Walking Clubs (VicWalk) Inc and other named state organisations, their affiliated clubs, members and members as declared.
Business: All activities of the Insured, now, administration, participation in and promotion of bushwalking clubs throughout Australia, all club related social and similar activities reasonably associated with Bushwalking Clubs including bushwalking, track/hut construction and maintenance, canyoning/liloing, alpine walking (summer & winter), skiing, canoeing, etc. (the list is exhaustive)
Limit of indemnity: $10,000,000 any one Occurrence in respect of public liability and in the aggregate during the Period of Insurance in respect of Product Liability.
Deductible: $1,000 each and every Occurrence.
Acknowledgement of Risk: Liability cover for any Club activities which include abseiling, snow skiing and caving is subject to the Club arranging for members participating in the activity to sign an Acknowledgement of Risk in relation to that activity.
Activities not covered: Rock climbing, mountaineering, water skiing and animal riding.

Personal Accident Insurance Policy

Insured: Bushwalking Australia Inc, Federation of Victorian Walking Clubs (VicWalk) Inc and other named state organisations, their affiliated clubs, members and members as declared.
Business: Principally, Administration, participation in and promotion of bushwalking clubs throughout Australia, all club related social and similar activities organised by the insured including Property Owners/Occupiers and any other occupation incidental thereto.
Insured Persons: All current financial members (of this policy) during activities organised by the Insured Club except for those activities specifically excluded from this policy.
Compensation Table: Capital Benefits of up to $50,000.  Weekly Benefits – Injury of up to $500.

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