Every year, an estimated 80 million Americans head over to one of the more than 1,000 water parks in the U.S.
Most go home with nothing more than a sunburn. But injuries do happen. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 4,200 people are taken to the emergency room a year from a water park-related injury.
Most (about 86%) water-park injuries involve water slides, and in most cases accidents are caused by high-velocity, slippery slides. But that’s not to suggest that slides are the only exposure facing water parks.
Operational oversights, mistakes, and staff ignorance also present serious risks. In other words, we’re talking about inadequate lifeguard training, improper warnings regarding hazards and poor maintenance.
Those should be rather obvious exposures. Here are five more that, if you’re a water park operator, you need to make sure you don’t overlook:
These are supposed to be readily available to employees, not tucked into a drawer in the general manager’s office. Manufacturers of chemical products are required to provide you with MSDSs at no charge on request. The MSDS describes the product, its chemical composition, and the appropriate emergency response actions to be taken if a person comes in contact with, swallows, or inhales the product. MSDSs should be posted in all areas where chemicals are used or stored. A right-to-know information station is an obvious and accessible way to post MSDS information.
You’re no doubt using compressed gas cylinders containing CO2 for sodas, helium for balloons, and/or acetylene for welding. If one of these cylinders were to fall over and have its neck valve broken, it can slam through reinforced concrete walls like a torpedo. Your solution? Install a secured restraining chain around the cylinder. Its cost will be negligible.
Another common problem is the improper storage of flammable or volatile materials in plastic containers. For example, storing gasoline in plastic containers that are approved for home or private use is not OK for business or commercial use. You’ll need a metal container. Furthermore, all flammable materials – that includes solvents and paints – should be stored in a fireproof storage unit, not in an office storage cabinet.
Make certain that you have an adequately stocked first aid kit. That includes latex rubber gloves, face/mouth shields or masks, and a first aid treatment guide.
Most water parks do not have accident/incident reporting forms on hand that provide vital information about the accident. However, this information – which includes time of injury, severity of injury, time of day, the sequence of events, etc. – is critical and can be invaluable in investigating accidents when preparing to defend a personal injury lawsuit.
Lawsuits in general can be more easily defended if you can provide documentation that your employees are properly trained, that your park is routinely maintained, and that you’ve complied with accepted safety standards and passed periodic inspections.
Scott Carlson is a Vice President at CCIG. Reach him at ScottC@thinkccig.com or 720-330-7925.
CCIG is a Denver-area insurance brokerage with personal and business insurance clients nationwide. We do more than make sure you have the right policy. We also help you lower your long-term cost of insurance with our risk and claims management expertise and a commitment to service excellence.