Go Kart Safety – A Closer Look at Seat Belts

Many Family Entertainment Centers insured by SterlingRisk have Go Karts as part of their attractions package for their patrons to enjoy. For people too young to drive or for experienced drivers, go karts offer fun and enjoyment during their visit to your FEC.

Example of go kart seatbelt where the padding is too worn

Example A: Frayed and worn material

Overall and in general, the go karts I inspect are in good condition. There are many points of inspection that need to carried out on a daily basis but for this article we are talking about seat belts.

Let’s start with the webbing.

1. The webbing should be free of visible fraying (see example A), rips, tears and excessive wear.

2. On the part of the seat belt that goes over the shoulders there is a padded section that needs to be carefully maintained (example B). This padding usually wears on the inside of the belts that will come in contact with the riders’ neck and cause lacerations or burns if not properly maintained.

Example of go kart seatbelt where the padding is too worn

Example B: Worn padding

The buckles should not show any signs of excessive wear, should be free of cracks, the buckle should be complete and make sure it functions properly when buckled and released.

The stitching should be visibly intact and free of loose or pulled threads.

The seat belts should be properly anchored and secured to the seating area (example C).  There should be no signs of additional wear or excessive damage and they should be unsoiled and clean in appearance.

If a seat belt fails any of the inspection criteria listed above or is not installed according to the manufacturers instructions it should be replaced.

Example of go kart seatbelt where there is excessive wear at the the attachment point

Example C: Excessive wear at seat belt attachment

Remember to have your trained mechanic perform the daily preventive maintenance procedure in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.  There should be no deviation from the manufacturer’s maintenance procedures unless written permission is given from the manufacturer.

A go kart is made up of several safety systems working together to provide the patron with a safe and enjoyable experience.  This particular member of the go kart safety system is essential for keeping the rider secured in the go kart and to prevent excessive movement of the body and/or ejection from the vehicle.  To put it bluntly, faulty seat belts can cause serious injury or death–neither of which is conducive to a safe and profitable operation.

If there is anything I can do assist you with a problem, please feel free to contact me at kvondriska@essentialsp.com.

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 kvondriska@essentialsp.com.

FEC Safety Assignment: “Inspect Thyself”

Writing FEC safety articles every month is demanding, especially if your schedule very demanding.  However, finding topics to write about is easy.  Over the past 7 ½ years I’ve inspected over 1,000 family entertainment centers nationwide.  My collection of interesting photos is vast and the kinds of safety problems are interesting, although at times scary.  Some of the things I find, I should not be finding.

So rather than bore with the typical safety related topic, I’m going to give all the readers a field assignment.  I know for a fact, because I hear it all of the time that your FEC is safe and finding a few discrepancies would be difficult.  So with that thought in mind, here is your assignment.

The next time you go to the grocery store, Wal Mart, Office Depot, Lowes, McDonald’s, the quick mart for gas, take your children to school, dry cleaners, car wash, hardware store, theater, etc., perform a simple safety inspection and see how these business stack up against your FEC.  Look them over with a very critical eye for safety and aesthetics.  Your mission is to find as many safety hazards with the business as possible.

It’s simple.  Here are questions to be asking yourself:

1. When you enter the parking lot is there adequate lighting and directional signage?

2. Are the parking spaces well marked including the handicapped spaces?

3. Is the pavement well maintained to prevent trips and falls?

4. Upon entering the business are floors well maintained and dry not causing any slip, trip or fall hazards

5. Are any sharp edges, broken glass or objects sticking out causing a laceration hazard?

6. Are the fire extinguishers are fully charges and safety pin is in place?

7. Are the lighted exit signs, in fact lighted?

8. If you can easily reach them, press the test button on the emergency light pack to see if it lights? This drives my wife nuts, I’m always lighting these thing up.

9. Are the trash receptacles overflowing?

10. Are there any dimly lit areas?

11. If electrical outlets and wall switches are visible, do they look to be in good condition, i.e.; covers in place, cords not frayed, etc.

12. If you use the restroom, is it clean, are the floors dry, are the mirrors in good condition, the stall doors hanging correctly, etc?

Basically look the business over from top to bottom and ask yourself, is this business safe enough to bring my family to? And if you do find something; let the manager know about it.

Now here is the most difficult part of the assignment.  Inspect your FEC with the same critical eye for detail.  Everyone’s child is the most beautiful thing in the world, even if it has three ears and wart on its nose.  If you’re honest with yourself and your FEC, you will only improve the quality and beauty of it.  And the best side product is that it may increase your business.

You don’t have to be an OSHA or building inspector to perform this task.  If you are a practical person with common sense you will do an excellent job.  Many of us do this for a living and have years of training and experience.  If you do decide to try this, I would be interested to hear about your experience.  It might make a good follow up article.

If you would like a little help with the assignment send me an email at kvondriska@essentialsp.com and I’ll send you a copy of the checklist I use when I perform an FEC inspection.

Accident Investigation Planning – The next step

Accidents happen.  Sooner or later an accident will happen at your Family Entertainment Center or Bowling Center.  It may be a minor trip & fall or laceration.  It may be a more serious accident that requires the visitor to be transported to the hospital.  It may not involve a visitor or employee, such as a fire in the middle of the night.  Whatever the accident, it will have to be investigated.  Below is a simple outline for an FEC Accident Investigation Plan.

In the event of an accident

1. The owner or a supervisor must be notified immediately.  If you are the injured employee and can not, then a co-worker must do so.

2. The owner or supervisor will notify outside agencies or call 911. If there is no supervisor available then find a safety committee member and they will make the appropriate notifications.

3. The owner or supervisor and a designated safety committee member will conduct the investigation.

4. All accident investigators receive should receive a minimum of four hours of accident investigation training.

5. All accident investigation reports go to the owner with copies going to the supervisor and the safety committee.

6. All accident investigation will begin as soon as the injured employee has been taken care of and the supervisor has determined that the accident scene is safe to enter.

7. An accident investigation kit should be located in a convenient location.

Accident Investigation Procedures

Once the accident scene has been secured to preserve the evidence, all accident investigations will be conducted in accordance with the following procedures.

1. Gathering Information and Analyzing Facts: Pictures, video, and or sketches of the scene, that may have valuable information, will be conducted.

2. Analyzing Facts: All of the gathered information will be analyzed, symptoms identified, and root causes documented.

3. An Accident Investigation Report will be written: Each report will include the following:

Section 1: Background / Introduction

Section 2: Description of Accident

Section 3: Findings

Section 4: Recommendations

Section 5: Summary

4. Taking Corrective Action: The owner, supervisor, and/or safety committee will review each accident investigation and take appropriate corrective action to prevent a repeat of that accident.

5. Follow Up: The safety committee will conduct a follow up evaluation of the corrective action to ensure that the causes for the accident have been properly addressed.

6. Critical Review: Once each year, the safety committee will conduct a critical review of the entire accident investigation program and make recommendations for changes that will improve the effectiveness of these investigations.

If you have any questions regarding Accident Investigation Planning, you can contact me at kvondriska@essentialsp.com.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Safety Committees

Safety Committees

Regardless of the size of your FEC, a properly organized and managed safety committee is a valuable tool for use in preventing accidents. Because of its adaptability, the safely committee is described in more detail below. Some or all the functions described may be performed differently and should be customized to the size of your FEC.

What is a Safety Committee?

A safety committee is a group of employees appointed to aid and advise management on matters of worker and patron safety. It is important that the owner or a member of management participate in the organization of the Safety Meetings.

A chairman of the committee should be chosen and then hold regular monthly meetings at which recommendations, accidents, records, and program plans are discussed. The committee should make monthly inspections on selected areas paying special attention to the safety committee aims chosen for that month.

Why a Safety Committee?

A safety committee does not take away supervisors’ responsibility for safety and health, but it does help them in their constant effort to prevent injuries and illness.  The on-the-job experience of the committee members is available in determining hazardous conditions and methods of work, suggesting corrective measures and obtaining cooperation of all personnel.  By observing, thinking, and discussing, the committee provides the stimulation and suggestions necessary to maintain safe and healthy environment for patrons and employees alike.

What Does the Safety Committee Do?

The successful safety committee plans activities that are guided by the loss control program. The activities are determined by the size of the committee and the policies set by the group.

It is advisable to establish definite policies at the time the committee is organized. These policies should include some or all of the following items:

1.   Establish procedures for handling committee suggestions and recommendations
2. Conduct regularly scheduled meetings to discuss accident prevention methods, safety promotion, items noted on an inspection, injury records, and other pertinent subjects.
3. Conduct a monthly inspection of selected areas of the establishment to discover accident sources and hazards.
4.   Investigate accidents for means of preventing reoccurrence
5.   Provide information in regards to safe working methods and practices
6.  Recommend changes or additions to protective equipment or devices to eliminate hazards.
7.   Develop or revise practices and rules to comply with current safety and health needs
8.   Promote safety and first aid training for committee members and workers.
9.   Participate in advertising and selling safety and health to the workers
10. Keep records of minutes of meetings.

SterlingRisk 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.