Safety is a big issue in the trampoline park industry as we all know. It has received a lot of press coverage in countries such as the US and the UK due to the growth of the market and the popularity of parks. Therefore, the industry has been under the spotlight and rightly so as no-one wants to see anyone get injured. The International Association of Trampoline Parks (IATP) have been very active in driving forward safety measures and helping members employ best practice when it comes to their business. Any parks wishing to join the IATP now have to meet certain safety criteria for example.
At the IATP conference earlier this year we managed to interview a number of park owners and managers for their views on safety. Bethany Evans from the IATP also kindly spared some time to speak to us too and I hope you find the responses helpful. The actual question asked is below and we have decided to anonymise the quotes as we felt this would be the best way to proceed.
What do Parks need to do to keep Accidents and Serious Injuries in Particular to a Minimum?
There is a lot you can learn from parks. We have benefitted as we come from a leisure background. We have taken a lot of those values and used them for how we operate a trampoline park. That has helped our health and safety and, it’s always at the top of our agenda. The new BSI standards are going to very good for parks. The Court Monitors are key. If companies are more pro-active in how they train their Court Monitors I think we will see a reduction in accidents. I think this is key. The manufacturers are starting to get in line. The Court Monitors, are the people out there so having a pro-active team will really lead to a reduction.
Staff training. They have got be trained properly. First aid training is very important for when the worst does happen so that it minimises the disruption in your park. It’s important to have very tight systems in place to ensure staff are left to their own devices for the least amount of time possible because there are a lot of distractions. So ensuring that those tight processes and systems are there to manage them at a very regular interval, almost constantly. It makes a massive difference because when staff are well supervised and managed that is when injuries are reduced and that has been proven by the introduction of new systems.
I think staff training is the most important thing. We do tests where staff have to get over a certain percentage right of questions right to do with the core safety rules of the park. Then it’s a case of monitoring them, observing them and making sure they are re-training. We do that on a continual basis because it’s very easy for people to get into bad habits. You have to have all the core safety things in place like the waiver stations to make customers aware of the risks. Your safety briefing has to have the correct content. It should be in an enclosed room, free of distractions. At the end of the day it bottles down to the Marshalls so it’s all down to staff training but also things like making sure your capacity isn’t higher than what it should be. Half hour sessions help too as it just means that at any one time there are less people going on and off the park.
The BSI PAS 5000 has just been released, so that is the specification for the construction and operation of trampoline parks. That gives you a framework that allows you to operate a park as safely as you can in the current UK climate. My recommendation to everybody is to get a copy of the PAS and use as the basis of your health and safety case.
The focus of the business has to be on health and safety first and staff training. To some degree the products we use, the socks, the environment you’re in, the lighting all play a part. All these things have to be right because otherwise people will start realising the difference between a good safe nice environment to be in and one that is not. It’s got to be at the forefront of everything we do because otherwise it will break the industry.
It’s all about quality of instructions (handed out to staff and customers), obviously the (safety) videos before they go in, the people looking after the customers who are in the park and, continuing to learn. Just because you don’t have an accident one week, it doesn’t mean you can’t have one the following week. It the nature of the business. We’re in a business where people are active. You can have sprained ankles, knees in the nose, bloody noses but the main thing is to create a simple park where everybody comes to have fun and they don’t go home in an ambulance. A significant aspect of creating my park was to keep it very simple so that everybody that comes here can have a good time.
THE IATP recommends following a standard for your country. In America we have the ASTM standard. Here in the UK we just launched a BSI PAS 5000 which is the minimum standard for parks to operate, maintain, construct, manufacture, etc. So we highly recommend this BSI and moving forward with membership for our Association it will be necessary for parks to meet that minimum standard prior for them to be members of the IATP. So opting to follow the standards is probably the best way to keep your park safe.
Many of the responses had a similar theme. Having the right systems in place including staff training are key to ensuring that accidents are kept to a minimum. It’s an ongoing issue that needs to be constantly monitored as well as reviewed, which makes sense of course. If you have any safety suggestions or tips you would like to share please add a comment below. Any feedback you provide will help other parks to maintain the high standards that we all want to see so that injuries are kept to a minimum.
Please note that the above is meant to be general information and you should refer to the appropriate standards in your country as well as the IATP for more specific advice.
My name is Peter Fuller and I head up Samurai’s Sports Division. At Samurai Trampoline Products we specialise in trampoline socks, party packs, custom clothing, key accessories and retail products. We are the #1 global supplier of branded merchandising products for trampoline parks. Please contact me to find out if you have any questions or queries regarding any of your merchandising requirements.
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