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Policies and Procedures for Catalyst Living Skills

  • Safe Workplace

  • Expected Behaviour

  • New Clients

  • Child Protection

  • First Aid

  • Confidentiality and documentation

  • Risk Assessment

  • Inclement Weather

  • Price List

  • Cancellations

  • Feedback and complaints

Safe Workplace


To manage any risks to the health and safety of workers, customers, visitors and animals at Catalyst Living Skills, 960 Old Cooma Road, GOOGONG NSW 2620 (The Property).

This will be achieved by Catalyst Living Skills providing and maintaining.

  • a safe work environment

  • safe equipment and structures

  • safe ways of working

  • ensure safe use, handling and storage of equipment, structures and substances

  • adequate facilities

  • information, training, instruction or supervision needed for safety

together with the ongoing monitoring of the health of workers and conditions at the workplace.

Your WHS obligations.

People working and visiting the Property also have WHS obligations. They must:

  • take care of their own health and safety

  • take care not to do anything that could hurt others

  • follow WHS instructions

  • follow the workplace’s WHS policies and procedures.

Workplace procedures

  • Have current insurances and clearances including NSW Workcover, Professional Indemnity and Public Indemnity Working with Children and Vulnerable People’s checks for ACT and NSW.

  • Maintain through regular inspection and repair or replace the landscape, equipment, building, fencing and gates of the Property.

  • Ensure all the animals at the Property are appropriately cared for including food, water, warmth, protection, shelter, and access to veterinary care when required.

  • Horses participating in all CATALYST LIVING SKILLS sessions have been assessed as appropriate based on experience of their quietness, lack of vices and ability to handle.

  • All workers/visitors wishing to enter the gated paddock areas (including parents, support workers and carers) must complete a waiver form prior to or on arrival at the Property.  Information sheet will be given to all clients/workers on how to access a copy of policies and procedures on the Catalyst Living Skills website.A hard copy of the policies and procedures to be available in the shipping container and in classroom at the Property.

  • Workers are not permitted to access the paddocks unsupervised unless they have completed a safety orientation training and have satisfied that they have achieved the necessary competence to handle the horses without supervision.

  • Visitors are not permitted to access the paddocks unsupervised.

  • Areas that are out of bounds to workers or clients will be clearly identified.

Expected Behaviour

Catalyst Living Skills is committed to ensuring a a safe and pleasant work environment that is free from discrimination, bullying and harassment for everyone at the Property (workers, clients, visitors, and animals). 

Everyone is expected to always behave in a manner that is respectful, kind, free from violence and aggression towards both humans, animals, and property when present at the Property.


  • Everyone is expected to always behave in a reasonable and professional manner and to be fair and honest in the dealings with others.

  • Everyone is expected to always treat others with dignity, courtesy, and respect; listen and respond appropriately to the views and concerns of others; and respect the opinions and beliefs of others;

  • Any verbal or physical aggression will not be tolerated and there will be a zero-tolerance approach taken with either the offending parties being asked to leave the Property, or the Police or other appropriate authorities contacted.

  • Workers must dress appropriately (appropriate dress would include enclosed shoes or boots, uniform shirt and or fleece, wide brimmed hat.

  • Clients are required to wear enclosed shoes or boots (preferred), trousers, warm and/or waterproof clothing in the winter and long-sleeved shirts in the summer.A hat and sunglasses.

  • Any grievances should be raised as soon as possible and can be discussed, and a mutually appropriate solution sought.  Refer to Feedback and complaints policy.

New Clients

To deliver a professional, safe, and efficient service



  • New client contacts will be made by website contact or phone call.

  • The client will be telephoned promptly (within 3 working days) for a discussion of potential client and explanation of how the program may work for them.The discussion will include a brief outline of EAL and how it may be helpful.Make clear this is not a riding school.Occasionally where appropriate a mounted experience may be offered however the focus is on the experience of the horse and the client in the moment and life learning lessons.
    Fitness/health, mobility and cognition will be discussed.  Currently Catalyst Living Skills cannot accommodate clients who have difficulty following instructions, use a wheelchair or those with significant balance problems due to the unevenness of the paddocks.

  • If it is agreed that the client would be interested in either a come and see visit or an assessment the client will be asked to complete the client information form together with the waiver.A safety discussion must be included particularly in relation to the need for the client to be able to follow instructions and to stay safe and appropriate clothing.

  • Purpose of assessment is to establish what the client would like to achieve through EAL and ensure that an appropriate program is developed for them.It also gives the client the opportunity to experience EAL and to decide if it is appropriate for them.

  • If Catalyst Living Skills decide the client may not be suitable for EAL, we will explain why.

  • Meet and greet session – this is an informal free half hour session which shouldn’t take more than half an hour.  It is an opportunity to be shown around the property, to meet the horses and have the opportunity to discuss things in a bit more detail.    If the client wants to proceed an assessment appointment will be organised.

  • The assessment is approximately one hour long and will include a questionnaire and chat to establish the client’s goals and expectations.  This will be followed by a few activities with a horse to establish the client’s mobility, ability to follow instructions and general interest.  A short report will be provided  to make recommendations about the proposed way forward for the client.  If this is the first time at the Property you will be asked to complete the waiver prior to arrival and during the chat will be provided with an information sheet that provides details about EAL, our policies.

  • Each session.  Sessions are generally one to two hours, although for some people half an hour is enough.  A one-hour session would usually run for about 45 minutes with a discussion at the beginning followed by some reflection at the end.  The discussion and/or reflection is likely to include a creative activity.

  • An agreed number of sessions with agreed goals will be planned.A review of sessions will be undertaken in the penultimate session to discuss progress, whether they wish to continue and the revision of goals.If a client wishes to discontinue attending sessions at least 48 hours notice must be provided.

Child Protection


All activities delivered by Catalyst Living Skills are guided by the 10 Child Safe Standards:

  1. Child safety is embedded in organisational leadership, governance and culture

  2. Children participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously

  3. Families and communities are informed and involved

  4. Equity is upheld and diverse needs are taken into account

  5. People working with children are suitable and supported

  6. Processes to respond to complaints of child abuse are child-focused

  7. Staff are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children safe through continual education and training

  8. Physical and online environments minimise the opportunity for abuse to occur

  9. Implementation of the Child Safe Standards is continuously reviewed and improved

  10. Policies and procedures document how the organisation is child safe.

To ensure the ongoing safety to children, young people and vulnerable people attending the Property .


  • Register as a Child Related Employer with the Working with Children Check system in NSW. 

Employer ID No. REG0065148

  • All employees and volunteers will be added to the register, current certificates and an annual verification check undertaken.

This procedure details the steps Catalyst Living Skills will take to ensure there is assessment of children and young people and vulnerable persons and where abuse (neglect/ emotional/ sexual/ physical/domestic and family violence) is suspected (no requirement to prove) by admissions made by either children or adults, employees of Catalyst Living Skills will report to Department of Family Services and Police as mandated by legislation.

Anonymity is afforded to all reporters.


  • If any form of abuse is suspected or disclosed

  • If employees of Catalyst Living Skills believe it is not in the best interests of the child/young person/ adult or vulnerable person or to them as employees of Catalyst Living Skills to make a report at that time (due to a risk of personal safety for example), then a report may be made at a later time/date. It may be necessary for employees of Catalyst Living Skills to make an immediate report and to notify Police if there is risk to life and safety whilst the child/ young person/ adult/ vulnerable person is on the premises of Catalyst Living Skills.

  • Ensure any employees making reports are offered professional counselling support and can debrief their concerns and the event.

  • Document any concerns raised and actions taken.

First Aid


Catalyst Living Skills is committed to ensuring the safety of employees, clients and visitors attending the Property to participate in equine assisted learning sessions. 




  • Provision of trained first aiders, adequate and appropriate first aid equipment and necessary lifesaving equipment

  • All facilitators delivering EAL sessions to be trained in First Aid.First aiders will undergo training every 3 years. First Aid Certified Training Certificates of First Aiders will be displayed in Classroom.Accident/incident report book to be kept in classroom.

  • All facilitators will be required to have a mobile phone during the session to use in case of an accident.

  • Standard first aid equipment for clients to be stored in a box at entrance to two bottom paddock arenas, horse tie up area, shipping contain, top arena and in school classroom.Equipment to be checked monthly for good working order and expiry dates.Additional bottles of sterile saline to be included in kit. Horse First Aid Equipment to be stored in shipping container.

  • An Asthma Management Kit (with Ventolin and spacer) and Snake Bite Kit will be stored (in the shipping container) always on site and available.

  • Ensure First aid will be delivered as per St John Ambulance Training (First Aid Statement of Attainment – HLTAID009 Provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation, HLTAID010 Provide basic emergency life support, HLTAID011 Provide first aid).

  • Ensure if the employee/ client/ visitor requires to attend hospital that they will be liable for any ambulance costs.

  • Ensure an incident report is completed for every first aid intervention and outcome followed up by Catalyst Living Skills Director

  • Ensure next of kin is notified of any incident, where the client has required first aid treatment. For clients over the age of 18 years old this will be discretionary (e.g minor incident no need to inform but for a major incident for example head injury, a next of kin would be informed).

  • Riding helmets do not need to be worn by clients when undertaking on the ground activities, as this will impede with the sensory experience with the horses.Helmets must be worn as part of a mounted experience .CLS employees will ensure the horse safety guideline is discussed and this involves practising regulation and awareness, and this will mitigate any risks of safety to the employee, client, or horse. It is understood however, that horses are unpredictable, and safety cannot be 100% guaranteed and a waiver must be signed.



To ensure the ongoing safety of employees, clients and visitors to Catalyst Living Skills and the animals who call the Property home. CLS is mindful of Internal and External emergencies that may occur and how these emergencies are managed.


Internal emergencies

  • Fire within buildings - provide smoke alarms and fire extinguishers in building areas accessed by employees, clients, and visitors

  • Develop a plan of the Property and identify evacuation points.

  • Develop a fire and emergency drill and practice once a year

External emergencies


  • Extreme weather events or fires.Check the weather and if inclement weather predicted plan indoor activities to align with client goals.

  • Sessions will be cancelled when extreme heat/fire conditions are ruled SEVERE or CATASTROPIC.Clients will be contacted for their sessions to be rescheduled or cancelled and a refund/credit offered to those clients who have prepaid.

  • Develop a plan of the Property and identify evacuation points.

  • Catalyst Living Skills will manage other unanticipated emergencies depending upon individual circumstances and requesting assistance from the emergency services (police/ fire or ambulance) as required.

Confidentiality and Documentation

Ensuring your private and personal information (written/ electronic) remains confidential and stored securely in line with the Privacy Act of 1988 -


Information will only be released to a third party as set out in the above Privacy Act or when requested by the appropriate authority or when Catalyst Living Skills believes it is necessary when there is a risk of harm to the employees’, client, or visitors.



  • Personal client information is stored securely and remains confidential unless requested by a third party as described above.


  • Maintain client confidential information that is written or signed (such as waivers etc) in a secure location.

  • Information will only be released to a third party as set out in the privacy act when requested by the appropriate authority or when Catalyst Living Skills believes it is necessary when there is a risk of harm to the employees, client, or visitors to the Property.

  • Clients will be asked to agree for their image to be used for social media purposes. Clients can sign a waiver explicitly stating they do not want to be in any media promotions even if they will be de-identified. Reference:

Risk Assessment


Ensuring continual risk assessment whilst employees, clients and visitors are at CLS in a capacity of providing therapy, attending therapy, or accompanying a client as a visitor.

This risk assessment is to ensure suitably qualified employees only offer services to not cause psychological or physical harm to others and (they) as employees are not harmed whilst attending Catalyst Living Skills.



  • To have facilitators who have appropriate experience and have undertaken training in Equine Assisted Learning and continue to undertake continuing education.

  • Repeating agenda item for staff meetings

  • All employees (and clients/ visitors are encouraged to bring to the attention any concerns) will report any risks for Ruth Cotton (as owner) or her delegate to investigate, address and rectify.

  • Regular risk matrix and reported to be completed at every session.

  • Appropriate Workers Compensation, Professional Indemnity and Public Liability Insurance.
    All Insurance certificates will be displayed in the classroom.

Inclement Weather Policy


Ensuring the ongoing safety of employees, clients and visitors to Catalyst Living Skills and the animals who call the Property home.




  • Rain, snow, high winds and high temperatures affect both the horses and humans, and it may not be conducive to safe and pleasant sessions for everyone. Regular attendance to Catalyst Living Skills is important to many of our clients and we are keen to maintain that contact rather than cancel.


  • Sessions will continue to be offered, however they will be undertaken in a comfortable environment within the house.Creative activities aligned with the client’s goals will be undertaken.


  • Clients will be able to interact with the dogs and possibly interact with the sheep and chickens depending on their interest and the environmental circumstances.


Cancellations and Rescheduling


Personal reasons and illness happen to us all and we will try to accommodate these by rescheduling where we can.  If 48 hours’ notice by telephone, text message or email is provided we will not charge for the session.  If an advance payment has been made, we can either refund or credit the cost of the session. 





  • If a cancellation notice is less than 48 hours, 50% of the payment only will be refunded (if prepaid) or charged.If less than 24 hours notice is given the session will be charged in full.

  • If Catalyst Living Skills has to cancel the session due to reasons beyond their control, there will be an option to reschedule and for those clients who have prepaid to have a refund or credit.

  • Refunds or credits aren’t available for prepaid group programs that are run on a term basis.If you wish to withdraw from the class please have a chat with us and we can see what we can do and if the class you want to leave has a wait list.


Feedback and Complaints


Everyone makes mistakes and while we wish we were perfect sometimes we get things wrong.  A lot of the time we know straight away and can fix things but occasionally the only way we can know is if someone tells us.


At Catalyst Living Skills we are always trying to make things better and we want everyone to contribute to make things the best we can be.  So please let us know if you aren’t comfortable with something, can see a way for us to do something better or find something boring please talk to us and we will do our best to listen and learn.





  • Provide a link on website to provide feedback.


  • Workers should never force someone to do something they aren’t comfortable with.


  • If you have a complaint or wish to provide any feedback (positive or negative), you can do so anonymously or provide your name and complete the feedback form with any issues. We promise to provide a response within 72 hours.We will also listen and learn from your feedback and change if reasonable to do so.

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