Extreme Weather Policy

by jgrey

Written by Joan Brotherton

I had planned on writing about a few topics, however, after speaking with players their main concern for the next few months is the very hot weather that we have been experiencing and the relevant guidelines on safety during extreme heat.

As many of you will have commenced playing in club and district championships as well as the Premier League and Q7’s competitions, I thought that now would be a good time to have another look at Bowls Queensland’s Extreme Weather Policy (updated December 20, 2019).

To assist you as players, umpires and officials, the policy is as follows:

Extremes in Australian weather raise the question about Bowls Queensland’s Policy in relation to stopping play or competition when severe weather strikes and Bowls Queensland has a responsibility
to ensure that best practices are adhered to in the interests of its members’ health and wellbeing.

Bowls Queensland is concerned that its members’ participation in the game of bowls is the safest environment possible and with minimum risk of harm.

Weather conditions can vary greatly throughout Australia and Bowls Queensland does not intend to second-guess the judgement of the umpire or controlling body at any game.

The decision of whether to suspend or discontinue play is at the discretion of the umpire/controlling body.

Bowls Queensland has provided the following guidelines in assisting the Umpire/Controlling Body in making that decision.

GENERAL GUIDELINES

Please Note: All temperatures referred to in this Policy are guidelines only and are not binding.

  • Each club and or controlling body should ensure where elderly and under 18’s persons are participating, due care is taken in extreme weather conditions.
  • Each club should have in place evacuation and emergency policies and procedures.
  • Each club/controlling body should provide a contact phone number that players and officials can ring if they are in doubt as to the state of play on any given day.
  • Bowls Queensland advises where possible, clubs/controlling body should usually continue play or competition where they are able to do so, however, player and official’s safety will remain the paramount consideration.
  • The umpire/controlling body should suspend play/competition for up to two hours if the adverse weather conditions may improve. Where conditions have not improved in that time, the umpire/controlling body should cancel the play/competition for that day and reschedule.
  • The umpire/controlling body may approve rescheduling play/ competition to another day or weekend if the umpire/controlling body determines that conditions are unsafe for players, officials or spectators. Typical reasons for this include consistent heavy rain, slippery conditions, extreme heat or cold, snow, bad light and lightning.
  • If play/competition is to be cancelled and rescheduled, the umpire/controlling body will use their best endeavours to notify participants. The umpire/controlling body will determine the most appropriate method of communication and might consider community radio, newsletter, phone calls or emails.
  • Each club/controlling body should have its own Policy as to refunding any fees to those participants who are unable to play/

complete at the rescheduled time when the play/competition is cancelled due to adverse weather.

The policy continues on, covering hot weather, wet/cold weather, lightning and sun protection. As we are mainly dealing with hot weather at present, I will list the relevant information.

HOT WEATHER

• Players, officials and spectators should at all times be encouraged to wear head hats or other head protection. It is recommended that a hat be part of the club uniform.

• Drinks should be available at every venue where play/ competition takes place. Tap water should be available free of charge and in unlimited quantities. Other drinks may be served or sold as determined by each club.

• When the temperature reaches 35C, play/competition can be interrupted at regular intervals for a short period of time (at the conclusion of the current end), during which time drinks should be made available.

• The temperature reading should be taken from a ventilated location, not in direct sunlight, which will allow a general reading.

• Where available, shelter should be offered for players and officials not involved in current play.

• Where the temperature reaches 40C, it is recommended that play/competition be discontinued.

• It will be at the discretion of the umpire/controlling body to determine whether to discontinue play. In making the decision, the umpire/controlling body will take into account all relevant factors including the age and health of players and officials, the weather and climate for that part of the country, the level of humidity, the evacuation and emergency plans of the club and venue and the amount of shade or shelter available at the venue.

• The umpire/controlling body must take serious consideration upon a complaint and request from a player, players playing in the play/competition about the playing conditions as set out above at the time that the request is made.

I will cover the Wet/Cold Weather, Lightning and Sun Protection Policies in a later issue and recommend that you have a copy of these policies with you at all times. They are very important and personally I find that making a weather decision is one of the hardest to make as unfortunately, we cannot please everyone. However, we must all remember that we have:

A DUTY OF CARE TO ALL PLAYERS, OFFICIALS AND SPECTATORS

The full Policy can be found on the Bowls Queensland Website (bowlsqld.org) – under Governance – Policies.