Skywalk Adventure has sought advice from many professionals operating within the adventure industry regarding the wearing of helmets on tree adventure based courses. Course constructors, operators and professional trainers alike have offered the following analysis of pros and cons of wearing a helmet.
The disadvantages of wearing a helmet on a rope based course include: risk of entrapment; risk of strangulation; impaired peripheral vision; discomfort causing distraction, one size fits all helmets results in poor fitting and inadequate protection; hygiene issues etc. The advantages of wearing a helmet include: protection of the head when striking a hard surface or when head struck by falling object.
GoApe has conducted a number of reports with the Royal Society of the Prevention of Accidents and whilst we are not privy to the content of those reports, their findings support the view that the disadvantages of participants wearing safety helmets outweigh the minimal benefits. As a leading adventure course operator we would be remiss not to heed their research and findings.
Our own research supports these findings and having operated other adventure based sports where helmets are required (for example, skiing) we can find no evidence that outweighs the argument that the disadvantages of wearing helmets outweigh the minimal benefits.
In practice, where there is a real risk of falling objects, such as excessive wind speed, lightning and storms, the course will be closed pursuant to standard operating procedure. Furthermore, our compliance with Health and Safety rules in general is well documented and we continue to aim to achieve and exceed all guidance produced by various authorities.
In conclusion, the increased risks of wearing a helmet, especially strangulation and entrapment outweigh the benefit of a reduced risk of injury to the head. To this end, helmets are not worn on the courses.