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Policies and SOPs

In this section

A policy is an official document adopted by the organisation and provides the rules to be followed within a specific area. This page lets you know about some of the main policies that cover the Australian Lifeguard Service, where to find policy information and what to look for.

As a Lifeguard you are not expected to know the content of every policy, however you should be familiar with the types of policies that exist for your own information. Keep an eye out on this page as polices change, get updated, and new ones are posted from time to time.

Health & Safety Policies

For your own safety it is important to know which policies cover health and safety issues.

You should print off and read:

  • Policy 2.3 Occupational Health and Safety and;
  • Policy 2.4 Rehabilitation and Return to Duty.

Have a scan of the policies below and do a quick audit of your knowledge in each of the categories. If in doubt open the policy and have a read.

 Policy 1.14  Sharps Policy Policy  Policy 3.3
Pregnancy and the Surf Lifesaver 
Policy 1.15 Peer Group Support Policy 3.6 Epilepsy
Policy 1.3 Body Retrieval Protocol Policy 3.8 Communicable Diseases
Policy 2.1 Sun Safety Policy 3.9 Asthma
Policy 2.2 Lightning
Policy 6.5
Member Safety and Wellbeing
Policy 2.3
Occupational Health and Safety Policy 6.6 Grievance Procedure
Policy 2.4 Rehabilitation and Return to Duties Policy 6.9 Risk Management
Policy 3.1 Disinfection of Equipment

Other policies

The ALS / SLSA have a range of other policies and procedures for employees and members involved in surf rescue activities. To view a comprehensive list of these policies click here.

In addition to these ALS / SLSA policies, States and Territories have developed a number of policies to assist with various areas in their jurisdictions. Also check with your supervisor for equivalent policies which have been developed especially for your Lifeguard Service’s benefit.

What other resources are available?

Although the ALS has developed policies which provide us with the rules to be followed, The Australian Coastal Public Safety Guidelines also provide a useful resource for Lifeguard Service Management on safety and wellbeing in a coastal and beach environment.

Relevant guidelines which could be of assistance include:

 GO1303  Lightning Protection   LS1475   Notification of OHS incidents & injuries 
 GO1304  Disabled persons – access and facilities  LE1521  Sterilisation of equipment
 GO1320–1322  Groups and Events  LE1560-1561  Equipment Audits
 LS1410  Sharps Management  EM1640-1641  Debriefing
 LS1460-1468  Occupational health, safety & environment  DG1900-1913  Storage & handling of dangerous goods
 LS1470-1473  Recording and reporting


Purchase the guidelines via Creata if you cannot find your service copy.

Standard Operating Procedures

Standard Operating Procedures – or SOP’s – are a living document that provides policies and procedures to assist Lifeguards and Supervisors in the management and delivery of lifeguarding services.

The SOP defines the management systems through to on the beach and in the water operations that the ALS operates within. As we move towards a ‘total service plan’ that integrates further volunteer lifesaving services with the ALS this document will support our core roles while being smart about our operations as we move into the future.

Every lifeguard employed by the ALS is required to make themselves familiar with their state SOP at the commencement of employment, and to keep up-to-date with any changes throughout their term of employment.

Due to the differences in state legislation there is no national standard SOP. For more information on your state SOP contact your lifeguard supervisor.