Can Your Escape Room Escape from Liability?
Escape rooms are a fun and adventurous activity to participate in with your friends. Some of these rooms are themed, while others center on a particular type of puzzle, game, or set of clues.
Most escape room operators are already fans before they open their own business, leading to some creative and exciting designs. However, just being a fan of escape rooms doesn’t mean you know everything there is to know about escape room liability. Even if these smart adventure games are intended to be low risk, accidents can happen. If someone is injured or becomes ill on your property, you may have to deal with a lawsuit.
The best way to avoid the liability that comes with operating a recreational activity is to use a dedicated escape room waiver. This type of liability waiver is given to participants before they enter an escape room.
Why use Escape room waivers?
Escape room liability waivers have two primary purposes.
1. They inform customers about the activity they’re about to participate in. This allows them to understand the basics of what skills will be required, as well as the risks involved. By signing the liability waiver, the participant indicates they understand the risks.
2. Liability waivers also allow participants to accept the liability of participating in your escape room. This transfers the burden of liability from the business to the participant.
This section of the form is integral as it indicates that the participant understands the risks and is prepared to accept responsibility if an accident or injury arises in the ordinary course of operations for the business.
The most common escape room accidents While accidents in escape rooms are rare, they do happen. One of the most tragic escape room accidents occurred in 2019 in an escape room business in Poland. After a fire broke out in an adjoining room, five teenagers participating in an escape room game died in the blaze.
While there have been no similar accidents in North America, this incident underscores that these escape room games are not without risk. Here are some of the most common accidents and injuries that can occur at an escape room business.
Slips and falls
A slip and fall injury can occur at any business. These injuries may result from employee negligence or an unpredictable situation, such as someone tripping and falling down the stairs.
If your escape room uses fog, provides food, or even has natural textile materials as part of the set, all of these products could cause a potential allergic reaction. Predicting what customers may react to can be challenging, so protecting your business with a liability waiver is critical to ensuring future business success.
Anxiety and panic attacks
Being trapped in a room, even if the space itself isn’t locked, can quickly generate feelings of overwhelm and panic. If a customer is triggered while in your escape room and needs medical or mental health attention, they could argue your activity was a contributing factor.
How to prevent accidents in your escape room
While there are no shortages of accidents or injuries that could occur at your escape room business, there are many steps you can take to prevent an incident. Here are some of the best tips we’ve found on how to avoid accidents in your escape room.
1. Get your facility inspected
Following the 2019 escape room fire in Poland, firefighters in Toronto, Canada, cracked down on unregistered escape rooms in the city. The city fire services inspected more than fifty escape rooms in the city, and fortunately, none were found to be fire hazards. In the United States, all escape rooms must be inspected before they open to the public. Even if your facility hasn’t been inspected, requesting one proactively can help offer peace of mind and reassure customers that you prioritize their safety.
2. Don’t lock the doors
Escape rooms are primarily a mental challenge. Participants don’t need to be locked into rooms to push themselves to solve the puzzle in time. In fact, locking the doors can be a significant hazard. Keeping doors unlocked and ensuring participants know they can get out if there’s an emergency or they’re uncomfortable can help make them feel more secure.
3. Use video monitoring
This is a best practice to help ensure players aren’t cheating and are following all the rules of your establishment. Video monitors can also help ensure your staff can recognize a negative situation and respond quickly in the event of an emergency.
4. Provide participants with clear rules before entering the escape room
It’s hard to expect players to follow the rules if your staff aren’t clear on what the rules are. You can prevent this issue by providing players with a defined list of rules before they start their game.
5. Inform players of what to do in case of an emergency
As participants enter the escape room, your staff should ensure they’re aware of all exits. They should also be informed of the safety procedures that will activate in the event of an emergency. That way, they know how to make a swift and safe exit if they feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
Using escape room waivers to protect yourself from liability
Escape rooms, regardless of theme, can be scary. They also come with certain risks for participants. Businesses can avoid liability and mitigate risk by ensuring every customer signs a customized escape room waiver before participating in any activity.
The waivers offered by WaiverForever help to keep both customers and businesses safe. Once you’re signed up, we can help by customizing a waiver for your business, making it easy for participants to sign either on mobile devices or a desktop. From there, they’re stored securely in the cloud, so you can always find them when you need them.
Don’t wait until there’s an incident at your business to consider using waivers. Sign up for a free trial of WaiverForever to see how our process makes protecting your business simple.