Consumers’ personal responsibility for their safety
The service provider, such as the municipality that owns an indoor swimming pool or an adventure course entrepreneur, is responsible for ensuring that the service offered to consumers is safe. As a participant in the service, you are personally responsible for the following:
- Find out about the content and safety of the service in advance.
- Notify the service provider in advance about your illnesses and limits to participation.
- Find out your insurance cover and how comprehensive the insurance is, especially for high-risk sports. You can also ask the service provider about the insurance cover they offer.
- Do not drink and participate.
- Demand that the service provider offer sufficient instruction and guidance for the service. If you do not understand, ask.
- Know your limits. Do not participate in activities, if you do not think you can do it. You can refuse the service even after the initial instruction.
- Find out in advance how you can stop the activity safely, if necessary.
- Follow the instructions given and restrictions issued by the service provider. If you do not understand, ask.
- Use appropriate protective equipment.
- Take the other participants into account. Do not cause a danger to the others.
- If necessary, ask the service provider about the entrepreneur’s third party liability insurance, the professional competence and experience of the instructors, previous accidents, and preparedness in case of accidents.
- Be critical of careless or arrogant behaviour by the instructors. A professional instructor does not joke about safety.
- Monitor the changes that occur during the service and your own feelings. In outdoor activities, monitor the weather and travel conditions. If necessary, ask the service provider about the changes.
- If you discover dangerous situations or worrying deviations in the service, notify the service provider about the issue immediately. If necessary, also notify Tukes about any serious safety deficiencies you have observed.
A waiver form does not remove the service provider’s liability
Some service providers ask the customers to sign a waiver form before participating in the service. With the waiver form, the service provider often aims to be released from all liability for damages or even criminal responsibility in case of a possible accident. However, the waiver form has practically no legal significance. The service provider cannot be released from its liability regarding the safety of the service.
Signing a waiver form does not directly remove the service provider’s liability for possible damages. Issues related to the compensation for damages are handled in accordance with the Tort Liability Act, regardless of a signed waiver form. If an accident occurs in the service and there is a dispute concerning the liability for damages, the case shall be heard in court as a civil case, if necessary.
If you are asked to sign a waiver form
However, the service provider can ask you to sign a form to confirm that you have received a sufficient introduction to the service, you understand the instructions and commit to following the rules. These forms are not considered the waiver forms described above, even though they may sometimes be erroneously called that. You can sign such a form, because the service provider uses it to ensure that you have understood the rules and the risks related to the service.
The service provider may also ask you to provide advance information in order to ensure the safe implementation of the service. Advance information requested may include data such as height, weight, age, skills and valid permits, such as a driver’s licence. If necessary, the service provider may prohibit a customer from participating in the service, if the service is not suitable for them. Finding out about the risks in advance is good practice and an essential part of ensuring the safety of the service.