How to Create a Culture of Safety in Your Family Entertainment Center

Family entertainment centers (FECs) strive to engage families by providing activities everyone can enjoy. There’s lots of work and planning that go into making places like amusement parks, bowling alleys, and water parks safe for the masses. Establishing a strong safety culture is necessary to reduce the risk of any kind of injury, which is why it should be an organization’s top priority to create consistent and strong safety practices.

Develop a company safety vision

Developing a safety vision isn’t just about keeping lawsuits at bay. There’s too much at stake to not have strong safety practices in place to protect staff, guests, and anyone else who might visit your center. The best FEC owners and operators infuse safety into their culture and see it as one of the fundamental foundations of their businesses.

Taking the time to write out a safety vision statement starts with:

  • Aligning the organization. This goes back to establishing a shared vision of safety and health goals, objectives, and operational plans.
  • Defining specific roles. At all levels of the organization, roles need to be defined and specified so that safety and health are viewed as everyone’s responsibility. Safety is never a choice; it’s a necessary daily practice. Everyone is held accountable.
  • Developing a system to monitor and improve. Nothing is ever perfect. If no one is monitoring safety and looking for ways to improve practices and procedures, you are putting yourself, your team, and your guests at risk.
  • Developing measurable objectives. How many equipment checks are conducted daily? What kinds of hazards are reported and how are they corrected? These are just a few ways safety can be measured in an FEC.


It’s time to sit down and define what your safety vision looks like for your business. What goals, policies, and measurements do you plan to put into place to make sure your staff is on board?



Ownership and management buy-in

There’s no use in having a well-thought-out plan if you aren’t going to follow through with it. It’s imperative ownership and management believe in the vision. If they don’t, safety will always compete against core business issues such as production and profitability.

Leaders will need to guide their employees to set safety goals and objectives as well as provide needed resources such as money, equipment, materials, methods, and time. Motivating staff through active participation in and support of safety and health initiatives is essential to achieving safety success. The entire management and supervisory staff need to set the example.

Management and owners can start by creating alliances among their teams and identifying key personnel to champion the changes. Building trust with guests is important but equally as important is building trust with staff. Staff should feel the need to go above and beyond with daily safety practices without feeling short-term production pressures. When a strong safety culture is present, everyone will feel responsible and comfortable in reminding team members of the practices, and they will look out for each other.

For managers, tips for building a strong safety culture include:

  • Continually share and promote your safety vision.
  • Enforce accountability.
  • Provide options for training and reporting including the use of technology.
  • Report, report, and report.
  • Rebuild the investigation system.
  • Manage trust and keep the waters calm.
  • Celebrate successes.


Safety must be integrated as a company value among every leader, manager, and employee in the organization. Safety should be viewed as a value just like honesty, working hard, and showing up to work on time. Values are embedded, while priorities can change. Making safety a company value leads to building a workplace safety culture.

Preparing for the unpreventable

Even with the strong safety culture in place, there’s still a need for insurance to help cover the necessary risks and sometimes-unpreventable accidents that come with running an amusement establishment. Keeping employee morale high and customers happy is the goal of many FEC owners, but without proper coverage, an incident can easily become a sinkhole for both of these objectives.

McGowan Program Administrators created the Family Entertainment Center Insurance Program based on years of experience in the industry. Our IAAPA Elite Insurance Program administered by The McGowan Amusement Group brings together the best in insurance, risk management, training, and safety consultation.

There are three facets of the program:

  • Safety Training and Education. There’s an online educational portal with in-depth training resources and assessments.
  • Risk Management and Loss Control Support. 24/7 consultation available, as well as on-site loss control inspections and seminars.
  • Comprehensive and Competitive Insurance Coverage. The program offers a 10% rate credit for IAAPA members.


Safety isn’t expensive; it’s priceless. There’s no better time than now to start a strong safety culture.

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