Prevention of skateboarding accidents and litigation management
Some guidance to assist operators
You are only liable for damages, under UK law, if you are negligent. If you take all recommended steps it is unlikely that you will be deemed negligent and therefore if litigation occurs, you are unlikely to be have damages awarded against you. You are not exactly fireproof but you are certainly strongly flame resistant.
There is a new Publicly Available Specification BS EN 14974:2006 about to be issued by BSI which covers skateboarding facilities.
RoSPA recommend the following action:
- site the facility so that it is overlooked (this gives some informal supervision) and is away from overhanging trees etc.
- make sure that there is good access for emergency vehicles.
- inform your insurance company
- ensure that correct signs are displayed (see BS EN 14974:2006 for an example)
- ensure that all equipment is built and installed to BS EN 14974:2006
- obtain a post installation inspection from a suitably qualified body such as RoSPA to ensure that all safety standards are met. (Your insurance company may well insist on this in any case)
- inspect your site as regularly as you can. Even in a small parish this should be a minimum of once a week.
- obtain an independent annual inspection of the site. RoSPA can undertake this inspection at the same time as it is inspecting play areas.
- document all inspections and keep records for as long as possible. (RoSPA recommended a minimum of 15 years)
- undertake all repairs/maintenance problems as soon as is practical.
In addition you can take the following precautions with regard to users:
- encourage the wearing of correct "gear". Research has indicated that kids tend to wear helmets, or fail the wear them in groups. If one child is wearing a helmet there is a 85% chance that the next child will wear one. If the first child is not wearing a helmet there is only a 3% chance that the second child will.
- wearing of wrist protection will greatly reduce accidents and may be perceived as "more cool"
- on new sites encourage the more experienced skateboarders to show the less experienced ones how to fall.