[ Beroeps Federatie van Natuursport Ondernemingen ]

Guidance system Safety and Environmental Protection.

(this information is also covered in a pdf file 'Safety auditing for adventure programs' on our 'publications page')

(also read the information on this topic on the consumers' info page)

In December 2000 the General Assembly of BFNO started a working group in order to follow up the new legislation on consumer safety and to support the BFNO member organisations regarding this matter. The working group decided that the spirit of the new law prevails over the precise formulation. Like in various other countries - for example the United Kingdom, Ireland and Finland, but also outside Europe, in the United States and Australia - the working group produced a guidance system Safety and Environmental Protection.

In 2001 the working group studied the new legislation and various quality systems. This study resulted in an own guidance system Safety and Environmental Protection, which was approved by the BFNO members in December 2001.

In 2002 the working group prepared the implementation of the guidance system and accreditation system. In February 2003 a dozen BFNO organisations put the system into practice.

How can I participate?
Handing in an application for your business is the first step. Once this is done, you are invited to an informative meeting in which the guidance system Safety and Environmental Protection is elucidated and where you can meet other potential candidates.
This meeting is followed by a self-assessment. You verify your offer with the safety and environmental protection measures listed in the quality tool. If needed your adapt your ways of operating your business, so that it conforms the criteria.
Following the ‘internal audit' and the quality improvements you contact the BFNO audit team again to make an appointment for an ‘external audit'.

What does such an audit look like?
The audit commences by sending in the required basic information, including certain business data and programme information. One or several auditors will go through a number of selected work documents and will observe programmes and approach. The nature and scale of the activities offered will determine the length of the visit. This can vary from three to six audit days.
Once the audit is completed the auditors inform you of their observations, suggestions and recommendations. This gives you a basis for initiatives to further improve the safety and environmental protection of your business.

What about accreditation?
The aim is to accredit outdoor sports businesses with a responsible approach to safety and environmental protection. Various people take part in this process:
- The auditors verify whether the outdoor sports business takes sufficient measures to offer safe and environment friendly programmes. They discuss their findings with the entrepreneur and with the other auditors. Then they make a rapport for the outdoor sports organisation concerned and formulate an accreditation advice to the BFNO.
- The BFNO Board confirms the accreditation advice and informs the outdoor sports entrepreneur thereof.
- A steering committee does a follow up in order to overview the positive approach of the accreditation and to give guidance if needed.

What if my business does not get an accreditation?
It is indeed more pleasant and commercially interesting to know your business complies with all standards of the BFNO quality label. This system, however, is set up as a guidance system with its primary aim to improve and make more consistent the safety and environmental protection in the outdoor sports sector. Accreditation only sets the seal on the work. Even if your organisation is not accredited, the BFNO audit will contribute to the safety of your clients, your guides and yourself and to the quality of the environment.

What if I disagree with the accreditation decision?
Entrepreneurs that disagree with the accreditation decision send a registered letter to the BFNO, for the attention of the steering committee accreditation, and clarify the reasons why they think the decision is incorrect. The steering committee will follow up the objections and possibly formulate a new advice. The final confirmation is made by the BFNO.

Once accredited, always accredited?
The accreditation and the use of the accreditation logo are limited in time for the duration of three years following the accreditation decision. The renewal of the accreditation requires a new audit.

Information regarding the accreditatio logo can be found here.