LawAnswers.com.au - Australia's #1 Legal Community

LawAnswers.com.au is a community of 10,000+ Australians, just like you, helping each other.
Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
Join us, it only takes a minute:

WA Playground Equipment Personal Injury - Liability?

Discussion in 'Personal Injury Law Forum' started by Ash, 17 January 2015.

  1. Ash

    Ash Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    10 September 2014
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    7
    We were recently at a Big 4 Camping site where all sites have a bouncing pillow. We were camped near the bouncing pillow and at least 3 to 4 children a day ended up crying from being hurt - generally from the larger kids doing somersaults which sends the little ones flying.

    It happened to our friend's little one who has ended up with a fractured leg and the leg in a cast for 4-6 weeks. Whilst at the hospital there was another parent who was staying at the same camp site and their child was also injured.

    There is a sign up with all the usual warnings about the bouncing pillow - parent's responsibility, all kids under 12 to be supervised, no somersaults permitted etc etc. During our stay one of the camping site's rangers came and spoke to the bigger kids about the rules.

    What is the park's obligation with something like this re providing a safe environment?
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    27 May 2014
    Messages:
    2,150
    Likes Received:
    256
    This is a personal opinion, not a legal opinion:

    Assuming the pillow is not defective in some way, I believe situations like this are a parent's responsibility or the parents of children that disobey the rules. Parents should be monitoring their kids and the environment they play in.
     
  3. Ash

    Ash Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    10 September 2014
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    7
    I agree .... Parents need to monitor their children however I also feel the park needs to provide safe conscious equipment. ie. Trampolines now have nets up around them.. Playgrounds have rubber surfaces. Now back in my day.... :)

    To be honest until I watched the amount of children injured on these pillows I had no idea how dangerous they were.
     
  4. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    27 May 2014
    Messages:
    2,150
    Likes Received:
    256
    I have always considered pillows 'potentially dangerous'. As I have with trampolines, high slides etc. Kids need to have minor accidents to learn boundaries, just gotta try and stop the dangerous accidents. Many times though it is a case of bad luck when something serious happens. My kids were lucky many times ( I still remember 2 of my kids flying off swings and landing hard but not breaking anything), but they learnt to be careful as a result.

    Just because nets and rubber mats are being used in some playgrounds, I don't believe that should translate into saying unless they are provided then a situation is dangerous and I can sue you. As a parent you decide if something is safe or not, and if not safe don't allow you kids near it.
     
  5. Ash

    Ash Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    10 September 2014
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    7
    There was no mention about suing anyone. It was a general posting about the park's obligations in providing a safe environment.

    Anyone accepts there is a degree of risk with any playground equipment however steps should be done to minimise the risk. These are serious injuries - 2 children within 2 days, one breaking an arm and the other fracturing a leg. If this was a workplace injury incident reports would be lodged, WHS department would investigate and determine a suitable solution to minimise the risk - putting it down to 'bad luck' would not be considered a suitable solution.

    I was at Woolworths the other day my child cut herself, very small - needed a bandaid, and the Woolworths staff offered to do an incident report for this.

    In fact thinking about it I have answered my own question. Under the WHS Act the Park is legally obligated to have in place a safety management system, manage risk and take reasonable practicable steps to identify any health and safety risk(s) and eliminate those risks or take steps to minimise those risks.

    Might click on Best Answer for my posting :)
     
  6. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    16 April 2014
    Messages:
    2,300
    Likes Received:
    334
    Hi Ash,

    You are correct. Occupier’s of private property must take reasonable steps to ensure that entrants are not exposed to a foreseeable risk of harm. This means that if a risk of injury exists, an occupier must take steps to rectify it or warn entrants of the danger. For example, where a wet floor surface would expose entrants to a risk of slipping over, an occupier may discharge their duty by erecting a warning sign alerting entrants to the risk. Whether or not this duty would extend to placing additional safety features around the pillow such as nets or mats, is something a court would need to decide.

    There is also an argument in this situation that jumping pillows pose an "Obvious Risk" in respect of which users agree to assume the risk of engaging in a dangerous recreational activity. However a recent case in the ACT Ackland v Stewart, Vickery and Stewart [2014] ACTSC 18, held that "the risk that a person might suffer a serious neck injury if an inverted manoeuvre was not properly performed" was not an "obvious risk". Rather, a reasonable person in the position of the plaintiff would have appreciated the risk of "some minor harm"

    In situations where bigger kids were ignoring the rules and caused a serious injury, they too may be liable for negligently causing or contributing to the injury.
     
  7. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    27 May 2014
    Messages:
    2,150
    Likes Received:
    256
    Para 304 from that judgement:

    304. On balance, I am not persuaded that it would have been obvious to a reasonable person in the position of the plaintiff that there was a risk of serious neck injury in attempting to perform a back somersault on the jumping pillow. A reasonable person would have acknowledged, as the plaintiff did, that there is a risk of some minor harm if they failed to perform the manoeuvre properly. But perception of risk of minor harm is not the equivalent of perception of risk of a serious neck injury.

    I often wonder what world judges live in to arrive at the above conclusion. Any time anyone does a somersault there is a foreseeable risk of serious injury. *shakes head*
     

Share This Page

Loading...