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CANOPY SAFETY GUIDELINES
Costa Rica ExpeditionsIn recent years, canopy experiences and rides have come into vogue in Costa Rica. There is no government safety regulation of these activities. A few self regulate and use acceptable safety practices. MOST do not. There has already been three deaths involving a canopy ride in Costa Rica and frankly, it is surprising that there have not been more. Since safety practices change rapidly - for better or for worse - we cannot make recommendations about individual operations. You should make an effort to find out the level of security at activities in which you are thinking of participating. Here are a few general guidelines for you to take into account.

Helmets: If there are people up high and people down low, the people down should wear hard hats all times. At a hundred feet an object as small as a falling coin can cause a serious head injury. This is such a basic safety precaution for activities involving people in high places that you can assume general sloppiness if it is not religiously adhered to.

Crowd control: This particularly applies to canopy platform and walkway attractions. There needs to be consistently effective efforts to keep people out of harms way and to make sure that load limits are always obeyed. Signs indicating prohibited areas and load limits are not enough, especially when the appearance of sought after animals might tempt people to overload platforms or walkways. There needs to be trained personnel committed to making sure there is never overloading.

Redundancy: This means that there are at least two independent systems that insure participant's safety so that if one fails the other system(s) prevents an accident. There can be no common elements. If two ropes are tied to the same anchor, the accident will happen when the anchor fails.

Consistency and written safety rules and protocols: This is the most important of all and the hardest to detect. Unless there are written safety rules and protocols backed by continuous training and safety surveys, personnel will break rules and allow rules to be broken and the possibility of tragic accidents will be unacceptably high. Ask to see the rules.

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