Camping Equipment Accidents

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Camping Equipment Accidents

Post by ThreeperMan on Mon 13 Jul 2009, 05:00

Contents
Page
1. Introduction 1
2. Review of HASS/LASS Data for All Accidents involving Camping Equipment 1
2.1 Standard Reports 1
2.2 Annual Trend Data 2
2.3 Mechanism of the Accidents 2
2.4 Body Part Affected by Accidents
2
2.5 Age of Accident Victims 3
2.6 Patient Outcome 3
2.7 In-Patient Days 4
3. HASS/LASS, Home Office and South Glamorgan TSD Data for Tent Fires 4
3.1 HASS/LASS Data 4
3.2 Home Office Data 6
3.3 South Glamorgan Trading Standards Department Data 7
4. Discussion and Recommendations 7
5. References 8
2
CAMPING EQUIPMENT ACCIDENTS
1. Introduction
This study is concerned with an assessment of all accidents involving camping equipment which
appear in Home Accident Surveillance Systems (HASS) and Leisure Accident Surveillance Systems
(LASS) statistics. Additionally, a comparison is made of the HASS/LASS and Home Office data
on tent fire with the interpretation of this data cited in a report produced by South Glamorgan
County Council Trading Standards Department1. The study was commissioned by the Consumer
Safety Unit because certain consumer organisations and Trading Standards Departments (TSDs)
have called for a flammability requirement for tents and there is a need to establish whether
accident data support this.
2. Review of HASS/LASS Data for All Accidents involving Camping Equipment
2.1 Standard Reports
HASS/LASS Standard Reports for the years 1985-1994 on accidents involving tents, camping and
caravaning sites were studied to establish any trends. The articles considered are in the
“leisure/hobby equipment” category, namely, picnic/primus stove; tent/pole/peg; other camping
equipment; and unspecified. The accidents that occur are those to be expected from the following
activities:
- erecting and striking a tent;
- the use of the tent as a temporary home; and
- moving around on a grassy site and engaging in leisure/sports activities
The following is an illustrative list of accident descriptions:
(a) falls on wet grass
(b) falls from climbing frames
(c) dog bites
(d) falls caused by potholes/uneven ground
(e) falls from bicycles
(f) falls from caravan steps
(g) cuts caused by broken glass
(h) hands/limbs trapped in car doors on site
(i) hitting hand with mallet
(j) cuts from tentpoles and other equipment
(k) tripping over tent line, peg or pole
(l) overexposure to the sun
(m) cuts from food cans
(n) insect bites
All these accidents fall into the expected pattern for individuals engaged in normal leisure activities
on a camping site in a rural environment.
3
2.2 Annual Trend Data
HASS/LASS tables of article-by-mechanism were obtained for 1985-1994. A table of national
estimates of the number of accidents per annum was compiled from this data (Table 1).
TABLE 1 : NATIONAL ESTIMATES FOR ACCIDENTS INVOLVING CAMPING
EQUIPMENT
Year 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994
Total 2161 3621 1961 1102 1387 1463 1502 1058 1466 1665
1. Prior to 1988, LASS statistics were not compiled: the data is not comparable with later years.
There has been a steady increase in the number of accidents between 1988 and 1994 with a dip in
1992 and 1993. The overall increase is in line with the increase in accidents as a whole over this
period. The accident rate for the “leisure/hobby equipment” category is the lowest of all categories
surveyed.
2.3 Mechanism of the Accidents
New mechanisms were added in 1990 onwards and so it is difficult to tabulate the key mechanisms
meaningfully. The most likely mechanisms are:
- fall on same level;
- struck (moving object);
- struck by static object; and
- cut/tear (sharp)
These findings are in line with the standard-reports data discussed earlier (2.1).

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Camping Equipment Accidents

Post by ThreeperMan on Mon 13 Jul 2009, 05:02

Certain articles are associated with specific mechanisms, viz. there is a significant number of
accidents associated with fires (or flame) and picnic/primus stoves. As expected from the earlier
statistics, data in the later years (1992 onwards) appear to link tent/pole/peg articles with being
struck by a static or moving object.
2.4 Body Part Affected by Accidents
HASS/LASS tables of article-by-body part were obtained for 1985-1994. A table of national
estimates was compiled from this data (Table 2).
4
TABLE 2 : TOTAL ACCIDENTS INVOLVING CAMPING EQUIPMENT FOR ALL YEARS
1985-1994 BY BODY PART*
Body
Part
Other
Face Part
Unspec.
Head Part
Wrist Hand Finger/
Thumb
Lower
Leg
Ankle Foot
Total All
Years 705 533 443 705 820 538 524 566
* Only those body parts most frequently affected by the accidents are included.
Data show that the parts of the body affected are consistent with accidents involving manipulation
of equipment using the hands, and falling or tripping accidents. Thus wrist, hand and finger/thumb
combined accounts for 25% of all these accidents; and lower leg, ankle and foot account for 21%.
2.5 Age of Accident Victims
HASS/LASS tables of article-by-age were obtained for 1985-1994. A table of national estimates
was compiled from this data (Table 3).
TABLE 3 : TOTAL ACCIDENTS INVOLVING CAMPING EQUIPMENT FOR ALL YEARS
1985-1994 BY AGE
Age in Years 0-4 5-14 15-24 25-44 45-64 65-74 75+
Total All
Years
633 3786 1811 2472 1325 260 115
There is a concentration of accidents in the 5-14 age-range. This is consistent with the text given in
the Standard Reports discussed in Section 2.1. Children of this age are likely to be freely roaming
the campsite engaging in cycling, sports and various leisure activities. Individuals involved in
setting up the temporary home, cooking, etc. account for the next highest accident age-range (25-44
year-olds).
2.6 Patient Outcome
HASS/LASS tables of article-by-patient outcome were obtained for 1985-1994. A table of national
estimates was compiled from this data (Table 4).
5
TABLE 4 : TOTAL ACCIDENTS INVOLVING CAMPING EQUIPMENT FOR ALL YEARS
1985-1994 BY OUTCOME
Outcome No Further Treatment Referred to OP or GP All Other Outcomes
Total All
Years
4354 5325 735
The most likely outcome is “referral to out-patients or GP”, but “no further treatment” is almost
as likely. The low admission rate to hospital reflects the relatively minor nature of most accidents
which involve cuts and sprains. The small proportion of young children under 5-years-old
involved in camping accidents reduces admission rates because young children are more likely to be
admitted for observation. There does not appear to be any link between the article and the
outcome. The Standard Reports discussed in Section 2.1 show that those accidents involving a fire
are the most serious, with an increased likelihood of the patient’s admission to a specialist hospital
when burns are severe.
2.7 In-Patient Days
HASS/LASS tables of article-by-in-patient days were obtained for 1985-1994. Most patients
(94%) are not admitted, even those who have accidents involving picnic/primus stoves. The data in
1993 and 1994 are not comprehensive as the number of in-patient days is unknown.
3. HASS/LASS, Home Office and South Glamorgan TSD Data for Tent Fires
3.1 HASS/LASS Data
HASS/LASS Standard Reports were inspected to identify any camping accidents involving fires
(Table 5).
It is not possible, without unacceptably wide confidence limits, to produce national estimates
extrapolated from the data sample per year because the annual frequency of accidents is so low.
People involved in these accidents are predominantly young adults with no particular bias towards
male or female. A high proportion of these accidents occur when gas cylinders are being changed.
In a few instances, gas stoves ignite adjacent tent fabric. The most common injuries are burns to
the hands and lower arms. Patients are likely to be referred to outpatients or their GP, and in more
serious cases may be transferred to a specialist burns unit, but clearly all such accidents have the
potential to require hospital in-patient treatment.
6
TABLE 5 : CAMPING ACCIDENTS INVOLVING FIRES
Date 1993 1993 1993 1993 1993 1993 1992 1991 1991 1990
Age & Sex
of Victim
40M 55F 64M 20M 34M
38F
13F 16F 18M 26F 28F
Description Gas lamp
caught
against tent,
fire
Butane gas
cylinder
knocked over
in tent, fire
Changing
gas
cylinder in
tent, fire
Connecting
gas cylinder
blew off under
pressure, fire
Overcome by
propane gas
fumes in
caravan
Lit gas
burner grill -
burnt face
Tent
caught fire
Changing
gas cylinder
in tent,
exploded
Tent
caught fire
Changing gas
cylinder when
cooking,
explosion
Body Part
Affected
Burns to
hand and leg
Burn to hand Burn to
hand
Burn to lower
arm
Lungs Burn to face Burn to
lower tibia
Burn to
lower arm
Burn to
hands and
legs
Burns to hand,
feet and face
Outcome Ref to OP Ref to OP Ref to OP Ref to OP Discharged
IP
Ref to OP
Treated, no
more
treatment
Ref OP or
GP
Admitted to
specialist
hospital
Ref to OP
or GB
Admitted to
specialist
hospital
Date 1990 1990 1990 1989 1989 1989 1989 1989 1988
Age & Sex
of Victim
20M 17M 16M 34F 7F 11F 33F 42M 25M
Changing
gas cylinder,
explosion
Butane gas
cylinder
exploded
Butane gas
cylinder
exploded
Burning tent
fell on to
patients hands
Burning tent
cloth fell on
to patients
hands
Burning tent Burning tent Changing Calor
gas cylinder, gas
escaped ignited by
hurricane lamp
Walking past tent,
explosion
Body Part
Affected
Burn to arms Burn to
fingers
Burn to
face
Burn to hand Burn to toes Burn to
hands
Burn to
hands
Burn to hands Burn to lower arm
Out-come Ref to OP or
GP
Ref to OP or
GP
No
treatment
required
Ref to OP or
GP
Ref to OP or
GP
Ref to OP or
GP
Ref to OP or
GP
Admitted to
specialist hospital
Ref to OP or GP
3.2 Home Office Data

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Camping Equipment Accidents

Post by ThreeperMan on Mon 13 Jul 2009, 05:03

The Fire Statistics & Research Section of the Home Office Research & Statistics Directorate
provided data on fires and casualties from fires in tents by souce of ignition and cause for the
years 1987, 1990, 1991 and 1992. Summary data were provided for 1985 and 1986. No data on
tent fires were provided by the Home Office for 1988 and 1989. It should be noted that the
Home Office definition of tents includes marquees and Punch & Judy displays. A summary of
the data provided is given in Table 6.
TABLE 6 : HOME OFFICE DATA FOR FIRES AND CASUALTIES FROM FIRES
IN TENTS
Year 1985 1986 1987 1990 1991 1992
Number of Fires 55 48 45 58 39 63
Non-Fatal
Casualties 28 15 23 17 20 33
Fatal Casualties - - - 1 - 1
There does not appear to be any annual trend to the data. The likelihood of there being a casualty
in a tent fire is in the range 31-53%, expressed as Number of Fires / Number of Casualties x
100%. The Home Office data indicate that the number of fatalities is no more than one per year.
These figures may be compared with total UK fatalities of approximately 800 per annum from all
fires, and 14,000 non-fatal casualties from all fires2. Fatal casualties of fires occurring “outdoors”
(i.e. not in dwellings, other occupied buildings or in road vehicles) are about 40-80 per annum,
and non-fatal fire casualties “outdoors” are 600-800 per annum2.
The Home Office collect detailed information on the sources of ignition of each fire. A summary
of the principal sources for the years 1987, 1990, 1991 and 1992, expressed as a percentage of the
total tent fires and casualties, is given in Table 7.
TABLE 7 : ANNUAL PERCENTAGE TREND DATA FOR PRINCIPAL SOURCES
OF IGNITION
1987 1990 1991 1992
Source of Ignition Fires Casualties Fires Casualties Fires Casualties Fires Casualties
Liquefied Petroleum
Gas 36 52 33 67 33 80 33 47
Smokers’ Materials 4 4 16 11 - - 3 0
Matches 16 26 21 0 26 0 17 6
Note that the data for each year does not total 100 per cent because there are other less significant
sources of ignition not included in the table. Data for smokers’ materials was not provided for
1991.
Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is by far the most significant source of ignition followed by
matches and smokers’ materials. The percentage of fires attributed to LPG has remained
remarkably stable throughout this latter part of this period (1990-92). A fire caused by LPG is
more likely to result in a casualty than other sources of ignition. Excluding deliberate causes, the
Home Office attributes the main causes to faults in equipment and misuse of equipment.
3.3 South Glamorgan Trading Standards Department Data
The data presented in the South Glamorgan report1 was obtained from the Home Office; it is
presented in Table 8.
TABLE 8 : SOUTH GLAMORGAN TSD INTERPRETATION OF HOME OFFICE DATA
FOR FIRES AND CASUALTIES FROM FIRES IN TENTS
Year 1987 1990 1991 1992
Fires 112 137 98 152
Non-fatal
injuries
60 48 58 86
Fatal injuries - 2 - 2
The incidence of fires in the South Glamorgan report is about 2.5 times that given in the Home
Office statistics (Table 6). The incidence of non-fatal injuries is 2.6-2.9 times that given in the
Home Office statistics (Table 6). The Home Office register one death in both 1990 and 1992;
South Glamorgan report two deaths in each of these years. At the time of writing, it has not been
possible to resolve these differences with South Glamorgan TSD.
4. Discussion and Recommendations
Analysis of the HASS/LASS data for all camping accidents indicates that there is a low incidence
of accidents and in most cases the outcome is a relatively minor injury.
Safety features of camping tents, awnings, trailer tents and caravan awnings are covered by
BS 55763. This Standard specifies requirements for safety features in relation to materials used;
provision of means of escape; and advice to users on fire safety. Reference to other Standards
(BS 54384, BS 63415) is made for the flammability requirements and methods of test.
The South Glamorgan Trading Standards Department report includes results of tests on a range of
low-cost tents against BS 5576. These tests were carried out by Fire Technology Service, British
Technology Group. The majority of samples tested failed the flammability section of BS 6341.
Although the incidence of tent fires and casualties from tent fires is relatively low, there is merit in
making consumers more aware that tent fabric is likely to be flammable, and alerting them to
precautions that can be taken to reduce the risk of an accident.
It is recommended that the fire precaution notice required by BS 5576 be amended to include a
more explicit reference to the flammability of tent fabric and the likelihood of accidents from LPG
appliances occurring. Warning on LPG appliances could be strengthened for those tent fabrics
which do not comply with the flammability requirement - the fire precautions notice should state
that the tent will burn if exposed to a naked flame.
The Camping & Outdoor Leisure Association might consider including a more explicit reference to
the flammability of tent fabric in the Camping Equipment section of their equipment-care leaflet.
5. References
1. South Glamorgan Trading Standards Department “Camping Tent Flammability, A Survey
of Safety Features, May 1995”, BSI Document 95/126028, dated November 1995.
2. Fire Statistics UK, ISBN 1858934451, Home Office, 1993.
3. BS 5576 : 1985, British Standard Specification for Safety features of camping tents,
awnings, trailer tents and caravan awnings.
4. BS 5438 : 1989, British Standard Methods of test for Flammability of textile fabrics when
subjected to a small igniting flame applied to the face of bottom edge of vertically
orientated specimens.
5. BS 6341 : 1983, British Standard Specification for Fabrics for camping tents

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