Family Fun Center Safety: When is ‘Safe’ Not Enough?

In 2008 a young woman was partially scalped when her long hair got caught in the drive mechanism of a go kart in southern Utah. She survived – but had to endure 50 staples, plastic surgery and had to have her left ear reattached. The doctors said she’ll make a full recovery, but will probably never overcome the emotional injuries.  This safety warning was on each go kart “DANGER Hair longer than shoulder length must be secured above shoulder.  Keep arms and legs in kart at all times.”  (A similar injury occurred at a go kart track in northern Washington State in 2007).

While not fun to read, these situations are all too real. Even the safety rules and regulation sign contained the warning about long hair. So, what happened here?  The safety warning signs were in place, true, but what about the operators?  Whenever we hear about an incident like this, our first thoughts are training, taining and even more training! You can never over-train your employees.

Another piece of the training puzzle is supervision.  Here are some important questions to ask:

• How well are your employees supervised?

• Is there a supervisor on site at all times?

• How well is the supervisor trained?

• Is the supervisor a responsible, well trained adult, or just one of the operators with the most time on the job?

Develop a Training Manual for Employees

Training should be done from the company approved training manual. Regardless of your facilities size, a formal training manual should be in place and used frequently.

Throughout the year, our safety expert visits many “true” family-owned and operated family fun centers.  They’re small and in many cases only family members work at them. Even in this situation, a formal training manual should be developed and utilized.  All employees, EVEN THE OWNERS, should be trained.

On file should be the documents signed and dated by each person that they have read, understand and will adhere the policies, procedures and the training they received.  And each time they are given additional training, the documentation should be updated.

Training should be performed with all new employees or newly promoted supervisors, and whenever there is a change in the operating procedures of the attraction or in the general operation of the family entertainment center.  We recommend that training should take place every three months for all employees and owners (we all have short retention spans, to some extent).  Training should also be performed when an incident takes place on an attraction or at the FEC.

The bottom line?  Training should be taken very seriously and done very often to keep your guests and employees safe.

Sterling & Sterling, Inc. is ranked as one of the top 50 Privately Held Insurance Brokerages in the United States. We help our clients reduce risk and spend less with our unique Risk Profile System®. By using these tools, on average, we have saved our clients 25% on their overall insurance costs. To see how we can help you create a safer, more successful family entertainment center, reach out to one of our insurance professionals today by contacting us here or calling toll free at (800) 767-7837.

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