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Industry Practices

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The purpose of the Industry Practices is to raise awareness of standard climbing practices for those operating recreational climbing facilities. The industry practices are intended to assist climbing wall operators in developing a responsible set policies, procedures and practices for the management of their facilities.

While the Industry Practices provide a framework to assist climbing wall operators in developing responsible risk management practices. Specific ways of addressing these concerns will vary with the mission and purpose of the organization, the facility design, equipment in use, employees, clients, and other factors. The Industry Practices does not provide specific solutions to climbing management issues and is not an operations manual.

The Industry Practices are intended to address climbing as a sport and not climbing activities conducted as if they were “amusement rides.” Climbing is a serious sport that necessarily involves the acquisition of knowledge, development of skills, taking risks, and the exercise of good judgment developed over time. Activities that do not actively engage and involve the person in recreation, learning, growth, challenge, development, and competency do not have the essential characteristics of a sport, and certainly not the sport of climbing.

The Industry Practices are intended to be flexible, not rigid standards that mandate compliance under all circumstances. In this regard, it is important to note that sound professional judgment is an essential element in any recreational program or activity, climbing or otherwise. Although the Industry Practices represent an industry effort to outline responsible industry practices, professional judgment may, in a given circumstance, justify a deviation from an industry practice or practices when a deviation is in the best interest of the client’s health, safety or well-being.

The Industry Practices have been developed through a collaborative effort by members of the climbing wall industry and review by industry experts. As such, it is a dynamic document that will be periodically reviewed and revised as practices evolve.

Industry Practices, Third Edition

Chapter 1: Professional Ethics

1.01 The Rights and Dignity of Peers, Employees, and Clients
1.02 Commonly Accepted Practices of the Profession
1.03 Competence
1.04 The Well-Being of Clients
1.05 Appropriate Relationships with Employees and Clients
1.06 Informed Clients
1.07 Fair and Accurate Representation of Products and Services

Chapter 2: Administration and Business Practices

2.01 Compliance with Federal, State, or Provincial, and Local Laws, Rules, and Regulations
2.02 Business Records
2.03 Insurance Coverage
2.04 Operating Policies, Procedures, and/or Practices
2.05 Emergency Response Plan
2.06 Incident/Accident Reporting

Chapter 3: Human Resource Management

3.01 Employment Policies
3.02 Position Descriptions
3.03 Screening for Staff and Volunteers
3.04 Staff Training
3.05 Documentation of Staff Training
3.06 Employee Performance Evaluation
3.07 Employee Records
3.08 Workplace Safety

Chapter 4: Client Orientation, Training, and Assessment

4.01 Client Registration
4.02 New Client Screening
4.03 Inherent Risks of Climbing
4.04 Written Participant Agreements
4.05 Facility Rules
4.06 Orientation to the Climbing Facility
4.07 Instruction for Novice Climbers
4.08 Top Rope Belaying Test
4.09 Lead Belaying Test
4.10 Auto Belay Device Orientation
4.11 Bouldering Orientation for Novice Climbers

Chapter 5: Personal Protective Equipment

5.01 Use of Personal Protective Equipment
5.02 Inspection and Mantenance of Facility-Owned Personal Protective Equipment
5.03 Quality Assurance Records for Facility-Owned Climbing Equipment
5.04 Use of Personal Climbing Equipment

Chapter 6: Climbing and Facility Operations

6.01 Access to the Climbing Facility or Wall
6.02 Facility Rules
6.03 Supervisory Plan
6.04 Instructional Programs
6.05 Inspection and Maintenance of the Artificial Climbing Structure
6.06 Quality Assurance Records for the Artificial Climbing Structure
6.07 Artificial Climbing Wall Manufacturer’s Instructions
6.08 Emergency Equipment
6.09 Belaying and Climbing Policies
6.10 Minors and Adult Supervision
6.11 Bouldering Height
6.12 Impact Attenuating Surfaces
6.13 Route-Setting

Annex A - Sample Top-Rope Belaying and Climbing Test Procedure
Annex B - Sample Lead Belaying and Climbing Test Procedure
Annex C - Sample Auto Belay Device Orientation and Test Procedure
Annex D - Inspection Criteria for Facility-Owned Equipment
Annex E - Bouldering and Impact Attenuating Surfaces

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