Canberra’s WorkSafe watchdog has warned parents and carers to report safety risks in play centers after a boy fell from a climbing structure last weekend.
Most important points:
- A nine-year-old boy fell off a climbing wall at Flip Out in Majura
- Flip Out says it gives instructions to all participants in the center
- Commissioner for Health and Safety at Work Jacqueline Agius confirmed the watchdog was making inquiries about the matter
The child’s mother, who asked to remain anonymous, said her nine-year-old fell at least 4.5 meters after being unhooked from his safety harness at the Flip Out center near Canberra airport.
The boy fell from what the center calls its “click and climb” structure, which WorkSafe ACT issued a prohibition notice to temporarily close after the incident.
“I saw my son come to me with just blood all over his face and everything,” she said.
“He just came to me and then I put my hand on his face, his nose, to try to stop the bleeding and, yeah, it was all kind of surreal.”
The boy was taken to hospital and two days later his mother said he had a stiff neck, breathing difficulties and cuts to his mouth.
“He’s home and we’ll keep an eye on him, but yes, he seems to be fine so far,” she said.
ACT Commissioner for Health and Safety at Work, Jacqueline Agius, did not name the play center, but confirmed “investigations” into the fall were underway.
She said the incident was worrying.
“Any accident or incident in any workplace is preventable, it’s as simple as that,” she told ABC Radio Canberra.
“As long as the controls are in place and the controls are adequate, we shouldn’t see incidents like this happen and we shouldn’t see children getting hurt.
Flip Out says staff has given safety instructions to climbing wall users
In a statement, Steve Stone, director of Flip Out Australia, said staff on site had provided “complete and complete” instructions to users of the climbing wall, “in accordance with our approved safety procedures and standards”.
But in response, the boy’s mother disputed this version of events.
Flip Out said they were “saddened by the event” and had “provided all the help we could under the circumstances,” including immediate treatment.
“As Flip Out has a perfect safety record in all its arenas across Australia for our clipping and climbing activity since it was introduced as an activity several years ago, we are disappointed that this incident has occurred.”
‘You cannot waive your legal rights’
Ms Agius said incidents in indoor play centers “were more common than the ACT community realizes”[d]†
She said WorkSafe ACT had been conducting inspections at play centers for about 12 months and had seen a “number” of incidents in that time.
“We urge parents and caregivers to closely inspect and supervise these centers with their children and notify us when risks to workers or children are not taken seriously enough.”
Ms. Agius said some indoor play centers required parents and guardians to sign a waiver, but that statement did not relieve the center of its responsibilities for safety.
“When it comes to injuries, the saying is ‘you can’t set aside your legal rights’.
“Being a parent myself, I signed those things, and also as a lawyer I signed them in the knowledge that they are not worth the paper they are written on.”
Ms. Agius said a common sense approach was the best option for parents when considering letting their children use play equipment.
“Trust your gut. If you look at it and you think, ‘That just isn’t enough for me, I feel like that’s not something I want my kid to climb up’, don’t let them go on about it, ” she said. said.