Ski resorts must have a written safety document which contains information on how to ensure the safety of the ski service. The safety document shall include the slope safety document and the emergency plan.
The security document includes issues related to the operations and security of the resort, such as its hazard analysis, allocation of personnel, the security plan and assistance arrangements. In addition, it contains instructions for specific situations, the operating limits and the maximum number of participants.
The safety document must be located in a prominent spot at the ski resort, and it must be regularly updated and signed. It must be discussed with staff, ski schools and volunteers to the extent required by their duties.
Hazard analysis and control shall be recorded as part of the safety document; this can systematically prevent the occurrence of accidents and incidents.
The ski resort must also keep accident records. Accident and root cause analysis provides a basis for preventing similar incidents and for developing safety systems.
Separate emergency plans shall be drawn up for major buildings in the area of the ski resort and for public events held in the area. Every employee must be familiar with the contents of the rescue plan, follow safe working practices, and report any identified risk factors to their supervisor.
A safety plan can be created to refine the information in the safety document. It will explain the guidelines drawn of the ski resort for the individual activities and places of performance.
Responsibilities of the staff
The safety of the ski resort is everyone’s business. Each and every employee can ensure the safety and smoothness of operations in their own work. However, the resorts also have staff assigned to various security responsibilities. The operator must appoint a safety officer and their deputy. Their names and contact details can be found in the safety document.
The operators responsible for the cableway installation, i.e., lift operators, are responsible for the safe operation of the lifts. They shall also be responsible for ensuring that all members of the lift staff are properly trained in their duties. Lift operator training is organized by the Finnish Ski Area Association.
Ski patrols focus on promoting slope safety, monitoring, first aid, customer guidance and preventive control. Ski patrols are trained by the Finnish Ski Area Association.
At several resorts, the emergency services are assisted by slope rangers from the Finnish Red Cross. These volunteer slope rangers have received Red Cross first aid training supplemented with training in slope first aid.
However, safety matters are the responsibility of all employees. Everyone needs to make sure that they understand their role. Everyone should also use their own eyes and ears, and report all hazards to their supervisor or safety officer.
The resort shall ensure that the site is adequately prepared for first aid while it is open. Personnel or external operators must have sufficient first aid, rescue and fire extinguishing skills.
All workers, including volunteers, must be able to call for help, know how to call for help and know how their resort operates in an emergency. All employees must be aware of the division of duties and the determination of management responsibilities in the event of an accident. This shall be recapped at least once a year in a safety and preparedness exercise. An adequate amount of appropriate first aid equipment shall be available at ski resorts.
Policies at your resort
Finland has various ski resorts of different sizes all over the country. Hazard analyses and safety documents are common to every resort. Their content, however, depends on the specific nature of each resort. Please make sure you know the following things about your resort:
- Safety document
- What it contains and where it is stored
- Which parts of it are relevant to your job description
- Have separate rescue or safety plans been drawn up at the resort?
- Where to find them
- How safety responsibilities are shared at the resort
- Who is the head of security?
- Who is responsible for first aid?
- Who is responsible for the ski patrol?
- Have access to their contact information
- What to do in an emergency
- Who to contact in case of a slope accident, fire or similar situation
- What is your role in resolving an emergency?
- Serious accidents generate a lot of interest, and there will be plenty of people asking questions. Find out who is responsible for communication, so that you to direct the inquiry to the right person
- Also find out the person responsible for reporting accidents
- Check out the report forms and related reporting page on the internet
The most important thing is to understand the importance of safety issues and to keep your eyes and ears open around the ski resort. Whenever you check out a strange noise on a lift pole, stop a customer’s reckless behavior, or clear a pit on a slope, you may be preventing an accident from occurring.