Following a series of serious accidents at trampoline parks – including the death of a father at Extreme Air in Richmond – recommendations are being made to regulate such facilities across B.C.
Technical Safety BC, which was tasked last year to investigate a spate of accidents and the 2018 Richmond fatality, has made the recommendation to the B.C. government.
The move comes after local health authorities, parents and municipal governments called for trampoline parks to be regulated due to the potential public safety risk.
A resolution was also passed at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) conference last fall 2018 asking the province to consider regulation.
Technical Safety BC oversees the safety of amusement devices, including roller coasters, ziplines, inflatable devices such as bouncy castles, bumper cars, simulators and waterslides, but current regulation does not address trampoline parks.
“With our expertise in technical systems’ safety, our team works hard on behalf of all British Columbians to provide government with impartial advice on how to enhance the safety system and ensure these very unfortunate and tragic events are prevented,” explained Technical Safety BC’s president and CEO Catherine Roome.
“As technologies change and new devices come onto the market, safety regulation needs to thoughtfully adapt to reduce hazards and make the public safer.”
The review process, which involved extensive research and consultation, determined that the present regulatory framework — while supporting safety in currently regulated amusement rides — provides only limited tools and flexibility to address new rides and experiences such as trampoline parks or ninja gyms.
Technical Safety BC is therefore recommending that regulations be improved to manage the associated risks.
It is also proposing new definitions of amusement rides and devices that would provide clarity to operators and the public as to which amusement rides and devices are regulated and which are not.
For example, amusement rides and devices used exclusively for professional or sports training with oversight by training or coaching staff and appropriate safety precautions would be exempted from regulation, as would some specific extreme thrill rides.
In coming to this recommendation, Technical Safety BC consulted with members of the public, health professionals, academics, industry experts, operators, owners and patrons of trampoline parks.
Of the more than 400 people we spoke to, everyone agreed that safety is of paramount importance and many also agreed Technical Safety BC is the appropriate organization to provide this oversight.
“I appreciate Technical Safety BC’s comprehensive review on how to support safety in the trampoline park industry,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
“We want families to feel secure knowing that a fun family activity is also safe, and that’s why government agrees with this recommendation. I welcome Technical Safety BC’s forthcoming regulatory framework that will better protect people in British Columbia.”
The review of trampoline parks is part of a broader review of the existing regulatory framework for amusement rides. Technical Safety BC will submit final recommendations to the Province on broader regulatory changes to amusement rides towards the end of 2019. Industry will continue to be closely involved in the consultation process leading up to that recommendation to ensure that the oversight model is financially sustainable.