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Stock image—White water rafting.
Image courtesy: ©iStockphoto.com/ozgurdonmaz.

ARC Future Fellow, Professor Paul Salmon at the University of the Sunshine Coast, is leading the Understanding and Preventing Led Outdoor Accidents Data System (UPLOADS) research program which is reducing injuries and making outdoor education and recreation experiences safer for all.

Experiencing the great outdoors is critical for our development, health and well-being. The outdoor education sector provides led outdoor activities (LOAs) for this purpose and are keen to ensure that these activities are safe.

Supported by ARC Linkage Projects scheme funding and partnerships with over 30 organisations in the LOA sector, including the Australian Camps Association; Outdoors Victoria; the Outdoor Education Group; Sport and Recreation Victoria; the Outdoor Council of Australia; and YMCA Victoria, UPLOADS is one of the world’s first attempts at translating contemporary accident causation theory and analysis methods into practical tools that can be used by practitioners to support accident analysis and prevention activities.

The UPLOADS program of research involved developing, implementing and testing new tools for identifying risks and preventing LOA injury incidents, such as at school camps. This has enabled the creation of an incident dataset that collects information about near misses, injury incidents and participation rates, which in turn provides a standardised, national approach to incident reporting and learning for the outdoor education sector in Australia.

UPLOADS tools are now being utilised by Australian outdoor education and recreation providers to report, analyse and prevent injury incidents.