Inflatables and youth events go hand in hand, from jumping castles to sumo suits to bubble soccer. Regardless to the type of inflatable you may wish to use, there are a number of risks and hazards associated with their use. The responsibility falls to you and your team to make sure that these activities run safely.
So, you have had your event team meeting and ‘Joe’ has volunteered to call the hire company to organise delivery of a jumping castle. ‘Sarah’ will be assigned to watching/managing the kids – job done! Unfortunately, there is more to it than that.
We would like to highlight four key areas that you need to consider when deciding to use this type of equipment:
1. Hiring Equipment
2. Purchasing Equipment
4. Risk Management
1. Hiring equipment
Hiring jumping castles or other inflatable equipment for events is often the preferred option of many churches. It is important, however, that someone in your team is responsible for seeking permission from church leadership, and to also ensure that your Church Public Liability policy will extend to your activity.
The company who is hiring the equipment to you should provide you and your team with full instruction with regard to the safe use of the equipment. Responsible adult supervisors should be well aware of their role and responsibility for monitoring the safe use of the equipment. A clear risk assessment document will clearly identify what could possibly go wrong, and how you would go about reducing that possibility.
You should be requesting a copy of a Public Liability Certificate of Currency from the provider of the hire equipment, to ensure that they have appropriate insurance in place for their business and equipment.
In some states of Australia, businesses who are providing inflatable amusements for hire are required to ensure that their equipment is design registered in Australia.
2. Purchasing equipment
Some churches decide to purchase their own equipment. In this instance, you need to be mindful that this will increase your liability responsibilities.
In most cases, your Church insurer may be happy to extend Public Liability cover to this equipment providing the equipment is for your own ‘in-house’ use only (please check this with your specific Insurance provider). Equipment that is purchased with the intention to hire or loan it out to other churches, youth groups, community or family events, will often fall outside of the cover provided by your church policy, and it is highly likely that a claim arising out of this type of arrangement may not be covered by your Public Liability. You may be required to purchase a separate insurance policy specifically for the hire of your inflatable equipment. This can often be quite costly.
When purchasing equipment for your Church, beware of cheap overseas imports. You should ensure that your equipment meets Australian Standards.
Successful running of an inflatable activity rests on three important things
Your team needs to be clearly instructed in what their role involves. Make sure they are aware of the rules for use of the equipment, which may include age restrictions, curbing rough play and being clear on WH&S rules in relation to the setup and pack down of the equipment
A large number of claims arise as a result of poor supervision.
ACS Financial has managed numerous jumping castle claims that have come about as a result of poor team communication or plain tomfoolery. For example:
(a) A Youth Pastor suffered a significant personal injury and caused damage to hired equipment after jumping off the church roof onto a jumping castle.
(b) A young child had their tooth knocked out whilst on a jumping castle when older teenagers were allowed on at the same time and to engage in rough play and wrestling. This accident was the result of poor supervision.
Both of these incidents could have been avoided, or the loss significantly reduced had the teams in charge of the activity been clearly instructed in their responsibilities and confident in their authority to restrict this type of behaviour.
4. Risk Management
Following are some risk management tips for your team to help ensure that jumping castles and other inflatable amusements can be run safely. We strongly encourage you to call your insurance provider to ensure that your team has covered off safety and protection aspects so that your jumping castle or inflatable activity will be run successfully.
Jumping Castle Risk Management Tips:
Tip #1 is the equipment set up properly?
Tip #2 have teams been clearly instructed on appropriate use? Enforce the rules.
Tip #3 bump in / out – are OH&S guidelines being followed with regard to heavy lifting etc
Tip #4 when not in use either deflate the equipment or pack it down completely
Tip #5 if equipment is being used outdoors, monitor weather conditions carefully and take appropriate action (immediately deflate in cases of wet weather or high winds)
Tip # 5 Incident reporting – does our whole team know what to do if someone injures themselves?
# Risk Assessment – Jumping Castles
There are many questions that an Event Management team need to focus on when it comes to performing a ‘Risk Assessment’. If you would like a comprehensive risk assessment guide for Jumping Castles to contact the team at www.acsfinancial.com.au