As the winter season brings about the colder and snowy weather, it transforms municipal parks and provides the opportunity for members of the community to participate in a number of winter activities, which can include sledding and tobogganing.
Although sledding and tobogganing can be a source of enjoyment for the community during winter, addressing safety risks is essential for municipal entities. They need to think about a range of risks associated with allowing the community to use designated hills for sledding and tobogganing and implement a comprehensive risk management plan to help prevent injury, severe harm, or death.
The following guidance highlights key areas of consideration for municipal entities as they make available designated sledding and tobogganing hills for their community. It should not be seen as an exhaustive list and should be used in conjunction with internal policies and procedures, as well as in compliance with local laws and regulations.
Municipal entities need to establish clear criteria that will be used to designate which hills within their jurisdiction will be made available for sledding and tobogganing. To select the most appropriate hills, they should consider the following items:
Hill feature:- Height, Slope, Length, Width, Run-off or landing area
Hazards:- Roads, Parking lots, Trees, Poles, Benches, Water fountains, Bodies of water
Municipal entities need to appropriately lay out the designated sledding and tobogganing areas to maximize the safety of patrons. A well thought out design includes the following:
Municipal entities need to establish a comprehensive inspection and maintenance program to identify, rectify, and document safety hazards, which should include the following elements:
Municipal entities need to leverage various communication channels (for example, media releases, website updates, and social media updates) to disseminate key information to its community regarding the designated sledding and tobogganing hills in their jurisdictions, which can include the following:
Municipal entities should have the appropriate signage at the designated sledding and tobogganing hills entrances and key locations throughout the park to inform patrons of the following:
Municipal entities must design and operate their designated sledding and tobogganing hills in a manner that helps keep all patrons safe. Through the development and implementation of a comprehensive risk management plan, measures can be put in place to help prevent injury, severe harm, or death and provide patrons with an enjoyable and safe experience during the winter season.
If you have questions, please contact your Marsh representative.