Franz Josef Glacier Guides prides itself on its commitment to visitor safety.  It is the number one focus of our team every day to ensure to the best of our ability the safety of our guests while travelling with us.  It's that simple!  But if you want to know more, read on.

FJ HELI HIKE 2012 009 smlThe Franz Josef Glacier is an absolutely stunning place to visit however glaciers can be inherently dangerous places as well. For this reason safety on all our tours is absolute paramount.  We are very proud of our Safety Management Systems that we employ and continue to improve.

Franz Josef Glacier Guides has its Safety Management Systems externally and internally audited onsite several times a year.  We choose to use industry leaders to conduct these such as;

  • Qualmark - New Zealand tourism's official quality control agency.  It licenses professional and trustworthy New Zealand tourism businesses to use 'the Qualmark' - tourism's official 'quality mark', only when the highest standards of operational excellence are met.
  • Telarc New Zealand - provides an independent process for assessing the robustness of operational safety policies, procedures and practices for alignment with currently accepted outdoors community standards.

We also conduct on-going self-assessments of our systems and our guiding team to ensure not just a safe experience but a quality experience.

Clients are provided with the best glacier equipment available for their tours.  Our guides are all fully trained in First Aid and carry a First Aid kit with them on every tour.  Safety barrels complete with ropes, harnesses and rescue equipment are distributed in discreet areas of the glacier for emergency situations.

Staff training

A great safety culture is one of the most important aspects of Franz Glacier Guides staff and training.

We choose passionate staff from all walks of life, our team tend to come from strong personal outdoors experience or an adventure tourism background and bring a lot of skills with them.

New employees go through a rigorous set of training and assessments, this takes several weeks before they start a guiding apprenticeship with senior staff.  Training, reviews and assessments are on-going for all staff no matter how long they have been in the business.

Our guides either hold the Hard Ice Guide certification or are working towards it.  This certification is conducted through the internationally recognised New Zealand Mountain Guides Association(NZMGA).  Our business along with other NZ glacier guiding companies were key drivers in developing the glacier guiding qualifications pathway, in collaboration with the NZMGA.

Independent Health and Safety Audits

Going that next step means as a business we are continually looking for ways to improve.  Franz Josef Glacier Guides has recently been awarded Telarc  New Zealand certification for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems AS-NZS 4801.  This benefits the health and safety of our team; and in turn our guests who travel with them.

Franz Josef Glacier Guides has also been audited and has passed the Adventure Tourism Regulation Audit.  The Health and Safety in Employment (Adventure Activities) Regulations 2011 aim was to address safety gaps identified in the Adventure Tourism Review to help keep New Zealanders and overseas tourists safe.

The regulations require commercial adventure activity operators in New Zealand to be safety audited and registered in order to provide an adventure activity in return for payment.  Franz Josef Glacier Guides completed this in October 2013 a full year before this became compulsory.