Motorsports, driving shows and driving trials

Risks can be eliminated from motorsports and driving shows 

Plans concerning safety 

Responsibility for the drivers, audience and bystanders 

Special features to consider 

Protection procedures 

Safety of the audience and stands 

Recording of accidents and duty to report 

Information provided to drivers 

Information provided to spectators 

Non-liability signs, clauses and forms 

Karting and other light motorsports 

Control measures ensure safety 

Risks can be eliminated from motorsports and driving shows 

According to the Consumer Safety Act, the operator is responsible for ensuring that a service involves no risks to anyone’s health or property.

 

In motorsports, this often also involves the prevention and elimination of hazards to drivers so that there are no significant risks to health or property. It must also be ensured that there is no danger to bystanders or spectators.

 

In practice, this means good planning and careful implementation in accordance with the duty of care in the Consumer Safety Act (section 5):

 

“Operators shall, by observing the care and skills required by the circumstances, ensure that a consumer good or service does not involve any risk to the health or property of any person. Operators shall have sufficient and correct information on the consumer good or service, and shall duly evaluate the risks involved therein.” 

 

In motorsports, velocity, as well as the mass of the vehicle and persons, create powerful forces (kinetic energy). The direction and magnitude of these forces must be taken into account in the assessment and management of risks.

 

A target level should always be set for safety in the risk assessment by predetermining the expected consequences of the activities.

 

In motorsports, it is necessary to define what can be considered a typical consequence that goes with or can be expected of the activities as a so-called accepted risk. Identified risks should also always have agreed upon protection procedures and control measures in place in order for them to be considered accepted risks. If any risk has not been identified and assessed in advance, it cannot be considered an accepted risk. Risks that have been accepted in advance (e.g. sport-specific risks) do not need to be reported in accordance with section 8 of the Consumer Safety Act even when realised, if they have not involved significant danger to persons or property.

 

Plans concerning safety 

Motorsport events are often also public events under the Assembly Act, and the police usually require a notification regarding their safety and maintenance of order. If necessary, the police may also issue stipulations, such as requiring a safety plan or a traffic plan.

 

When the number of people present at the same time exceeds 200 or, for any other special reason, the event involves a significant risk of personal injury or fire, an emergency plan and a possible first aid plan for the event must also be submitted to the rescue department, see template

A safety document in accordance with the Consumer Safety Act regarding a service (competition, show, etc.) must be prepared for a motorsport service that involves a significant risk that, if realised, poses a safety hazard. In practice, a safety document must almost always be prepared for motorsports.

 

Several plans regarding safety can also be compiled into a single plan that adequately describes all aspects and information.

 

In motorsports, it is recommended that documents and plans be updated at least once a year or on an event-specific basis in the case of a separate event. A track may have its own general so-called track plan that defines the procedures and measures for normal and continuous use. On the other hand, separate plans should be prepared for competitions and events deviating from normal use; these should take into account the nature and scale of the activities, as well as their arrangements and place of performance. In the plans, it is important to describe the content of the activities and how risk management has been taken care of.

 

Responsibility for the drivers, audience and bystanders 

In motorsports where all the drivers are in a so-called employee position or just members of the club organising the event, the drivers are not subject to the Consumer Safety Act. If any driver is a hobbyist or a representative of another club, the Consumer Safety Act must be applied. This also applies to any passengers in the vehicles.

 

In addition to the drivers, the organiser of the competition or event is also responsible for the passengers, event audience, spectators and the safety of other bystanders. If the sphere of influence includes other people who, for example, just walk past or across the area, the organiser is also responsible for the safety of such persons as regards the effects of the event. This also applies to guidance provided for incoming customers.

 

The Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) is happy to cooperate with sports federations and operators, and participates in development together with various parties.

 

Also see our website on public events.

 

Special features to consider 

When planning a motorsport event or service, you must be aware of the special features of the equipment and place of performance. The most important vehicle details include mass and velocity, but rapid acceleration (a) may also give rise to risks. Mass (m) and velocity (v) generate kinetic energy (½ mv2) which plays a major role in the assessment of protection procedures and control measures.,

 

Operators must take into account the risks associated with a motorsport event in accordance with the duty of care. People, the operating environment and the equipment used are highlighted in motorsports. Track safety consists mainly of driver safety, audience safety, occupational safety and the safety of bystanders.

 

In motorsports and public events, the main organiser is responsible for the overall safety of the event even if that organiser purchases or acquires services from subcontractors. The main organiser must also ensure safe coordination of the various activities and provide subcontractors with information on any risks posed by other operators so that they know to prepare for them.

 

Due to the nature of the sport, first aid and response should be defined at a higher level than at a standard public event. In practice, this may mean preparing for a rescue from a vehicle, extinction of a fire and treatment of serious injuries. Furthermore, there is the possibility of situations with multiple patients depending on the sport and activities; these should be adequately prepared for.

 

Protection procedures 

The mass, acceleration and velocity of the equipment used, as well as any parts that may come loose and hurtle from the vehicle, should always be taken into account in protection procedures. The safety of the driver in crash situations must also be taken into account when planning protection procedures. This is particularly highlighted in motorcycling where the driver is not protected by the vehicle.

  • Distance. The distance from obstacles, other people and property must be sufficient so as not to pose a danger to them. The stopping distance on that surface and with that equipment must be known in order to calculate the sufficient safety distance at that speed. Safety areas should be defined in the track safety plan.
  • Surface. The surface material and its shape have a significant effect on slowing down the velocity of vehicle and any separate parts. On the other hand, the surface material (asphalt, grass, sand) and conditions (dry, wet, ice) as well as the shape of the surface are essential factors affecting the safety of the driver when he/she slides separate to the vehicle.
  • Difference in altitude. A difference in altitude can be utilised in protection procedures depending on the slope of surface and the vehicle. A slight ascent slows the vehicle down, but the required distance is long. Ground descending towards the audience or bystanders increases the need for protection.
  • A crash barrier that prevents the equipment and driver from running people over. The barrier must be able to withstand a vehicle collision and absorb collision energy so that the equipment does not pass through the barrier. There must be a safe distance behind the barrier before people so that the potential impact is not transferred from the barrier to the people. 
  • An access barrier that prevents, for example, a child or an intoxicated person from dashing to the show or driving area. A streamer is not a sufficient access barrier. Instead, at least a light fence (Vepe) or similar should be used. Movement of vehicles among people should also be blocked off, for example, when moving to the pit area or the competition site. Areas for the audience should be defined in the track safety plan.
  • Trajectory and direction. Danger zones depend significantly on the direction and trajectory of the vehicle. The risk is generally lower on the inside of a corner than on the outside. The direction and trajectory of vehicles should be taken into account in the placement of the audience and officials.
  • A protection embankment or padding should be added to protect the driver at barriers so that they do not pose a danger to the driver. 

 

There can be multiple or individual protection procedures as long as their protective impacts are effective and sufficient in relation to the activity in question. If necessary, multiple protection procedures should be used simultaneously if the kinetic energy is high and buffer zone width alone is not sufficient.

 

Safety of the audience and stands 

If the lane is straight and the audience is not placed at the end of the straight but only on the sides, protective procedures can be lighter at the end than on the straight. In practice, however, there must be a sufficient access barrier even at the end so that people cannot access the track.

 

In relation to the trajectory, protection of the audience can be lighter in areas where the audience is still in the so-called area affected by acceleration, i.e. behind or directly to the side of the starting area as well as at a 45-degree angle in front of the vehicle. However, the impact of the mass of the vehicle, or parts that come loose from it, on the need for protection even at a low speed should be taken into account in the activities.

 

Similarly, the need for protection may be lower with a light and slow vehicle, in which case an access barrier may an adequate protection procedure. However, mass and other forces, such as mechanical energy, power, torsion, acceleration and centrifugal force, must still be taken into account.

 

At any gaps for access, the barriers should be subject to surveillance or have a lockable barrier and a ban on unauthorised access to the track/show area. This is also relevant in terms of motor insurance, in defining a closed area. In principle, the closed area is interpreted narrowly, in which case vehicles must have motor insurance. For more information, visit the Traffic Accident Board’s website.

 

Crash barriers, access barriers and protection embankments must be designed in such way that they do not cause any danger to drivers or other people. For example, the use of non-padded wood panels poses a risk if the panel can shatter into splinters in a collision, especially in sports where the driver is not secured in the vehicle with a seatbelt.

 

Recording of accidents and duty to report 

The Consumer Safety Act obliges you to report accidents and incidents, i.e. close call situations, to Tukes immediately when the situation permits (section 8). Less severe injuries typical for the sport can be left unreported, but accidents involving bystanders should always be reported to Tukes. More serious and exceptional consequences should also be reported.

 

Operators must record minor injuries and incidents that do not necessarily need to be reported to Tukes.  Recording of accidents is a key risk management tool for the event organiser in developing safety.

 

Consumers and bystanders can also report a hazard, incident or accident they have experienced to Tukes.  Learn more about the responsibilities of a service provider.

 

Information provided to drivers 

Drivers need to be provided with sufficient information about the track and/or performance. An adequate skill level and the suitability of the equipment and tools should be ensured at the same time.

 

Information provided to spectators 

Spectators should be provided with information relevant in terms of the safety of the motorsport event in advance at the place of purchase, such as on a website and at a cash desk, as well as the place of potential danger. For example, if a fog machine is used indoors or in a tent, consumers should be informed of the matter so that they can consider whether they want to participate in the service if it may have an effect on their health or well-being. High-pitched sounds, noise, vibration and exhaust fumes, for example, may also be issues that consumers should be warned about in advance.

 

Non-liability signs, clauses and forms 

An operator cannot be discharged from liability, and the duty of care in accordance with the Consumer Safety Act, by means of so-called non-liability clauses. Guideposts or agreements such as “use/drive at your own risk” or “you are in the area at your own risk” do not discharge the operator from the duty of care. On the other hand, signs such as “climbing prohibited” may be necessary information in terms of safety and should be provided as needed. However, such guidance does not remove obligations under the Consumer Safety Act.

 

Karting and other light motorsports 

The Tukes guide for promoting the safety of karting can also be used for other lighter motorsports, where applicable. Such sports include, for example, “Lokari” small car, mini moped, electric moped and electric quad bike tracks or other similar sports and tracks where the velocities, powers and masses are similar to karting.

 

Karting in slippery conditions is possible if the protection procedures and measures are sufficient to ensure safety and also cover special features in terms of, for example, cold weather and spiked tyres. The operator is responsible for raising the level of safety to an adequate level in accordance with the activities.

 

Control measures ensure safety 

Control measures are actions made in an effort to control the conditions and activities in order to improve safety. For example, car accessories, providing information, training, practicing, verification by experience, etc. can be control measures.

 

Control measures also include guidance and instruction as well as various limitations, such as a speed limit. Speed can be limited with a traffic sign, chicane, barrier or bump, but also through mechanical or electronic means.

 

Maintenance and repair of the track can also be considered a control measure. Preventing objects and substances from entering the track through structural solutions, for example, is a control measure to remove and prevent hazards. First aid and response can also be considered as a control measure for consequences.

 

The track safety plan is one part of the safety document, which constitutes a major control measure. The plan describes the activities of the track on a map and defines the hazards, danger zones, safe areas, areas for the audience as well as the necessary protective procedures and control measures.