Yes the ole health and safety can be a little tricky,I own and run an adventure tourism business just out of Martinborough,we run quad bike tours and target rifle shooting for corporate groups on a local farm so I am pretty familiar with writing up safety management plans for different locations we run.
So things I think we should consider are as follows:
First thing we would need to do is make up a hazard identification chart for each location, listing all identified hazards such as shafts and tunnels,unstable cliff faces,flash flood zones,drop offs,slippery rocks,safe road and walking access,clean water source and safe places to camp and park etc.Next list cause and/or effect of every hazard such risk of falling ,drowning,entrapment,debris landing on your noggin etc…and finally a way of eliminating,minimizing or managing risk associated with this hazard.
Best way is by eliminating hazard all together and in our case will mean carefully selecting a good safe location for an accessible claim site,making clear where "No go zones"are located ensuring people don’t go into high risk areas in the first place.
All other hazards would need to be notified,so when Joe public comes on site they are aware of each hazard,a list of notified hazards could be on a print out form which they would have to sign to say they have read and understood before they are given their miners right to prospect.This all would then be written up in the form of a safety management plan and reviewed annually.
You cannot really be sued in NZ as we have ACC but you can be done for gross negligence or failure of duty of care and be slapped with some large fines.
We look at each aspect like this…if there was a major accident and someone was badly injured or even killed on one of the claims, we were taken to court and stood before the judge…and he/she looked down on us and asked what actions we had taken to prevent this accident from happening…if you then explained that we had a done a full hazard identification chart for each location,taken steps to manage each hazard and notified the victim of these hazards before they entered the site in accordance with our current safety management plan then I suspect that the judge would review the case and conclude that we had taken every possible step we could to prevent this accident and no charges would be laid. As apposed to the US where victim would simply sue your sorry arse!!
We have done this to 3 sites we run off,also taking out some sort of liability insurance to cover punitive damages would be a good idea(around $850 per year)just in case a visitor starts a forest fire or chases stock off a cliff etc.
Set up as a company can hold directors responsible so might be better to set up as an incorporation or association with board members voted in?
NZ Gold Fossickers Association or NZGFA ?