Viristar is presenting a series of workshops at the 34th Annual International Conference and Exposition of the Association for Challenge Course technology, which will be held February 21-25, 2024, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma USA.
Viristar presented on “Using Safety Science to Improve Outcomes” at the previous years’ ACCT conference, and is pleased to return to the annual event.
Viristar will be presenting a workshop on “Challenge Course Regulations in Eastern Europe.” Following a series of fatal adventure incidents in the eastern European nation of Georgia, the country embarked on a project to develop an adventure safety law and regulations. The workshop will share the story of how political forces aligned to push for regulation, how the challenge course industry responded, and how nation-wide challenge course and zipline regulations were developed.
The presentation will cover the politics of developing safety law, how ACCT was (peripherally) involved in the process, how the European Ropes Course Association contributed to the development of regulations, the role of consensus standards (such as EN 15567) in the legal development process, and the state of adventure regulatory development in Georgia today.
Ziplines in Tbilisi, Georgia, in eastern Europe. Jeff Baierlein/Viristar
Viristar will also present a workshop on Psychological Risk Management.
Risk management trainings in the challenge course and experiential adventure sectors often address physical safety issues. It’s important to also pay attention to psychological stress injury, exclusion, and related harms.
The workshop will introduce basic psychological risk management concepts, define psychological safety, explore its connection to equity and inclusion, and introduce general principles of supporting psychological safety. Participants will also look at good practice for psychological first response for acute psychological stress incidents.
Participants will have the opportunity to outline an action plan for their organization with respect to improving psychological risk management in their challenge course, zipline, canopy tour or aerial adventure park operation.
Jomardi Adventure Park in Tsiprani, Georgia, in eastern Europe. Jeff Baierlein/Viristar
Viristar’s third presentation will be on “Crisis Communications for Challenge Course Programs.”
Imagine a major incident has occurred. Potentially damaging social media images are already trickling out. Reporters are calling. It’s all happening with terrifying speed. How do you influence the narrative? How do you best manage your challenge course operation’s reputation? What are best practices for effective media relations in a crisis?
The workshop will explore responses to these questions, through case study, a lecture presentation, and a live mock interview with a reporter covering a serious incident at a challenge course.
Viristar staff at the ACCT conference in 2023 with Jose H. Gonzalez. Jeff Baierlein/Viristar
Viristar will also have a booth in the exhibition hall, ready to talk with challenge course installers and operators about managing risks in their adventure operation.
Viristar offers risk management training and consulting that complements ACCT standards by helping practitioners and business owners understand safety culture, incident causation modeling, legal considerations, media relations, psychological risk management, human factors, and more.
The ACCT Conference
The ACCT Conference and Expo provides an opportunity for professionals installing, inspecting or operating ropes courses, adventure parks, ziplines and related facilities to learn about current research and best practices in the challenge course industry.
The yearly gathering is a place where attendees from around the world can connect with colleagues in the challenge course, zipline, canopy tour and aerial adventure park professions.
Hiking in Lawton, Oklahoma. OK offers challenge courses, ziplines, and other adventures.
Viristar and the Challenge Course Industry
Viristar has a long connection with the challenge course sector.
Viristar staff have managed ropes courses and zipline installations in Minnesota, California, Michigan, Washington state, and Maryland, USA.
Viristar was approached to support the development of safety regulations for ziplines and similar adventure activities in the eastern European nation of Georgia. Viristar staff drafted high-risk adventure safety regulations for challenge course and zipline operations in that country, which is seeking to advance the safety and quality of its adventure tourism sector.
Viristar has provided incident prevention and risk management training for operators of challenge courses in countries including Zambia, Singapore, South Africa, Canada, the USA, Thailand, Slovakia, India, and Australia, among others.
The Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT), founded in 1993, is a nonprofit trade organization dedicated to standards development, credentialing, government relations, and professional development of individuals working in the challenge course, aerial adventure park, canopy tour and zip line industries worldwide.
ACCT has over 1600 members, including Operational Reviewers, Accredited Professional Vendor Members (PVMs), Accredited Operations, and Certified Inspectors.