Steps You Can Take to Prevent Trips and Falls

Since I began inspecting Family Entertainment Centers for the insured’s of  the SterlingRisk Family Entertainment Center Safety Association insurance program, I have visited over 1,000 FEC’s in the past 7 ½ years.  I find it hard to believe that I’ve flown, driven, walked, climbed and crawled that many miles.  For the most part the vast majority of FEC’s I’ve seen are in good shape.

To give you some idea what this means, I’ve looked at over 310 arcades or 11,914 games, 131 FEC’s with go karts or 228 tracks and over 3,190 karts, 182 FEC’s with mini golf or 255 courses and over 4,064 mini golf holes, 108 FEC’s with batting cages or 649 cages and the list goes on.  I began to keep track about 5½ years ago, so this does not reflect the total amount of FEC’s I’ve inspected and many FEC’s I see every year.

From this experience I’ve learned that trips & falls and laceration hazards make up the majority of the problems I find.  This is followed by emergency lights and lighted exit signs that do not work and fire extinguishers that are undercharged or damaged and need to be serviced.  Then there are the too numerous to count blocked electrical panels, transformers with everything piled on top of them from televisions, to paint, to paper products and of course the ever popular electrical panels that are missing breaker blanks or missing the front cover exposing the buss bar to patrons and employees.  And this just covers the facilities themselves—not the attractions.

Trips & falls and laceration hazards are easy to find and requires someone with a keen eye to walk the facility everyday and find them…and of course, repair them.  The emergency lights and lighted exit signs along with the fire extinguishers should be checked monthly.  To help keep your facility safe here are a few more tips to consider:

1. Have all policies and procedures in place to include emergency action plan, incident report log, daily maintenance procedures and training procedure guidelines.

2, Make sure there is a first aid kit in a central location that is easily accessible to all staff.

3. Make sure all safety related signage is in place, as well as general safety rules for the facility.  This signage should be mounted on or near each attraction, in the area where instructions are given and in the party rooms.

4. Have your evacuation, fire extinguisher and fire alarm plans in place and posted in each party room, each play arena and other areas of the facility.

5. Rechargeable flashlights should be placed in several locations throughout the facility.  Even though there are emergency lights, there are always dark corners and areas when the power is off.

It’s difficult to cover a lot of ground in a monthly column.  So over the next several months I will be talking about more specific problems I find as well as problems with the attractions themselves such as go karts, mini golf, batting cages, etc.  I hope everyone finds this information helpful.  If there is anything I can do assist you with a problem, please to contact me at

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