Historical Safety, Proactive or Reactive?

May 6, 2011 No Comments

By Allen F. Weitzel

Welcome back – I am looking forward to seeing your comments on our new management topic. I hope you enjoy what you read and gain some insight into this topic. Please post your comments to be shared with all readers. Thanks to the Disney folks for their kind words last month.

What Is Historical Safety?

Historical Safety is the record of safety incidents in a facility. There are times when referring to a historical safety record can be smart, and times when it is not.

When Is It Good and Not So Good?

When a facility has a low incident rate, insurance carriers charge lower premiums. A documented lack of injuries speaks well for the safety of the facility. A safe facility can benefit from strong attendance numbers and prospective employees are more willing to work for you. No one comes to an entertainment venue to get hurt – not guests, vendors or employees.

The downside to a low injury count is that management might believe it is their business skill creating the safety success rate, and they may discount the value of safety programs. We have all heard someone say, “We’ve never had an incident like that before,” or “If it happens, we’ll deal with it then.” The culture of the company relies on a reactive mindset, not a proactive one. When a significant incident occurs, they suddenly realize that they have no idea what to do about it.

What About “Near Misses” and “Trends?”

A “near miss” is an incident that did not result in injury, illness or damage, but could have potential to do so. Only a lucky break in the chain of events prevented it. If your staff feels overworked, following up on near misses is seen as additional work and it might be put on the back burner. Some managers feel relieved when a catastrophe is avoided, but fear that follow up might uncover that they or their staff made a mistake; hence, incident follow up is ignored. Workers may fear being punished, embarrassed or lose credibility so they move on quickly. Follow up to near misses must be looked upon as an improvement tool, even if it takes the staff out of its comfort zone.

“Trends” can also be difficult to manage. A trend is the reoccurrence of the same or closely similar incident, which may or may not have produced the same results or injury. A well-run organization will try to resolve every incident, similar or not, which should eliminate trends. Abating trends can be much easier knowing that the causes, mostly, are from employee blunders, improper training or procedures, mechanical failure or guest errors. Once the cause is established, then a correction can happen by using suggestions from everyone involved.

How To Keep It Good?

The secret to safety success is to pro-actively create programs and procedures that make it simple and rewarding for everyone to be safe. Guests and employees, alike, should be able to easily understand and follow your rules. Monitor and evaluate systems to see how well they are working. When you receive inspections from outside agencies (fire, health, and police departments, insurance carriers, legal counsel or claims administrators, etc.), ask that these parties to candidly assess your programs. When you do change long-standing procedures, you might experience resistance from your veteran employees. Proper training of new workers coupled with the upper management support of the changes will help veteran workers adjust their old habits and embrace new procedures.

Never dismiss suggestions from guests. Every suggestion should be reviewed to see if there is information that can improve your procedures. When you hear that another facility had a significant incident, use that to initiate a review of your own systems.

One essential proactive safety procedure is to have one person tracking incidents, “near misses,” and “trend” data as it occurs, and report it to key personnel. Allow that person to provide reminders when an incident is not properly followed up, or if proposed repairs or changes are not made. Do not let incidents fade away due to lack of attention from the staff.

This is a demanding world and amusement facilities can no longer rest on their history. The safety philosophy is simple, but the effort to improve safety must be never-ending.

Allen F. Weitzel has spent 45 seasons in the recreation field and is safety and training manager at a California amusement park.

Back

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Sponsors

Richie's Italian Ice

Italian Ice Kiosks and Carts

Laser Star

Laser shooting galleries, laser tag, dark ride target systems, overhead target ranges.

Omega Carpets

Printed carpeting for all your facility needs.

Weldon, Williams & Lick

Admission systems and wristband ticketing.

Gerber Manufacturing, Ltd.

Outdoor furniture, benches, picnic tables and grills.

Wapello Fabrications

Inflatables and portable amusements.

Funovation

Laser maze challenge

Barron Games

Redemption air hockey games.

Berk Paper & Supply

Concession supplies.

Tokens Direct

A wide variety of tokens.

Sacoa

Designed and manufactures PlayCard, the rechargeable debit card system.

California Portable Dance Floor Company

Enchanted Castle Studios

Fiberglass statuary and figures for restaurants, mini-golf, theme parks and other attractions.

Extreme Engineering

Industry leader in zip lines, climbing walls, jumper systems and adventure products.

Adventure Glass

Unique paddleboats.

Safari Ltd.

Leading manufacturer of innovative educational toys.

Master Pitching Machine

Batting cages and pitching machines.

Martin Professionals

A lighting supplier of choice for the entertainment industry.

Deltronic Labs Inc.

Ticket dispensers.

Soft Play

Leader in designing, manufacturing and installing soft contained playground equipment.

Cost of Wisconson

Creators of simulated environments, duplicate structures, sculpted figures, exhibits, water features, mini-golf and more.

Thomco Insurance (Fun Pro)

Fun Pro is an insurance program especially designed for party planners and party rental businesses.

Store on Wheels

Importer and distributor of quality toys, lighting and novelties. Cater to the amusement, retail and entertainment industries.

Qubica

Sells capital equipment to bowling centers.

Splashtacular

Manufacturer of waterslides

See Coast Manufacturing Co., Inc.

Coin-operated binoculars and telescopes.

Brunswick Bowling

Entertainment bowling center developer and manufacturer of bowling equipment and entertainment products.

Adventure Golf

Miniature golf courses, consultants, architecture and design.

Flagship Carpet

Custom carpets and rugs.

R&R Creative Amusement Design

Designers of unique themed parks, attractions and environments for the entertainment business.

Price Chopper, Inc. Wristbands

Admission, financial equipment and wristbands.

Namco

Namco America is a premier manufacturer of coin-op arcade attractions, ranging from the hottest titles like Crazy Typhoon and Jumpin’ Jackpot to classic game-room experiences such as the Pac-Man 25th Anniversary upright that features Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga. Specialized pieces such as Wonka Sweetland and Flamin Finger are favorites too! For arcade gaming fun, Namco America is your answer.

Castle Golf, Inc.

Planning, design and construction of miniature golf courses and family fun parks.

Fast Corp Vending

Frozen food vending machines

Sippers By Design

Design and manufacture of specialty custom-shaped drink containers.

Kay Park Recreations Corp.

Picnic tables, grills, park benches, planters, trash containers and more.

Tarobots

Boxerjocks robotic boxing amusement ride game attraction.

Max Flight

Manufactures interactive virtual reality motion-platform game systems including networkable flight and roller coaster simulators.

European Body Arts

Airbrushed temporary tattoo products and systems.

Aquaventronics

Research and development of interactive water games for use in the commercial amusement industry.

International Special Events (ISERA)

Risk purchasing group, a better way to purchase liability insurance, specializing in inflatables and much more.

Embed

Provides innovative IT products and services with a primary focus on card-based solutions and database applications for the leisure and retail industries.

National Rock & Sculpture

Dedicated to the conceptual design and development of themed environments.

Art Attack

Theming, miniature golf, parade floats, 3D props, air-brushed murals, signage and art panels.

Water Wars (T&D Enterprises of Brainerd)

Water Wars water balloon game, portable or startionary.

Xtreme Inflatables

Repair and service for all inflatable products.

Poly Products

Tables, benches and related products. Green products for a green world.

Sureshot Redemption

One-stop source for prize redemption counters at entertainment centers.

Johnny Rockets
LMap Powered by Silvercrest
Premier Polysteel
Spectrum Sports
Cannonball Blaster
Funovation
Empex Water Toys