When starting any business, it is crucial to be aware of potential legal issues. This is especially true for companies in the amusement park industry. There are a variety of regulations and laws in this industry that you must follow to avoid costly legal problems down the road. Because you will deal with the safety of the public regularly, you must be prepared to handle any potential issues that may come up.
Here are a few tips to help you avoid legal issues when starting an amusement park business:
1. Zoning Laws
One of the first things you need to do when starting an amusement park business is to ensure you comply with all local zoning laws. These laws will dictate where you are allowed to build your amusement park. If you try to erect your park in an area not zoned for that type of business, you could face costly fines or even be forced to shut down. Many municipalities have specific zoning laws for amusement parks, so do your research before you start construction.
Ask your local zoning office about the specific requirements for setting up an amusement park in your area. You can also look online for your city or county’s zoning code. If you’re unsure whether or not you comply with the law, it’s always best to consult with an attorney specializing in business law.
2. Building and Safety Codes
Another vital consideration is building codes. All amusement parks must meet specific safety standards to operate. This includes having adequate fire exits and ensuring that all rides are up to code. If you fail to meet these standards, you could be fined or ordered to make changes to your park. Sometimes, you may even be forced to close down until the necessary changes are made.
Your rides are also subject to regular inspections by the state or local authorities. These inspections ensure that your rides are safe for the public. A good product liability expert witness can professionally assess the safety of your rides. This will help you avoid potential legal issues arising from injuries or accidents at your park. Always make sure that your rides comply with the latest safety standards.
Safety while handling fireworks is of utmost importance if you want to include them in your park’s attractions. Most amusement parks will hire a professional fireworks company to handle this display. However, if you decide to do it yourself, ensure you are familiar with all the local laws and regulations regarding fireworks.
3. Liability Issues
When people come to your amusement park, they trust they will be safe. If someone is injured at your park, they could sue you for damages. This is why it is so important to have adequate insurance coverage in place. This will help protect you financially if someone gets hurt at your park.
You can also minimize your liability risk by posting signs that warn visitors of the potential risks associated with specific rides. For example, if you have a roller coaster that goes upside down, you should have a sign that warns visitors of the risks associated with that ride. By posting these warnings, you can help show that you took reasonable steps to protect your visitors.
If you must have visitors sign a waiver, make sure the disclaimer is clear and easy to understand. Having an attorney review your waiver would be best to ensure it will hold up in court. Don’t try to hide the risks associated with your rides by using vague language in your waiver. This could come back to bite you if someone is injured at your park.
4. Hiring Employees
Your employees will be responsible for the safety of your visitors, so it’s essential to take care when hiring them. Make sure you conduct thorough background checks on all of your employees. You should also require them to complete a training program covering your park’s proper safety procedures. Many amusement parks also require their employees to pass a safety certification exam.
In addition to hiring safe employees, you must also ensure they are adequately trained in customer service. Your employees should be friendly and helpful at all times. They should also be able to handle difficult situations, such as dealing with an angry customer. You could face a lawsuit if you don’t train your employees properly.
Starting an amusement park business can be a great way to earn a living, but it is essential to be aware of the potential legal issues. By following all local zoning laws and building codes and taking measures to mitigate liability risks, you can legally help ensure that your business gets off on the right foot. With the proper precautions, you can avoid many common legal pitfalls that amusement parks face.