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British safety body publishes trampoline arena standards

May 16, 2017

Aiming to reduce injuries at trampoline parks and drive forward tougher safety standards, BSI, the British standards company, has launched a new specification for the construction and operation of trampoline parks.

Developed in conjunction with the International Association of Trampoline Parks, PAS 5000:2017 Specification for the construction and operation of a fixed indoor trampoline park, provides requirements on the design, construction, risk assessment and day-to-day operation of a trampoline park in the United Kingdom.

The Voluntary standards have been created to support trampoline park operators, designers, manufacturers and installers, as well as inspection and enforcement bodies such as the UK Health & Safety Executive and Environmental Health Officers.

While trampoline parks have to meet general health and safety legislation and legal obligations – such as adherence to the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (2013) – there are no current regulations specifically aimed at trampoline parks. In response to growing industry and public concern over accidents at trampoline parks, development of PAS 5000 brought together experts from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), British Gymnastics, and other industry bodies.

Specifically, the PAS outlines requirements for the construction of an indoor trampoline park made up of interconnected trampolines used for non-competitive activities. The PAS includes requirements that the designer and operator of the trampoline park construct a layout that reduces the risk to users and undertake a design risk assessment of the trampoline park before opening to the public.

PAS 5000 specifies requirements for the height of a trampoline to be a specific distance from the floor. Requirements are also provided with regards to the framework padding, and details for calculating capacity and how an operator can adequately ascertain when a trampoline park has reached peak capacity.

The PAS covers emergency scenarios, including a dedicated section to an Emergency Action Plan and an emergency evacuation plan that covers how to clear the trampolines and evacuate the building if necessary.

Trampoline arenas in the UK have been the subject of considerable scrutiny, with a particular focus has been placed on foam pits, where a number of accidents have taken place.

This is one of the areas specifically addressed in the new PAS with detailed guidance as to recommended heights of jump towers and how to construct a pit to avoid contact with the floor.

Introducing the new PAS, BSI Head of Governance and Resilience Anne Hayes stated at BSI, stated “the primary objective of PAS 5000 is to minimise the risk of trampoline park users – many of whom are children – to ensure they have a safe and enjoyable experience. Trampoline parks have rapidly grown in popularity in recent years for users of all ages. In developing PAS 5000, BSI brought together experts from diverse organizations to provide requirements for any operator who wishes to set up and maintain a trampoline park.”

PAS 5000 was sponsored by the International Association of Trampoline Parks (IATP), and the following organizations were involved in the development of the PAS: A&S Inman (Designs) Ltd; Air Hop; Air Space; BALPPA; British Gymnastics; Continental Sports Ltd; Freedome UK Ltd; Fun Spot Manufacturing; Gravity; Health and Safety Executive; International Association of Trampoline Parks; Independents (chartered insurance brokers); Luna Trampoline Ltd; Midlothian Council Environmental Health; and RoSPA.

As well as trampoline park operators and trampoline park designers, PAS 5000 will be of benefit to the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions (BALPPA); health and safety officers; environmental health officers; RoSPA; and third party auditors.

PAS 5000 does not cover building regulations; fire regulations; planning regulations; water testing; food and drink provision; Disability Discrimination Act compliance; testing procedures; and non-trampoline activities. 

Nick Booth, Managing Director of leading trampoline supplier Continental Sports, added “we are delighted that the fast-growing trampoline park industry in the UK has worked collaboratively to develop this new standard and Continental has been delighted to have been part of the standard-setting process. 

“Our number one focus in all the products we manufacture is safety and we want to ensure that bouncers at trampoline parks have fun, keep fit but also stay safe. This standard allows the development of novel activities within parks and ensures manufacturers are able to continue adding exciting new features, but it restricts some of the more dangerous elements being installed by some operators."

In the wake of the new BSI Standard, the IATP has advised that, as of August, a park will need to comply to the BSI standards to join the IATP. 

The Association is advising people to look for the IATP sticker on the door of any trampoline park that they are considering entering and asking that customers be vigilant at trampoline parks, highlighting the following things that people should look out for when choosing a trampoline park to visit:

• A risk acknowledgement and disclaimer.
• Safety briefings from staff.
• 1:20 jumpers per court monitor.
• All activities must be staffed.
• Is the area where you get on and off the trampolines soft under foot?
• Are the staff engaged in the activity of looking out for safety concerns?
• Is the park clean and well maintained?
• Is the park well lit?
• Are there any jumps over 2 metres high into foam pits or Air Bags?

An Australian Standard for trampoline arenas is currently under development with impact testing on trampolines and foam pits currently being undertaken.

Click here for more information.

Lower image courtesy of Rush trampoline parks.

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