Entertainment Facilities Must Be Safe

August 4, 2017

Leisure time means family time and in order to spend quality time with loved ones, consumers tend to pick on activities which give them enjoyment. It is a fact that cinema is a common and growing form of entertainment. Fortunately, there are numerous cinema outlets in towns and cities which consumers can resort to for quality family time and entertainment.

But while quality family time is imperative, so is safety. It is the responsibility of the parents to beware of the environment they are taking their children into. It should be safe and hazard free. Moreover, it is the responsibility of the service providers to ensure their premises are safe and secure at all times. Not to mention their facilities do not pose any risks to consumers. The service providers need to be mindful of the placement of the furniture and decorations in their foyers and waiting areas so as to avoid mishaps or unwarranted injury to the consumers.

The Council recently came across a case where a child sustained a severe cut on her toe due to the wrongful placement of a coffee table in a cinema complex.

Tim decided to take his wife and a daughter out to a cinema in the central vicinity. Since they arrived at the venue an hour early and the movie they planned to watch was to begin at 6.30pm, Tim decided to treat his family to some snacks and hot drinks while they waited. The cinema complex had a comfortable looking waiting lounge with coffee tables and chairs placed for the benefit of the consumers.

Six year old Julie was impatiently sipping on her cup of hot chocolate placed on the coffee table when suddenly she felt a pinch on her toe. She instantly started crying as her foot started to hurt. A concerned Tim and his wife immediately looked into what was the cause of her outburst. In no time they saw blood gushing out of her tiny foot. She happened to get a big cut on her right foot from the sharp edges of the coffee table stand.

The worried parents instantly raised their concerns with the cinema management who not only failed to assist in a timely manner, but also did not fill in an accident report.

The distraught parents took Julie to the hospital on their own accord and got her treated for the wound caused. What was intended to be a family bonding time turned out to be a sour experience for Tim as he ended up losing out on money and quality family time.

Feeling offended by the laid back attitude of the management of the cinema, Tim then lodged a complaint with the Council and sought redress as it was due to the nature of furniture at the cinema that her daughter got injured. There were no signs or precautionary notices which could indicate to parents that the coffee tables had sharp edges.

After the Council’s intervention, the cinema reimbursed $120 for the transportation cost incurred by Tim.

Tim further acted responsibly by raising the issue with the Occupational Health and Safety Department at Ministry of Labour who upon visiting the cinema premises got the table and chairs removed.

In light of such cases, the Council wishes to remind parents to be vigilant of the environment where they take their children. Parents need to pay attention to details such as sharp table edges, broken seats and amenities. If items which can pose risk to consumers is seen then it is equally important to voice the concerns rather than wait for an incident to occur before speaking out.

Alternatively, service providers are urged to pay heed to the nature of artefacts, decorations and furniture they select to beautify their service areas where consumers flock. The items chosen should not pose health and safety risks to consumers in any way.

Consumers who have complaints with respect to similar issues against the service providers are advised to lodge their complaints with the Council on its National Consumer Helpline Toll Free Number 155.