Although those who have never played or who know little about paintball sometimes deem the activity to be somewhat dangerous, it is in fact safer and incurs fewer injuries than many mainstream contact sports like rugby, soccer and basketball.
As with most sports, safe participation results from adherence to the appropriate safety guidelines. As long as these guidelines are followed, paintball is an exceptionally safe game.
The most basic and essential safety guidelines for paintball are as follows:
- Keep your face mask on at all times when outside the safe zone or base camp. The only safe time to remove your mask is in the designated “safe zone” where no paintball markers are present.
- Do not shoot anyone at close range. The appropriate course of action when faced with an opponent at short distance (less than 3 metres) is to instruct them to surrender.
- Always assume a marker is loaded, and treat it accordingly. When not in use, engage the safety catch and point the marker in a safe direction.
- Only use a face mask specifically designed for paintball and do not tamper with or alter a mask or other equipment in any way.
- If your mask or any other item of equipment is damaged in any way, immediately bring the fault to the attention of a marshal who can then issue you with new equipment.
- Never tamper with a gas bottle of propellant as these are potentially dangerous and should only be filled and serviced by qualified personnel.
- Employ common sense when playing in bush areas or around potentially harmful obstacles such as trip hazards or uneven ground.
Remember that legitimate paintball fields, such as those approved by the AUPBA, are safe controlled environments with qualified staff to deal with insurance, risk assessment, training, supervision and control. Marshals are trained to ensure all players participate within the guidelines of the games and do not do anything that may potentially cause harm to themselves or other players.