BalloonMan is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our staff, passengers, key partners and visitors to our office, venues, balloon flights and public spaces in and around our Melbourne and Bendigo ballooning operations.
To this end, this policy sets out all measures that BalloonMan is taking to safely resume operations and prevent any chance of an outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus), alongside the expectations that are placed upon our staff and our guests.
For the safety of yourself, our staff, guests and others in our organisation, and ballooning venues and sites, this policy must be followed at all times without exception.
Non-compliance by staff or passengers with these measures may result in management denying access to our premises and your ballooning experience.
This policy details the processes of BalloonMan upon return to work during and after COVID-19 and our commitment to everybody’s health and safety.
The term Government in this policy refers to regulations of the Australian Federal Government (Aust Gov), Victorian Government (Vic Gov) and relevant Local Government Authorities (LGAs) unless otherwise specified.
This document assumes that our commercial hot air ballooning operations have government approval to operate. Currently we are only operating private flights, exclusive flights, and family household group flights.
This document operates as temporary policy and guide, until the current pandemic is considered past and it is designed to work alongside existing company policies and procedures outlined in our operations manual, where practical.
Passenger bus journey risk areas.
Interactions in commercial ballooning company ops. (pilots and crew).
- All staff and passengers are encouraged to have the COVIDSafe app downloaded and working on their smartphone.
* Pilots and crew who show any symptoms of COVID-19 must not come to work and must immediately seek medical advice.
- Social distancing between staff and passengers must be maintained at all times where practicable.
- Staff will be provided with and will be strongly encouraged to wear face masks at all times.
- Leather rigging gloves will be provided to staff, these gloves will be labelled with the staff member’s name and can only be used by that staff member to whom the gloves are issued.
- Crew radios require cleaning between each day’s use, prior to return to the radio pool for charging for next day’s flight.
- If an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19, we will follow the advice contained in the Safe Work Australia Fact Sheet
- BalloonMan staff are all required to complete the online course COVID-19
“Infection Control Training” provided by the Australian Government, Department of Health.
Our digital check-in and waiver signing process is 100% contactless, this is provided to every individual passenger electronically not less than 48 hours prior to any scheduled flight and required to be returned to us electronically not less than 24 hours prior to the day of your flight. This allows detailed contact tracing to be maintained.
If a passenger answers “yes” to any of the 4 standard questions (see below), they must not participate in the flight and they will need to make alternative arrangements based on their personal circumstances and our company policy.
Passengers in high risk groups will be reminded about their increased risk.
- people aged 70 years and over
- people aged 65 years and over with chronic medical conditions
- people with compromised immune systems
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 50
- Passengers who have special needs (e.g. physical disability) and will require assistance to enter/exit the basket must be aware that our ground crew are unable to assist (due to social distancing guidelines) and a friend or family member must be present to assist and must travel with them as a paying passenger on the flight.
NO FOLLOWERS PERMITTED – Followers are prohibited from attending – no one, other than our passengers are permitted to gather for the flight. Friends and family spectators are NOT permitted to “follow” the balloon, i.e. gather at launch site, and landing site, due to limits on public gatherings.
- Social distancing – we abide by current guidelines for maximum size of groups, for people not from the same household.
- Hand sanitiser is provided at our meeting point and will be made available for passengers before boarding the bus.
- Masks will also be made available/offered at this point. Although Federal Govt. advice defines these as unnecessary.
Passengers will be strongly encouraged to wear masks whilst they are in the bus if social distancing cannot be maintained at 1.5 metres.
- If we are using a venue, this is an opportunity to remind passengers to wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before proceeding with the balloon flight.
- The morning briefing by the pilot will include verbally detailing our
COVID-19 safety guidelines and procedures.
Hand sanitizer/face masks.
Hand sanitizer cannot be carried on any balloon flights, due to its highly flammable nature.
- Hand sanitizer will be made available before boarding the bus. Masks will be offered to all passengers prior to boarding our bus.
- Passengers are strongly encouraged to wear masks whilst they are in the bus if social distancing cannot be maintained at 1.5 metres.
– We will keep a record of people who choose not to wear a mask on the flight manifest.
- Where possible whilst in the bus, we will request that passengers face forward and keep conversations to a minimum for the duration of the journey.
- Provide advice to passengers upon confirmation of their balloon flight that they will be encouraged to wear a mask.
- We make a considerable effort to limit the time that people are in our vehicles to 15 minutes (maximum).
– It is recommended that we do not have people in vehicles when stationary.
– We invite guests to exit our vehicles for fresh air whilst the pilot and crew are conducting a pi-ball/weather check.
This way our passengers are not spending longer than necessary in a confined space.
Launch site/inflation procedure
Passengers MUST be reminded by our pilot and crew about social distancing.
- Crew must only use their own issued and named gloves, and these cannot be used or shared with anyone else under any circumstances.
- If people need assistance to get into and out of the basket, crew will be unable to assist (due to social distancing requirements) and a family member must be on hand to assist.
- Whilst in the basket, passengers should be encouraged not to move around the basket unnecessarily.
- Carriage of hand sanitiser in baskets
Alcohol-based hand sanitisers are most effective against the virus.
Alcohol-based hand sanitisers are classified as Class 3 Flammable Liquid substances and should not be carried in a balloon basket.
* Screening of passengers for these items will be done prior to flight.
Interactions with landowners are a risk and a significant stakeholder to manage.
The relationship with landowners needs to be managed carefully.
Operators in the same area may wish to manage this collaboratively (e.g. allocate out landowners to each company) and phone or visit them to outline that hot air balloon operations will be starting soon and to also outline what safety plans have been put in place.
Even if you have pre-approval for launch and landing – you should visit or phone them.
- There may be a perception, especially in regional areas, landowners who may not want people from other regions to enter their properties because they perceive that it is not safe. This perception needs to be managed with providing landowner with information on how we are maintaining safe work practices.
- When interacting with landowners, observe social distancing requirements. (e.g. 1.5 metres).
- When locking and unlocking gates, you must wipe down the gate or ensure that the crew have gloves on.
- Public relations will need to be planned for.
All quires will be referred to media spokesperson.
Participation by passengers in the balloon pack-up.
If passengers are involved in the pack up, then consider
- Passengers should be reminded about social distancing, including distances from passengers from other companies on a common landing area.
- Use of sanitiser or wearing of disposable gloves may be appropriate if passengers are touching balloon fabric.
- Passengers to continue to wear masks
- Maintain social distancing (e.g. for putting the envelope back in the bag).
- At pack up, we will provide a safe disposal facility for masks and disposable, gloves, disposable wipes etc.
Post flight breakfast
We will not be providing breakfast for the foreseeable future.
We will ensure when venues re-open, we have sighted and approved their COVIDSafe plan for hospitality.
Vehicle & balloon basket cleaning.
Cleaning/vacuuming/sanitising of the bus and basket occur after every flight.
- We maintain records of staff member who performed cleaning.
- We maintain a record of what cleaning needs to be done (by surface area).
- Deep cleaning and sanitisation of bus and basket will occur if through contact tracing we confirm a passenger with COVID-19 has been carried.
Pre-flight Passenger Questionnaire/Waiver:
During the current Coronavirus crisis, we are doing all we can to protect our customers and their families as well as protecting our staff members.
Before you meet with any of our BalloonMan team, please answer the following questions. If you do answer “yes” to any of them, we will contact you to make alternative arrangements for your flight.
This questionnaire and Waiver must be completed by every individual passenger,
and will be provided to each passenger not less than 48 hours prior to scheduled flight.
- Have you recently returned from overseas in the last 14 days? Yes/No
- Have you knowingly come into contact with someone who has returned from overseas in the past 14 days? Yes/No
- Have you knowingly come into contact with someone who has been:
(a) tested for (and waiting for results),
(b) diagnosed with or
(c) exposed to COVID-19 in the past 14 days? Yes/No
- Do you have any symptoms that could be COVID-19 (e.g. fever, cough, runny nose, shortness of breath or other symptoms)? Yes/No
Please advise the pilot if you:
- are currently under a doctor’s supervision
- are currently recovering from a major operation
- suffer from any back problems or any physical condition which may affect your active participation
NB: Balloon Flights Over Melbourne Pty Ltd, trading as BalloonMan and its pilots reserve the right to refuse to fly with any person and need not assign any reason for any such refusal.
ACCEPTANCE OF RISK AND RELEASE
I understand that Balloon Flights Over Melbourne Pty Ltd, trading as BalloonMan makes all reasonable efforts to ensure that its expeditions and flights are conducted in a safe and responsible manner and that it can assume no responsibility for illness, personal injury, loss or damage to camera and other equipment, civil arrest or death by any participant in any one of its expeditions or flights.
Balloon Flights Over Melbourne Pty Ltd, trading as BalloonMan advises that any voluntary entry into a sky sport or hazardous environment, including ballooning, is not without some risk and that I as a potential balloon passenger or crew/chase person must be willing to assume that risk.
Therefore, I the undersigned, acknowledge the inherent risk in a balloon expedition and assume all risk and responsibility for my personal safety or loss or damage to property and I release and discharge Balloon Flights Over Melbourne Pty Ltd, trading as BalloonMan, its servants, agents or employees, from any and all liability for such risks during the course of the ballooning expedition.
I, the undersigned, have read and understood the preceding paragraphs with respect to my acceptance of risk and my release in favour of Balloon Flights Over Melbourne Pty Ltd, trading as BalloonMan.
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