View Full Version here: : Look after your people!
31-03-2011, 03:49 PM
I have just been informed that the insurers for Australian Astro clubs is having to re-calculate the charges due to a claim being made against a club who didn't (allegedly) take sufficient care to ensure the safety of its visitors. One visitor is said to have taken a tumble down stairs in the dark. I am the first to say that people should be responsible for their own actions, but crowds and dark don't mix!
Firstly, take care out there - someone has been badly hurt, and that is not right.
Secondly, NEVER do a public night without insurance. You may be personally liable for thousands of dollars even though you believed you did enough...
and finally, we are all have to pay more from now on!
Probably preventable too.
Who knows whether the individual was just clumsy or genuinely couldn't see where to step in the dark, it doesn't matter, damage done... but if the stairwell was well illuminated the incident would never have happened, or , the insurance assessor could have eliminated that as an issue.
With the rediculously low per-metre price of red LED strip lighting (http://shop.ebay.com.au/i.html?_nkw=red+led+strip&_sacat=0&_odkw=led+strip&_osacat=0&_trksid=p3286.c0.m270.l1313) these days, there realy is no excuse for not having it hidden under each step illuminating the one below.
Even better would be to run a single strip along the underside of the handrail(if it exists), taking care of two problems in one.
31-03-2011, 06:22 PM
Yes, we received an email from the Insurer (WHH) informing us that our Astro Association Premiums will be rising and we have to answer a new set of questions to determine by how much.
They also say in the email that the Club responsible for the accident have remedied the situation by installing a Hand Rail and marking every step with a white painted Strip.
Fortunately for our SVAA (and any other club who's policy expires between now and the insurers final decision on Premiums increase) will be 100% covered by the insurer free of charge until the end of May, when they will be releasing the new Premiums.
It's not good that someone has been injured, but I suppose when you consider the thousands of people who attend public Astro events in the dark around Australia each year, only one accident is fairly remarkable.
31-03-2011, 06:32 PM
What's remarkable is the fact the person wanted to look through a telescope and also be in well lit surroundings sufficiently to sue someone because he fell - probably because he didn't take sufficient care to know where he was or failing that to be careful.
If it's dark, you don't go running about - like an RACQ ad - charter boat, what charter boat?
31-03-2011, 07:09 PM
sorry to hear someone is hurt but please do the math:
stars + Telescope + people - city light = dark!!!!
31-03-2011, 11:02 PM
or is it:
Public + dark = Trip + Fall * Sue
if Trip + Fall * Sue = $15,000, work out the value of Public in Dark of differing ammounts.
02-04-2011, 09:40 PM
True, but you have to keep in mind that the genuine public do not have a realistic idea what a viewing night entails, i.e. its dark. For that reason if there are stairs, an embankment, or obstacles on the ground, and we are asking people to participate, we have the responsibility to protect them.
Sure common sense should prevail but it should be on both sides of the coin (and we all know that it ain't that common anyway).
Don't know the details of the incident, so bit hard to run a commentary, other than it brings home the fact that if you decide to do a public viewing night it pays to have the relevant coverage as Jonathan suggests. Someone gets hurt, you're in the gun.
02-04-2011, 10:01 PM
My concern is that....ONE claim has been made, and that the insurers are crowing about raising premiums A LOT!!
Whilst I agree that all care must be taken to protect visitors to our Public Nights, the insurance companies just wait for an excuse to hike premiums.
Over the last few years Insurance companies have forgotten that they are in the business of..........RISK!!!:mad2:
03-04-2011, 01:02 AM
I think their actuaries have been assuming that a bunch of astronomers can't do anyone any harm, bless them...
Little do they know how easy it is to be hurt by a falling 31mm Nagler!
03-04-2011, 01:17 AM
. . . and tripping over cables, and getting impaled by a Counterweight shaft sticking out, and falling off stepladders, and moving towards the focuser too fast in the dark and getting an EP right in the eye, and . . . . etc
03-04-2011, 01:37 AM
Ah, I didn't want to infer that insurance companies and lawyers are in any way reasonable or have hearts that would soften for anything less than any excuse to milk us for whatever we've got :).
03-04-2011, 06:45 PM
Im sorry... but we have created a culture of, get hurt = sue. dont like someone = sue. disagree with someone = sue.
If your signing up for an astronomy event and your going there expecting to be able to walk around in the dark with no torch and NOT fall over something then you really need to be asking yourself if that is the environment you should be in.
Sure accidents happen we all know that. Its very unfortunate that someone was hurt.
But it will get to the point that before every event you will have to sign a disclaimer saying that the event organisers are not liable for anything that happens to you or you will not be allowed to participate. Fair enough im more than happy to sign. If i was running down some stairs in the dark to get to a scope and i slipped and hurt myself its my own dumb fault, there is a responsibility for EVERYONE to take care, you should not be going to events with an idea that you have no responsibility for your actions and that you can do anything and go anywhere an NOTHING will happen and that every facet will be covered, something will always be missed.
Use caution people.
As for the "well illuminated stairwell", yes that is an option, but then you will have people crying because its too bright.
People need to take responsibility for their actions. If you cannot navigate a set of stairs in the dark, its simple dont try and go up or down the stairs.
How bad was the injury anyway was it a stubbed toe? a skinned knee? a broken back? If it was a serious injury and the person will likely never be able to work again i can understand suing. But if you stub your toe and cry foul you might need think it over again.
It could even get to the point where nothing will ever be organised ever again because people just wont want to be sued over an accident.
Then we all miss out.
Once again im sorry someone was hurt, lets hope it doesnt happen again.
03-04-2011, 07:13 PM
I have been trying to organise a school viewing night for 2 months now and
not once has the subject of insurance been put to me, either by the teacher
involved , or the school management helping to organise it.
Does that mean it falls back on me? Not sure.
It is to be held on their grounds, albeit after hours :shrug:
As far as the attitude of litigation in society today I think we are all
responsible for that in a way.
It seems to me to be a ' well you can't have it both ways mate' attitude.
Let me give an example.
We once had a holiday up at the Flinders Ranges where the kids both had
a ride on a horse. For both of them it it will be a lifelong memory.
Our girl was just 6 and our boy 8 at the time.
Both sat on the pony unassisted and were led along a trail by the lad
running the show.
When we tried to organise the same type of ride 2 years later we were
told at the homestead they had cancelled the horse riding due to the
One kilometre away there was an airfield with several planes doing
public joyflights through the Wilpena Pound.... still operating.
I'd imagine their insurance vs risk vs operating costs were still making
that a viable, safe business proposition but horse riding...no.
Now to my point....I guess we would all hit the roof if something had
happened on the horse ride and our kids were hurt or worse.
My heart broke when I first read about Mike's neice Sarah and her tragic
A lot of the parents, me included, would be at someone's throat should
our precious kids get hurt at any public venue or event.
So, technically, I would have to potentially expect it if I was part of
a viewing night that went wrong, wouldn't I:shrug:
It is certainly a can of worms.
03-04-2011, 07:38 PM
I wouldn't be surprised if the insurers really go to town on the Astronomy Clubs. Where else do we intentionally try to walk around in the dark?. They may have "issues" with the restrictive lighting policies at some events. I wouldn't be surprised if the use of "indoor" electrical gear outside in the dew was used as an "excuse" to avoid paying for an electrocution related claim...
Maybe we can just hope they don't think too hard about this one.
03-04-2011, 08:05 PM
There does seem to be some distinction between club members who should know better and the general Public, who don't. That's reasonable of course.
The moral is be covered. Steve, make it quite clear to the school that it is their event and that you are the one invited to assist. Then everyone should be covered by the school. Even so, I would be ensuring that your participation is under the banner of your club to be sure. Why take the risk, the precious one that takes a tumble is bound to be the daughter of a barrister!
04-04-2011, 07:05 AM
General public?. Honestly how silly do you have to be if you have never been to an astronomy meet and are honestly expecting to turn up have the field lit up by flood lights? Surely you would have to say to yourself "I think it's going to be dark!!"
If you do think that it's probably best to stay at home OR ask some questions! The first time I went to a meet I went and did as much information searching as I could so I could be as best prepared as possible.
You would only have to read Wiruna's light policy (that was included in the information kit when registering) to know if you go there then it's safe to assume it's going to be dark. Therefore, I'm going to need a red torch and take some care. They made it quite clear that there is to be no white lights. How could someone interpret that as anything other than there will only be dim red lights?.
Don't get me wrong I'm sorry that this accident happened but the whole responsibility surely cannot fall on the heads of those who organised the event where the accident happened. People really do need to take responsibility for their actions (if the person really was running down the stairs in the dark) what were the organisers to do have someone there telling them not to run?, hold people's hands while they walk around so they don't fall? wrap everyone in pillows and bubble wrap so they don't get hurt?
we are meant to be adults if you think that nothing is at least partly your fault and its all everybody else's then you need to re-assess. (Particularly if you were running down some stairs in the dark, unless one of the organisers pushed you (im sure the didnt) then surely the actions you took i.e. running have to fall under the catagory of "my responsibilty".)
Once again it's a tragedy.
04-04-2011, 07:25 AM
This is surely to anger some people I'm going to say it anyway.
Now I do understand that kids can be hard to control at the best of times and I'm not saying that it's all out easy.
If you as a parent have taken EVERY POSSIBLE precaution to look after your children and know where they are at all times (in the dark) and something horrible happened by all means go for gold.
If your letting your children (young kids) just wander around in the dark and something happened while they were off on the other side of the field, while you're on the other at an eyepiece or back in your tent, then I'm sorry your half to blame if not all to blame (if you had been there you could have possibly prevented it) it's not the organisers fault if your kiddies fall down a hill when your 100 meters away and don't know where your kids are.
While at Wiruna for the SPSP on the weekend a mother walked past our tent asking if we had seen her 3 year old.. I'm sorry what? you let your kids wander around in the dark and he is 3? if that child had been hurt knocked over (didn't even have and led on so we could see him in the dark) or anything else happened she would have been crying foul, yet she was the one that had no idea where her kid was.
How is that the organisers fault?
In that case it is NOT everyone else's responsibility to know where your kids are and if they are safe,
04-04-2011, 09:23 AM
Michael - what you say may well be common sense, but the law might have other ideas.
My concern is that if a "light use policy" is deemed to "compromise safety", they might deny a claim. Whether the insurer might decide this in retrospect is the real worry...
My other hobby is flying model aircraft - I am aware of some of the issues the national association have had arranging insurance, and have seen a lot of policies to reduce risk being implemented over the last 10yrs.
What I'm trying to say is that if it has happened to model aviation, it will happen to astronomy.
04-04-2011, 09:28 AM
I got the same email too. Not looking forward to seeing how much the new premium will be!
04-04-2011, 10:43 AM
Are they bloody serious? One claim and they want to jack everyone's insurance premiums up? They are surely kidding. Did one single claim against them clean them out or something? As John says - they are in the risk business. We, as clubs, pay them to provide cover for these incidents - as rarely as they happen. If they wish to increase everyones premiums as a result of this claim, then we really aren't paying for insurance, but rather assurance.
04-04-2011, 11:12 AM
When I was in SCAS on the Sunshine Coast we where insured for well over Ten Years without a single claim,then they trippled the premiums of all the Astronomical societies,and upto that time I had never heard about one claim against an insurance company by any Astro society or club.
What a Rip Off:mad2:
This is the first claim I have heard since I have been doing Astronomy, which is over 25 years,and they want to put the premiums up:screwy:
04-04-2011, 11:55 AM
If you like to sue people at the drop of a hat just because the law says that you can.. you might find yourself blacklisted from party's, and rightly so. Who would want to invite someone that sue's because they are a moron, just because they have the legal right to?
04-04-2011, 12:20 PM
Those insurance hikes came about because a bunch of insurers went to the wall for dodgy practices and the remainder took advantage of it with the logic that because they were bad managers we, the public, have to pay. SCAS went to the wall because if incredible premium hikes, and I think it was only a year later that the astronomical community organised to get reasonable cover/premiums... Very sad Ron, that we lost one of our sister clubs. Another aside to this was that events as the SPSP and the Queensland Astrofest were specifically excluded from insurance, something that was a shock to us on the committee as we thought thast as a club event (multiple clubs at that), we would have been covered... very sobering that every member on that committee would have been personally liable for any incident. Add to that we ensure that it is as dark as possible and than leave mostly dark coloured equipment setup around the place.
Couple of points made is that after only one claim the premiums are going to be hiked substantially... perhaps a delegation should once again negotiate on behalf of the astronomy clubs for a better result (I'm not volunteering).
Second point is that it is an astronomy viewing night so you should expect it to be dark. This is true, but the public doesn't think that way and as David points out that if your dark sky policy compromises safety, you may be held responsible. On thing comes to mind is if it is a public event, is it absolutely neccessary to have total blackout? Surely you are not trying to show someone the fine detail of the Horsehead Nebula? Our club has been doing our public nights at Mt Coot-tha Lookout for about 15 or 16 years. The only thing we find that public are able to enjoy are views of the Moon, planets, maybe some open and globular clusters and perhaps some double stars. The place in not suitable for serious observing, and why should it be? We show the public stuff big and bright flashy because that is what gets their attention, and if they develop an interest, then they can search for the faint fuzzies that we find so interesting in the field and on camp after they join a club. How many people have shown an object like the Swan Nebula to a newbie from a surban site and got a "Wow!"?
The last thing that I have in mind is that it seems that people are saying that the person was recklessly running around in the dark up and down stairs. I still don't know the details but from what I have read is that there was not even a handrail prior to the incident, and no indication where the stair edge was. Surely if you were just invited to look at the 1st quarter Moon, stepping away from the scope and found that stairs were nearby and down you went. Imagine you have a broken leg or a knee injury from this incident, suddenly you can't work, and when you point out that here was a saftey issue with the positioning of the stairs and that you couldn't see it because it was not indicated, surely you can't say "Tough, its a viewing night, you should know it's going to be dark"?
Again, we don't know the circumstances, so we can't say whether the claim was justified or not, but the ony person that can claim is a person from the public and not neccessarily someone that is educated in our hobby as we are.
04-04-2011, 12:39 PM
The running down the stairs was information given to us in a previous post.
I completely agree with that situation and rightly so. Like i said accidents happen and thats why we have insur *cough* assurance..
04-04-2011, 12:56 PM
The original quote was "One visitor is said to have taken a tumble down stairs in the dark". Stepping close to the edge of some stairs, unmarked, and in shadow can result in the same efffect as someone running around like a lunatic recklessly. All this is conjecture on my part... noone but the people who are at the centre of this know what exactly happened
Having insurance doesn't mean we don't have to ensure safety just because someone else is going to pay for the medical and rehab costs, an ultimately the rest of the astronomical club community by the look of it.
04-04-2011, 12:57 PM
Well said Tony. Most rational people don't want to sue, but if they were to suffer financial loss because of someone else's negligence litigation may be the only option open to them to avoid losing their house.
I'm sure the professional observatories have to balance OH&S requirements whilst maintaining a dark environment - amateurs shouldn't expect to be exempt.
School and public viewing nights are definitely at risk - I'm sure the next thing we'll read about is someone touching a child inappropriately in the dark...
04-04-2011, 01:24 PM
Thats out and out fearmongering.
If you honestly think someone is going to molest your child in the dark at one of these events and you took your child there and left them open to it. Who is worse the molester or the parent that took the kid, and didnt moniter the interation?
04-04-2011, 01:42 PM
I'm just someone who lives in the 21st century. I recently read a document about being a "chaperone" for my daughter's choir. That had specific instructions about never being left alone in a room with a child, where to "touch" a child, what to do if a child needs "comforting", etc. It was quite confronting to think that something you might do innocently could be interpreted another way and lead you into a nasty complaint.
I don't like it any more than you, but this is the way society has gone...
04-04-2011, 02:49 PM
I will certainly be contacting MAS's insurance company today...to see if they are contemplating an increase.
I haven't recieved anything yet!!
04-04-2011, 02:58 PM
Who do you use, John?
04-04-2011, 04:24 PM
Ah yes, the exclusions and the terminology. Quite a few thousand Australian families have found out all about policy exclusions recently.
When liability fever swept through the local councils in the late 90's in NSW, clubs and small interest groups were faced with utter absurdities such as ladies' crochet circles and the like needing $10 mill liability when using council community halls (I'm not sure either, but I suppose a person wandering by the ladies in the hall might trip over on a ball of wool or gouge themselves with a number 3 hook). The upshot was that many community groups simply folded or started meeting at homes.
Change the law on this sillines and allow people actually to take some responsibility for their actions and not as a reflex blame someone else if at all possible.
04-04-2011, 04:26 PM
Thank goodness the Pony Club events are simply a loose association of people with telescopes, who just happen to all be viewing from the same general area in a horse paddock, near Mangrove Mountain, somewhere ...
04-04-2011, 05:19 PM
Well the laws in Queensland did change and most associations became "incorporated" associations in the mid 90s. This meant the individual members were no longer personally liable in the event of a claim against the association. The associations must have a constitution (rules of incorporation), a certain amount of public liability insurance and regular audits of their financial affairs - what is wrong with that?
If you have a work related injury and have abided by the relevant safety procedures, you will be covered by "Workers Compensation". But if you ignored the safety rules, you're on your own.
I hope the same principles will apply to injuries at Astronomy events. It's part of the responsibility for being an organiser at an event - if you don't provide a safe environment for participants, you can't expect them to cop an injury on the chin. The question is what will the insurer's demand as a "safe environment"?
04-04-2011, 05:50 PM
Well, we shall see how it all goes.
Applications and alterations and the completed questionnaire had to be in by end of business today for those insuring through WHH.
If close of business (S.A. time) is 5:00 p.m. I was 3 minutes late :shrug:
04-04-2011, 05:51 PM
Yes, we received the same email and sent reply last night. I agree, it will be interesting to see what happens re the premiums.
Cheers Petra d.
05-04-2011, 06:48 PM
Mike (and everyone else)
MAS uses Local Community Insurance Services, they are based in South Australia.
We have been using them for approx 6 years, since the last blow up when the big insurers pulled out of the community group market.
I received a reply from them today stating "As far as our rates and products are concerned this is false information."
This was in relation to my question, that was posed here on IIS.
05-04-2011, 09:06 PM
Very interesting. It might pay other societies and clubs to approach your insurer and enquire as to the coverage they provide and their premiums. If the coverage is comparable, the clubs might be able to negotiate fair deals from their own societies or take the business elsewhere. Nothing talks louder and clearer to these people than money and the thought that it might walk.
05-04-2011, 10:09 PM
We (SVAA) have been using 'Webster Hyde Heath' in South Australia.
Will be interesting to see how they compare when we receive the new rates.
05-04-2011, 10:18 PM
I wonder about the legality of having attendees of observing nights sign waiver forms through which they absolve the club from any liability for personal injury?
05-04-2011, 11:45 PM
Isn't something signed without legal advice could be deemed to be under duress? I don't know but it might be a field day for the lawyers. Be just easier to do the right thing and make sure that there are no blatant safety violations.
06-04-2011, 05:19 AM
That's interesting, thanks John. If the new rates at WHH are a significant increase then I'll have to get in touch with your guys.
We use a disclaimer at IISAC which people have to sign to attend the camp. I'm not sure it really waives you from all claims that may be brought, but surely it's some extra protection which is worth having.
Will have to ask Rod.
06-04-2011, 07:24 AM
If it's anything like explaining risks of a procedure to a patient, you are not absolved of liability if you are negligent. Perhaps the "waiver" should be more about people acknowledging that there are risks about what they are engaging in, however the organisers would still have to minimise that risk.
The membership card to the national organisation for model aircraft says the following:
"Flying model aircraft involves inherent risks that may result in injury (or even death). The MAAA cannot provide a totally risk free environment. If unacceptable, immediately return this card to the MAAA Federal Secretary for refund of membership fee."
They have a lot of policies to minimise risk and a large insurance policy.
EDIT - Just reread your form Mike - it seems to make people aware of the potential risks.
12-04-2011, 06:01 AM
Does anyone have any further information about the who/what/where that this claim supposedly originated?
12-04-2011, 08:45 AM
I spoke to our contact at WHH when we received the email to enquire about whether we should respond on behalf of ASAW or BSG. No detailed info on the claim due to privacy.
Cheers Petra d.
12-04-2011, 09:11 AM
And I guess that untill the case is settled, it would be better for those involved parties to keep quiet.
(So if they are listening in, they will be busting to defend themselves!)
13-04-2011, 12:27 PM
You know, after reading this thread's development, and a few PM's on the matter, I am now seriously considering pulling the pin all together on the monthly jaunts a few of us mad dogs get up to.
If me, in organising this, am liable for any mishap that someone decides to pin on someone, then really ruins the whole thing.
We are not organised in any fashion other than as an informal get together of folks with a common interest. There is no way in the world this do could be formalised in any form - club structures, members, money, etc. It is hard enough for me to do what I do, and my good intensions have exposed my family's security, what a load of rubbish!
The whole thing has been done on good faith. Even asking a favour every month of the manager of the Airfield we use exposes them. Are we STARK RAVING MAD in this society now!
I am really pissed with this.
Oh, and actually, most folks who don't know anything about our hobby, and rock up to an astro viewing night, actually DO expect to attend a flood lit field! They really do. Just ask them. Then they see no lights at all, and they get defensive. Are we really surprised. I guess it's because we as the initiated take it for granted. Cripes I've even had ASIO called on me because some dope saw my truss dob as a suspicious device and refused to believe me that it was a scope.
13-04-2011, 12:49 PM
Don't fight against it, you can only lose! Just join a local club and enjoy doing what you do with their backing. All of the qld clubs do fantastic outreach work, and I'm sure that it is no diferent in NSW.
13-04-2011, 01:02 PM
House insurance premiums can be reduced by installing security devices.
I wonder if a club could negotiate lower premiums by agreeing to supply each public visitor with a red torch? The rechargeable/wind up versions are quite cheap.
13-04-2011, 01:07 PM
If the viewing night is organised by the teacher, held on school grounds and you are invited along I don't think there's anything to worry about.
13-04-2011, 01:52 PM
Thing is I don't need to join a club to use this site. Also no club in Sydney offers the same conditions within two hours of my home.
So you see for me it was a matter of sharing a unique place, not as an organised club arrangement.
I guess I'll just have to keep the site to myself instead of sharing a whole freaking airfield!
At the most I'll just be able to announce where my intention is to go just to let someone know for safety sake.
13-04-2011, 02:21 PM
Sorry, I think you misunderstood my intention.
I'm talking about becoming a member of an astronomical club to make use of their insurances, not their facilities.
The reason behind incorporation is to provide legal protection to the members so we can enjoy our sport in resonable safety from prosecution. We don't put in all those hours of administration for fun - well, I don't :)
You pretty much need to be a member of a club in Qld to use a green laser anyway if you want to give a show!
13-04-2011, 02:46 PM
I did understand, :) .
13-04-2011, 03:01 PM
This thread started with the commendable message that those who are more experienced with moving around and carrying out 'astronomy related activity' in the dark should show care for those who are new to such activity.
I myself am new to this hobby, and have had people look after me up at Mangrove Mountain.
This thread has listed and provoked a few good thoughts regarding appropriate behaviour to reduce the risk to my safety, as well as those around me.
- at the start of the session take the time to point out relevant safety risks to beginners, or anything that has changed since last time
- everyone should have their own red light when walking around in the dark
- minimise trip hazards such as stairways and obstacles (chairs, boxes, logs, fences, cables, dark counterweight shafts, step ladders, car towballs, etc.)
- Create a protected and "indoor" environment for power cables and batteries when used outdoors in a dewy environment
Plus my 10 cents worth of other risks for comment:
- Set up before the sun goes down
- Careful use of risky equipment, such as powerful lasers and solar telescopes?
- Driving home in the dark along winding rural roads when sleepy and in a hurry to get to bed
- Exposure to cold
- Safe storage of equipment in vehicles
- Lifting injuries
- Cranky astronomers
- What to do in the event someone does get an injury- nearest hospital, first aid kit, etc.
Do you have others? Lessons you have perhaps learnt first hand.
Such advice could reduce the likelihood of accidents, and thereby help keep insurance costs down.
Maybe a compilations of safety advice could be posted up there with the "Map to Mangrove Mountain" and "recipies for star parties" for the benefit of newbies like myself, or those who are learning the ropes solo?
13-04-2011, 04:08 PM
I got my renewal from WHH today - it is only a little more expensive than last year (about $40 more expensive).
Not as much as I expected.
Obviously your mileage may vary and may depend on how many activities you run, how many people come along etc.
13-04-2011, 04:14 PM
Cranky astrophotographers tossing cameras and laptops across the field at night! :D
I prefer to increase lighting if there are less experienced people present. Extra red lights on top of, behind and below equipment. Most SVAA camp attendees recall my "ring of death" red light rope that surrounds my little encampment - when I have 240V available.
If I bump into a chair, table, scope, tent rope in the dark, and I have :rolleyes:, that's my fault, in my opinion. I'm not suing anyone*
(*except, perhaps the Tak owners. By definition, they have money!)
In seriousness, my main concern is mains electricity on the field. I'd like to see a thread with safety suggestions that we should all follow.
13-04-2011, 04:20 PM
I see what you are saying Alexander, but you have to bear in mind a few things. Being in a club or society doesn't insure the said club/society members, only the public. What it does do is provide a measure of protection for the organisers of the event in case some injury occurs. Because if there is an injury, in Queensland certainly, there will be an investigation by WH&S and the organisers will be held accountable, and left open for civil action. The airport will also be held responsible for any actions on their premises because they did not ensure that the situation was safe... I can assure you that they will not be happy to be dragged through the mud, face fines, and lose reputation.
The origin of this thread was just to make people aware that a "Once in a Blue Moon" freak accident could occur, and that if you do not do all that you can to mitigate the risk there will be consequences. Just because it didn't happen previously, because "this is the way we do it", because people should harden up and accept the risks, will not absolve you from any potential fallout. In an extreme case:- Moreton Thiocol played the acceptable risk game and are now held up as an example of how not to set your safety policy, and NASA barely escaped blame because they were relying on advice from Thiocol.
Again, the thread (as I read it) was to point out that be aware of safety:
Don't set tripping hazards
Make sure everyone knows what they must not do
Make sure that you are covered by some sort of insurance if the public are involved.
Safety lighting doesn't have to be floodlights and strobes. Strategically places LED lights, even white marker paint on the ground to show people safe pathways will help. We started doing that at the Queensland Astrofest and it is unbelievable how much this has helped even those who are old hands at the game.
No biggie, be safe and and you can share and enjoy your hobby with anyone.
13-04-2011, 05:31 PM
I understand what you say, completely.
I'm just peeved that as an enthusiast, with no affiliation, just wanting to share, unwhittingly opens themself to a world of pain by inviting others to join them. :(
13-04-2011, 08:52 PM
News in. 15% premium increase for QLD Astrofest (I've never been so relieved to get a 15% hike before!!!!)
13-04-2011, 09:39 PM
Just like your power bill probably! We used ~15% less electricity this quarter, but the bill was within $10 of the corresponding quarter last year...
Seriously though, even if this thread just causes people think about a few safety related issues, it will have served a purpose.
Being an imager, I'm more tolerant of light on the observing field - if I can't see where I'm walking I turn on a red light.
Erick - I agree, electricity is probably my biggest worry in the dew. I'm heading down the track of 12V everything. If only the batteries weren't so heavy - I'm probably more likely to do my back in rather than be electrocuted by 240VAC! I found a weather-proof box at Bunnings last year to put the power-packs in for the Christmas lights in the garden - it wasn't really suitable for our needs, but it might be a start?
13-04-2011, 09:55 PM
I forgot to mention Phil, that's a great list - if we all remembered to take a little time to explain basic safety then these accidents woudn't happen (or would at least be someone else's fault!)
Wise words from a newbie to the board:thumbsup:
13-04-2011, 10:53 PM
Yep, ladders, leads, electricity, etc etc
but Alcohol has to be the worst!
A drunk in the dark is probably 10 times more dangerous than a sober person in the dark.
14-04-2011, 08:46 AM
My feeling too. We live in a society where suing is on. I don't understand how it's come to this. It's plain ridiculous. I was chatting with my accountant last Saturday. He printed vouchers and distributed them so people lodging their tax with his office would get a rebate. A bloke rang to collect his rebate but had his own accountant and started arguing. He ended up taking it to fair trading and so on and made a real mess out of everything. Just because of the wording on the voucher. For $30.00. :P
18-04-2011, 07:18 AM
I'm not sure if the wording on the policy is different - I haven't looked up last years yet but I don't remember the attached wording.
In addition to the price rise it seems they're a bit stricter on what they'll cover.
No more counterweight tossing? :)
18-04-2011, 09:22 AM
I don't think that I'm telling tales out of school here, but when we realised that the Astrofest was not covered by our clubs insurance (even though it is a regular club activity) and got our own, we were informed that he Counterweight Toss was not covered.
The first year of Asrtofest insurance we did not hold the Toss, but there were a lot of people disappointed, and the decisision was taken that participants were informed of the no insurance and that they take part at their own risk. I believe that the process will be a bit more formal this year.
18-04-2011, 10:27 AM
Its is absolutely crazy ... the sole reason we have to endure this sueing society is simple. The lawyers have slowly set up a system where there is ALWAYS going to be an entity with enough money available for it to be profitable to persue ANY claim no matter how rediculous. This is the role of insurance. It is so much more its job to ensure that the circumstances are favourable for profit than it ever was for making sure that we are all safe from some unscrupulous operation we may come in contact with IMO.
18-04-2011, 12:23 PM
Hmmm... if you saw some of the wayward tosses, you might understand why anyone might be unwilling to cover it. 6 or 7 kg of unguided missile will leave a lasting impression :lol:.
We could get coverage, but the premium costs are a bit prohibitive. It is a risky activity and the participants (and spectators) need to be aware that they take part at their own risk. Not an ideal situation, but that is how it is.
22-04-2011, 10:06 PM
With our litigious society becoming even more so, we may as well forget public events all together. Sadly the higher premiums will make public events more expensive and risky for the organizers, and after reading this thread I may never attend a public viewing with my equipment now, unless I have written proof of full coverage, and even then Im not sure Im willing to risk my life savings.
23-04-2011, 12:07 AM
Those stipulations have been in our policy since we started with it 5 years ago,
with Webster Hyde Heath.
Ours has increased $120 this year :mad2:
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