The UK's companies have some of the most stringent health and safety laws in the world. Internallly they have risk assessments and trained professionals in charge of what goes on. However, they will often entrust the safety of their employees to external companies without ensuring that the same standards are maintained. Having run events for more than 20 years we would estimate that less than 5% of clients ask to see risk assessments and insurance documents. Yet at some companies you can't position a dustbin without the right forms.
A few days ago a newspaper in Chicago carries the story of a man who is suing his employers after a trust fall went wrong. He fell to the floor and damaged his knees, requiring subsequent knee surgery. There is a similar story every few weeks from somewhere in the world.
Trust falls are at the amateur end of team building and, consequently, many people use them. You don't require any specialist training or equipment. Essentially someone falls backwards and the rest of the team catch them. Sometimes people fall from tables to add risk. The potential for injury is very high and, sadly, it often happens.
There are a number of activities which are commonly booked externally which would fail internal risk assessment at the company booking them. These include trust falls and similar activities, Paintball and Tug Of War. Some inflatable games and motorised activities are questionable.
This isn't about taking away the fun, it's about being open and truthful with clients who may find themselves in hot water if something goes wrong and they haven't considered this issue. No-one wants an internal enquiry with a 'what were you thinking?' outcome. There is no excuse for risk because there are so many safe activities available.
Our procedure is simple. Every activity is risk assessed by an experienced professional. If there is any risk at all identified we will make the client aware of this. We don't do this when we're asked, we do it proactively at the outset.