British Columbia

Trampoline parks need regulation, says B.C. safety authority

After a death and a number of serious injuries, Technical Safety B.C. says trampoline parks should be regulated like other amusements such as roller coaster and ziplines.

Bouncy castles and ziplines are regulated in B.C., but not trampoline parks

In the wake of a death and a number of recent injuries, Technical Safety B.C. is recommending that trampoline parks in B.C. be regulated. (Rick Bowmer/Associated Press)

The death of a man at a Richmond, B.C., trampoline park and a number of other serious injuries has led to a call for the government to regulate all trampoline parks in the province

Technical Safety B.C. (TSBC) says trampoline parks pose a potential public safety risk similar to other amusement attractions such as roller coasters, ziplines, waterslides and bouncy castles, which are all currently regulated by a safety code.

"We need to have regulations that are modernized so that we can look at those new and novel devices," said Janice Lee, technical director of TSBC.

Trampoline parks have been around for almost a decade but have never been subject to regulation.

Foam pits like the one at Richmond's Extreme Air Park are one of the big draws at indoor trampoline parks. (Extreme Air Park Richmond B.C.)

That means, currently, there are no standards or oversight around equipment, facility design, staffing levels or training, and all safety consideration are left to the decisions of trampoline park owners and operators.

Luke Shaheen's company APEX Active Entertainment Group owns and operates a trampoline park in Richmond. He welcomes regulations but says they're only a small piece of a very large puzzle.

"It's really up to owner operators to make sure their parks are having a wholesome risk management approach. That includes everything from signage and training to the technical aspects, that technical safety's covered," he said.

In a review, TSBC found that existing regulatory framework in the province lacked the flexibility to address newer amusement experiences like trampoline parks and "ninja gyms."

In January 2018, Victoria man Jason (Jay) Greenwood, 46, died at the Richmond Extreme Air Park after somersaulting into a foam pit. His family is suing the facility and one of its staff claiming lack of supervision and safety instruction.

In April of this year a four-year-old suffered a skull fracture at the Langley Extreme Air Park, while another four-year-old suffered a broken leg at the New Westminster Extreme Air Park in August 2018.

In an emailed statement to CBC News, Extreme Air Park Inc. said it is pleased with the TSBC recommendation and looks forward to working with the safety authority in designing the regulations.

"As the industry experts in Canada, Extreme Air Park believes any facility which caters to the general public needs to be regulated," the company wrote.

Lee says besides making recommendation around equipment and building safety, TSBC will also look at what kind of training should be required of trampoline park supervisors. 

TSBC says it will submit final recommendations to the province by the end of the year.

Trampoline parks are not currently regulated anywhere in Canada.

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