Now is the time to review open water aquatic risks

Victoria’s open waterways are highly valuable for recreation and exercise. However, the drowning statistics highlight that on average one third of drowning deaths occur following an accidental fall into water. This highlights even more the need for appropriate risk controls to be in place to reduce the risk of injury or death.

“There is an opportunity now for land managers of open waterways, including coastal, inland and urban waterway developments to review their risk management plans, safety policies and procedures. LSV’S Aquatic Risk services team can help you prepare,” LSV Risk and Spatial Analysis Specialist, Robert Andronaco said.

“We provide risk management consultancy services specific to existing or proposed open waterway spaces. Open waterway spaces include inland and coastal waterway areas.

“The core objective behind delivery of our services is to reduce fatal, non-fatal and recreational injuries within aquatic areas. We offer clients tailored risk management solutions based on how to best reduce land manager specific aquatic risks given localised environmental hazards.”

By assessing risk based on local hazards, a range of risk treatment and control options can be recommended to land managers, Mr Andronaco said.

“This approach enables the land manager to leverage LSV knowledge across numerous aquatic settings to minimise specific local hazard sources,” he said

“The service is fundamentally a risk-sharing mechanism for the land manager as we guide them with fit-for-purpose treatment and control measures based on their known operational capacity and budget.

“We work with each land manager to contribute to the overall goal of reducing fatal, non-fatal and aquatic recreational injury events.  We support them to do this by adopting best practice principles to the storage, maintenance and analysis of data and clear visualisation and communication of analysis results.”

Access to primary data and specialist analysis such as spatial analysis provides LSV a clear advantage in the aquatic risk assessment space, turning historical and current data into knowledge that clients need.  Added to this is the wider LSV operational and application expertise along with evidence-based research approaches, using LSV as an aquatic safety resource and training centre.

From a risk management perspective, land managers can engage LSVs Aquatic  Risk Services to assist with hazard identification, treatment and control advice, evaluation of treatment and control programs and applications and/or for any regionalised or localised spatial and aspatial data analysis needs.

“Given LSV’s multi-dimensional operational and research focus, we can support land managers by providing, for example,  up to date geographic and temporally aggregated risk estimates to inform localised decision making.

“From a localised hazard perspective, environmental hazards are unlikely to be more dynamic or more variable compared to the past. What is likely to change however, are human exposure levels to these localised hazards. Increased and/or more variable travel to unfamiliar waterways brings people with diminished levels of awareness and inability to cope with these local conditions and requirements,” Mr Andronaco said.

“There is no doubt LSV’s expert knowledge has translated into practical on-ground improvements in the way Council manages risks and supports the community. LSV’s risk management services have been essential in reducing drowning deaths, aquatic injuries and public risks to our community as well as liability impacts to Council.”, said Mr David Hehir, from the City of Port Phillip Council.

LSV, as always, will be taking a lead role in monitoring shifts in drowning and injury rates across not only Victoria, but within different waterways and venue settings.  Land managers should supplement local knowledge with wider Victorian trends by following LSV social media streams, publications and releases. Armed with emerging information and evidenced-based research notes, land managers can adjust their operations according to these emerging trends.

In times of uncertainty, there is often a “flight to quality.”  When it comes to finance, health, etc, people tend to move from riskier options and gravitate towards enterprises that they trust and have a proven track record. LSV is the best placed agency to provide ongoing commentary and advice.

For further information please contact Robert Andronaco at Robert.andronaco@lsv.com.au, or ring 03 9676 6925 to discuss your risk management or data analysis needs.

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