From the Ghost Ranch Ropes Course Manual, by Dr. Sylvia Shirley.
The ropes course is a very safe place when all safety procedures are followed, but there is the possibility of serious injury if they are not. For this reason the facilitator has the final say on safety. The foremost responsibility of the facilitator is safety. If the facilitator feels the event is unsafe for any reason, or if the group is acting in a dangerous manner, the event will be stopped.
The Ropes Course Safety Guidelines Are:
- No stacking more than two people high (try to discourage any stacking, usually there are other alternatives).
- No jumping off events.
- No one is to attempt or even touch an event until after the instructor has given the safety considerations, objectives, and parameters of the event and invited the group to proceed.
- Close-toed, low heel shoes must be worn at all times, i.e. tennis shoes.
- No one is to step in the middle of another person’s back or on the end of a bent knee.
- Hair long enough to be pulled back must be pulled back and tied.
- Jewelry of any type including watches and non-prescription sunglasses must not be worn and should not even be brought to the ropes course.
- Be careful of glasses and contact lenses when participating in events. Restraining straps for glasses are suggested.
- No gum, candy or other food items are allowed on the course.
- No knives or other sharp objects are allowed on the course.
- No smoking, alcoholic beverages, drugs, radios, fireworks, or firearms are allowed in the ropes course area.
- No one can do an event where they are not tall enough to reach the top rope or cable while standing on the bottom rope or cable.
- No one can do high courses that cannot properly fit in a harness.
- People with medical issues that could be aggravated by events may not do those events.
- There must be at least one facilitator on the course who is currently certified in First Aid and CPR.
- Prior to every use of the course the weather forecast should be checked for possible problems with high winds, rain, and electrical storms. Also be aware of current weather conditions. If lightning is present or suspected, all course activity should be ended immediately. After the storm moves by the facilitator must return to the course to take down the equipment. Also, the equipment should be spread out in the shed to dry.
- An accident report form must be completed for any injury. This does not include minor cuts, bruises, or abrasions that are inherent to the activity. An incident report form must be completed for any incident where safety was compromised, whether injury occurred or not. These forms must be given to the ropes course director.
- If an injury or incident occurs, facilitator must keep their own log of events and a list of all their actions. They should document as many of their recollections as possible immediately after the event.
- The facilitator should be made aware of any health problems participants have that may influence them on the course. This includes allergies to bee stings and poison ivy, as well as asthma, diabetes, heart condition, old injuries with chronic symptoms or recent surgeries.