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Tommikka

Safe zone safety

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On a seperate thread on eye protection we have had a bit of a deviation with regard to an insurer having added a requirement to wear eye protection in safe areas due to a previous incident 

(Someone dry fired a sniper into a friends face and shot the last B.B. into their eye)

 

I mentioned barrel blocking devices / barrel condoms from Paintball, only to have it pointed out to me that they already exist in airsoft!

 

The short(ish) version of the barrel blocking device (BBD) history in Paintball was at first there was none, and with single shot pump actions etc there was some physical safety complete with a very small initial community that generally had real gun safety experience.

This then went on with people often sticking a barrel cleaner/fluffy down the barrel, next a barrel plug

Both could be shot out of the barrel making more of a projectile with a negligent discharge, so the barrel condom was born, which originally was a cover for the barrel blocker to hold it if there was a ND.  Now they can be used on their own (as long as it’s a proper modern one with sufficient material)

 

 

Previous eye pro thread:

https://airsoft-forums.uk/index.php?/topic/37985-prescription-glasses-and-airsoft/&page=2#comment-288751

 

 

..... and now your opinions and discussions on safety, gun discipline etc

 

 

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I would have thought a barrel blocker in a safe zone would be common practice for most sites. Where did this incident happen?

 

Gun safety isn't hard. Keep it on safe and your finger off the trigger and always wear eye pro regardless of whether you think it's loaded or not. 

 

Eye pro in a safe zone shouldn't be required. It's not a place to be firing your weapons and you shouldn't be pointing them at people in the first place. 

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I'll start:

1. Treat all guns as if they are always loaded.
2. Never let the muzzle cover anything that you do not intend to shoot.
3. Keep your finger out the trigger guard until you are on target and have made the decision to fire.
4. Be sure of your target and what is behind it.

 

The last being a tad less relevant to airsoft, I admit but not irrelevant, even with toy airsoft guns we should all observe these very basic rules. There's way too many people around airsoft who don't even know to hold their guns safely and properly and don't seem aware that the first rule of real steel firearms is safety: "you may hit or you may miss but at all times remember this: never, never let you gun, pointed be at anyone".

And here's some expansion upon those sentiments: https://www.thoughtco.com/gun-safety-rules-1927263

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My local site doesn't enforce barrel blockers but after a close call, I'm definitely considering starting using one and talking to the owners about making a rule about it. End of the day you can do everything you can to be safe with airsoft guns but you can't account for everyone and accidents do happen.

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2 hours ago, Gepard said:

I would have thought a barrel blocker in a safe zone would be common practice for most sites. Where did this incident happen?

 

Gun safety isn't hard. Keep it on safe and your finger off the trigger and always wear eye pro regardless of whether you think it's loaded or not. 

 

Eye pro in a safe zone shouldn't be required. It's not a place to be firing your weapons and you shouldn't be pointing them at people in the first place. 

 

I don’t know the info on it, it’s referred to in the post below, but may have also be on a different thread somewhere here at the time

 

 

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Ive tracked down the origins thread on the safe zone incident, and if I’ve copied the link correctly then this will take you directly to an update from the father of the injured person and a description of the actual incident:

 

Summary being:

gun owner removed magazine, but left rifle in the game zone and did not make safe

other player asked to borrow and went out to  bring back the rifle, but did not check safe 

one ball was still in the chamber

borrowing player accidentally fired

 

 

 

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With the circumstances above it’s easy to miss the safety procedures and slip up

 

An inexperienced player may not know of the requirement to make safe even when it’s ‘unloaded’

An experienced player may also slip up once in a while 

 

Best practice is to remove the magazine and also to make safe by firing off before leaving the game zone / entering the safe zone

There should be a member of staff enforcing this .... but depending on site layou then unless there is someone stood there constantly there will be times that someone steps in/out without full observation on checks

 

A secondary measure is a clear & visible barrel cover.  That’s my preferred option

 

 

 

In Paintball it’s standard practice for the ‘punter’ rental sites to have gun racks at the game entry point and no gun goes to the safe zone. Punters will take off their hopper and take it to the safe zone

(In my early own gunner days I still played punter style games and we often left our guns in the Marshalls shed to avoid inquisitive hands on the gun rack)

But in the ‘regular’ player market we take our guns to the safe zone, but are required to make safe with either the physical safety of a mechanical gun or switch off an electronic gun and fit a barrel blocker (barrel condom/cover)

Ideally rental sites avoid mixing punters and own gunners on normal punter days, but on an own gunners day (walk-on or event) there could and often are rental players & fairly new players

 

 

 

My airsoft experience is limited (specifoc events rather than standard days), is their an equivalent pure ‘punter’ market in Airsoft, or is it as I have experienced - mostly own gunners and some rentals / new players?

 

With more unusual items such as 40mm shells there is the other issue that the shell itself is an all in one device, so would need another safety option 

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What's to stop Danny Daftie removing the barrel bung and shooting their chum in the eye once they're in the safe zone?

 

I ask because it's an egregiously stupid thing to do in the first place, so unless you have site management watching like a hawk and bawling out everyone (including their chums) for de-bunging, it's not going to fix the underlying problem, that you've got a muppet with a gun.

 

Something I feel compelled to point out is that the more rules that a site has, the more opportunities they create for them to be broken.  So while a site may think it's covering itself by saying "Leave the bung in the barrel.  Don't shoot anyone in the eye.", what they're doing is creating an extra opportunity for an injured party to say "Why didn't you stop him taking the bung out"?

 

From a liability point of view, just about the worst thing you can do is to identify a risk, create a mitigation strategy, and then not enforce it.  You're creating a duty of care where one may not have existed, and handing the HSE and injured parties a stick to beat you with.

 

Just for example, my local site has a volunteer marshal standing at the safe zone and checking for mags being out.  This is great, but what happens when he misses one and someone loses an eye?

 

Shrugs, and "tried your best"?  No liability for a volunteer?  Vowles vs WRU suggests otherwise.

 

Sites should be striving to have fewer rules, not more, and pushing the duty of care onto players, not their staff.

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3 minutes ago, Rogerborg said:

What's to stop Danny Daftie removing the barrel bung and shooting their chum in the eye once they're in the safe zone?

 

I ask because it's an egregiously stupid thing to do in the first place, so unless you have site management watching like a hawk and bawling out everyone (including their chums) for de-bunging, it's not going to fix the underlying problem, that you've got a muppet with a gun.

 

Sites should be striving to have fewer rules, not more, and pushing the duty of care onto players, not their staff.

 

 

I suppose the "condoms" are bright enough to notice when someone doesn't have one on. 

 

One thing I know that will come into this would be cost, if a site enforces the barrel sock rule for example and they have to buy x amount of socks (or have them made which would probably be a bit cheaper than buying commercially available ones) and people end up taking the sock home rather than returning it then they will eventually have to keep buying said socks (much like arm bands which people sometimes forget to hand back)

 

I agree having less rules would be nice but unfortunately as you have said people are sometimes not as sharp as others when it comes down to H&S and the more incidents that crop up of varying magnitude the more rules have to be put in place to protect people from other peoples stupidity.

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Absolute Airsoft in Reading does have a barrel cover policy in the safe zone and someone at the entrance checking for them as well as mag out.  

 

They allow a glove to be used as a barrel cover for those who don't have one.  They do sell them on site.

 

Of course it helps if players monitor each other as well.

 

The more safety levels such as Mag-out and barrel cover should reduce the risk of accident to almost zero.

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@clumpyedge

Barrel blockers by design in Paintball are brightly coloured to give the clear distinction of being in place.  In time that’s changed to branding, camouflage etc which may not be as clear that they are on of off.

 

@Rogerborg

the quoted case establishes that the referee was the responsible person - not for the actual cause of injuries, but the decisions that took

place and that this responsibility could not go down to the players deciding what they were happy with 

Whether the rugby referee or safe zone marshall are paid staff or volunteers then the level of responsibility remains

Ultimately the site are responsible for providing a safe environment and safe practices (both in game and out of game)

The measures and procedures put into place will include delegating responsibility to staff (paid or volunteer) and making it clear to players as customers

It then subject to circumstances if the site or the individual are responsible for a failure

(The site maintains a vicarious liability for the

actions of their staff, and also has to ensure the staff are trained and familiar with the responsibilities of the role)

 

I would put it down to :

was the safety Marshall aware of what checks are to be conducted?

Did they reasonably make those checks? (observing all those coming from game to safe zones, giving an overwatch of the safe zone)

(Over watch is a hard one - unless you have 1 Marshall per player constantly by their side then it’s not 99% possible let alone 100%)

Did the site communicate the policy to players?

 

If all of the above are yes (and some more questions on reasonability) then the onus comes down on the negligent act rather than the reasonable measures 

 

This responsibility cannot be off set by waivers, but can have the expectations of how people are to act in the waiver.  This is often not read* by anyone signing it so there needs to be something else to get the message across about safe zone disciple .... also not just signs

* I’ve read a lot of disclaimers, but often as not after the event rather than on signing with me comparing other sites/events rules & practices.

 

The rule on eye pro in the safe zone was apparantly put into place on the insurers requirements following the shooting incident.

This is still subject to both Danny Daftie and his cousin Derek, one removing eye pro and the other making an ND

Its an additional measure which acknowlegdes that the previous policy of magazine off & empty the chamber were insufficient 

Personnaly I don’t trust this measure - it does nothing for Peter Punter who arrives without eye pro until he collects it at the desk, which may or may not put him into the ‘risk area’ of the  safe zone depending on layout.  And it also means all the non participating drivers all need eye pro even in the safe place.

Potentially it also scales down the importance of making safe before exiting the game zone —— “It doesn’t matter, everyone will have eye pro ....”

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@clumpyedge

on buying or making barrel covers I’d veer to the side of buying rather than making

I would hazard a guess the initial force of a ND B.B. compared to a ND Paintball at barrel exit  is less - but how much is that compensated by a small solid ball as opposed to a large breakable liquid filled ball?

 

For a piece of safety equipment I’d not skimp by making what could get challenged as not up to standard.

 

But a site would have access to wholesalers and probably the option for corporate branding with a bulk / trade discount.  Then also add them to the range in the shop

 

For general covers my search indicates that they are the same thing as Paintball barrel condoms, just marketed and branded to airsoft.  (Which could help on pricing as sites, distributors and manufacturers these days often span both hobbies)

 

 

Put it in the site risk assessment, raise it as a rule, stock up to cover rental equipment, shop stock, and enough to ensure there is plenty for every player initially and spare.

Offer them to regulars - they are going to disappear and they are going to wear away. If the site gives them away for ‘free’ at first (or as part as game fee) then the responsibility begins to go to players to ensure they have them, and the site can stock a number for the shop and rental guns to keep them available.

 

 

PS @EDcase I don’t like the sound of allowing a glove to be used - perhaps ok on the basis that with magazine removed there is only one shot in the chamber so the flying glove has that one shot inside it

 

Next concerns would be more unusual weapons —— how do I know that shotgun over  there has had all the cartridges ejected, how obvious is it that a pistol does or does not have a magazine fitted as opposed to a rifle which either has a magazine poking out or not 

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Barrel blocker sounds like a good idea, not familiar with them but it doesn't sound like rocket science.

BUT. I'm sorry if I sound like an fart but I must emphasise this: The first and biggest mistakes made there were having his finger in the trigger guard and pointing it at someone. 

Nothing wrong with carefully dry firing it in the safe area so long as it's pointed in a safe direction, but not aiming at people outside the game.

After all Airsofts are actually more vulnerable to still having "one up the spout" than Real Steels as BBs are so much smaller easy to miss and not being automatically extracted like a cartridge, even with GBBs and springers.

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Regarding safety..

Since in Italy we don't have fields like yours, every team applies their safety policies..

Our team's policy is: your eyepro must be on from the moment you plug the battery in your gun to the moment you unplug it at the end of the day.

If someone needs to remove his eyepro for whatever reason then he has to shout "I'm taking my eyepro off" and everybody else their mags out and don't touch anything until the guy's done.

 

A few years ago I personally shot a guy with his eyepro off, but that happened because right after he took the hit he took his mask off, with bbs still flying at him..

Luckily I hit his chest and didn't even get close to his eyes, but we got so mad at him he got kicked from the team without any chance to join back.

 

I'd say there should be someone at the safe zone making sure every gun is unloaded (yeah it's a crap job, but at least you make sure nothing can go wrong), and/or force people to apply the barrel condom or some sort of cover..

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1 hour ago, Defender90 said:

Nothing wrong with carefully dry firing it in the safe area so long as it's pointed in a safe direction, but not aiming at people outside the game.

 

Disagree with any dry firing in the safe zone.  Players just need to take the gun out into the game area and test it there.  Too many airsoft cockwombles who will ignore safety or maybe should not be in pocession of  a gun who will make a mistake; I have had BBs fly past me in a safe zone before.  At The Mall they enforce the no dry firing in the safe zone.

 

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1 hour ago, Tommikka said:

This responsibility cannot be off set by waivers, but can have the expectations of how people are to act in the waiver.  This is often not read* by anyone signing it so there needs to be something else to get the message across about safe zone disciple .... also not just signs

 

Oh, I read my local one, and laughed as I signed it.  What a daft waste of paper.  They have been far better off getting me to sign that I'd read, understood and agreed to carry out my duties of care to myself and other players.

 

You can't tell people this though, they honestly believe that these things must be binding, because everybody uses them.

 

 

1 hour ago, Tommikka said:

Potentially it also scales down the importance of making safe before exiting the game zone —— “It doesn’t matter, everyone will have eye pro ....”

 

Exactly, it makes a mockery of the idea of a "safe zone".  Wait until someone gets shot in the car park.

 

 

8 minutes ago, Jedi_Master said:

At The Mall they enforce the no dry firing in the safe zone.

 

That's a word that I'd think very long and hard before using.

 

I should probably have said, I'm all in favour of anything that keeps my eyes safe in a safe zone, and would be fine with barrel covers and no dry firing.

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6 minutes ago, Rogerborg said:

That's a word that I'd think very long and hard before using.

 

Cannot think of a better one at this time.  One of their rules is no dry firing in the safe zone, which if observed by or reported to a marshal is acted upon and verbal warning given for the first offense. Enforcing this rule by prohibiting a player from any further airsoft on site for rest of the day on occasion of a second offense.

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23 minutes ago, Rogerborg said:

 

 

Exactly, it makes a mockery of the idea of a "safe zone".  Wait until someone gets shot in the car park.

 

..... or the time I drove onto a site with all my windows down in the summer .... to watch people running past in the woods parallel to the track shooting each other ...... windows up

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53 minutes ago, Tommikka said:

..... or the time I drove onto a site with all my windows down in the summer .... to watch people running past in the woods parallel to the track shooting each other ...... windows up

similar-ish..... but at Combat Airsoft, the paint ball site is next to the car park, so parents can watch their kids when they play (not sure if same with adult games?), one 'ball' landed near a parents feet but when we got back to the car, my brother had a splattering of pink on his bumper. This area is protected by high fencing to stop this but even so, the odd one got out....

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2 hours ago, djben9 said:

similar-ish..... but at Combat Airsoft, the paint ball site is next to the car park, so parents can watch their kids when they play (not sure if same with adult games?), one 'ball' landed near a parents feet but when we got back to the car, my brother had a splattering of pink on his bumper. This area is protected by high fencing to stop this but even so, the odd one got out....

As long as it has flown a high arc and dropped outside having lost velocity then that’s ‘OK’

If it has directly gone through netting, via a rip or through misaligned cable holes* then that’s not ok

Ideally a woodland site should have game boundaries that don’t reach the end of the woods, so that the range of a Paintball stays in the woods and doesn’t get out

 

Car parks and viewing areas should be seperate from game zones to avoid over firing, and if the viewing is close to the net then one net high is suitable, ideally two nets high are better (but in danger of blowing down in bad weather)

 

* netting has holes along it for the wire cable, and should be hung in two layers so they holes are not aligned

 

There are various problems with viewing areas and Paintball, too close to netting and the net will stop a direct Paintball but it will break and the paint spray you -  too close at eye height and it won’t be pleasant

 

 

In the tournament world there are generally a viewing area on one side and the staging area on the other side. There may be additional cross nets to catch arcs, but the main culprits are the inflatables - balls rebound in any  direction and the cars parked nearest to the fields take many splats

A good staging area has wooden roofs or gazebos which not only give weather shelter but also escaping fliers

Viewing areas don’t generally have them so need consideration on the angles for escaping fliers

 

‘Adult’ punter paintball is less likely to have awaiting parents - but could still have people around.  

 

These should all be considered in site design and mustn’t be forgotten when changing around

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7 hours ago, Tommikka said:

@clumpyedge

on buying or making barrel covers I’d veer to the side of buying rather than making

I would hazard a guess the initial force of a ND B.B. compared to a ND Paintball at barrel exit  is less - but how much is that compensated by a small solid ball as opposed to a large breakable liquid filled ball?

 

For a piece of safety equipment I’d not skimp by making what could get challenged as not up to standard.

 

But a site would have access to wholesalers and probably the option for corporate branding with a bulk / trade discount.  Then also add them to the range in the shop

 

For general covers my search indicates that they are the same thing as Paintball barrel condoms, just marketed and branded to airsoft.  (Which could help on pricing as sites, distributors and manufacturers these days often span both hobbies)

 

 

Put it in the site risk assessment, raise it as a rule, stock up to cover rental equipment, shop stock, and enough to ensure there is plenty for every player initially and spare.

Offer them to regulars - they are going to disappear and they are going to wear away. If the site gives them away for ‘free’ at first (or as part as game fee) then the responsibility begins to go to players to ensure they have them, and the site can stock a number for the shop and rental guns to keep them available.

 

We are lucky to have a very good tailor that makes tactical kit and accessories on our behalf a fair bit so expense wouldn't be spared but I'm more thinking in the larger picture of sites having to buy these as policy. Maybe i havnt worded what i wanted to get across quite right.

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On 21/11/2017 at 6:34 PM, Tommikka said:

Ideally a woodland site should have game boundaries that don’t reach the end of the woods, so that the range of a Paintball stays in the woods and doesn’t get out

 

We should think ourselves lucky that we don't have ze German airsoft requirement which I believe is an inner barrier surrounded by an outer netting barrier round the entire site, separated by twice the longest range of a BB from the highest power gun allowed.

 

Whether it's honoured more in the breach than the observance I'm not sure, but it must sharply limit the number of suitable, affordable sites.  If true, which it may not be.

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Ze German limit is overkill, if the highest power gun fires at 100m you need to have at least a 200m buffer zone.. That's A LOT of terrain unused..

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