Guidelines for the operation of a Paint Pellet (Skirmish) Range
The sport of paintball is an interactive pastime in which individuals or teams attempt to mark opponents with paint filled gelatine capsules. Paintball ranges can be established on indoor or outdoor playing fields and with a wide variety of scenarios.
Field boundaries are the perimeter of a designated playing field. They refer to the buffer zone or protective screens or barriers that bound the field. Field boundaries that do not form part of the property boundary must be clearly marked or posted. The postings must be placed wherever a person without approved protective clothing and eye protection might enter, or be directly exposed to the playing field while games are in progress.
Field boundaries are to be clearly marked by either:
- brightly coloured tape, or
- signposted – eg. “Paintball Shooting Range – Danger Keep Out”.
Buffer Zones Protective Screening or Barriers
Buffer zones, protective screening or barriers must be placed around the field boundaries to prevent paint balls exiting the playing field. The staging ground, which is the part of the paintball location used for issuing equipment and for briefing players must not be subject to stray pellets. This requirement also applies to other non-playing areas and adjoining properties.
For established outdoor fields, the minimum buffer width has been:
- 50m over dense bush land; and
- 100m over clear ground.
The barrier or protective screen must be at least 3.5m high and must be constructed of a material that is impenetrable by a projectile fired from a paintball gun. Shade cloth materials are to be to the standard of knitted netting.
Screening or barriers must protect the Staging Area (Safe Area). Spectators must be located behind screens and not in the buffer areas.
The sight of people, often in military type uniforms with weapons may be of concern to some passers by. For this reason the playing area is to be screened from view by the general public.
Identification of Paintball Venues
When shooting is in progress the range must be clearly identifiable to warn and advise a person that they are moving into a danger area.
Identification must consist of:
- Adequate, well maintained fencing on all outdoor, range land boundaries to prevent easy access. Where this is not possible due to lease arrangements or impractical, additional safety precautions such as extra signs may be required.
- Signage should be red or black red lettering on a white background, properly sign written or stencilled with the words “Paintball Shooting Range – Danger Keep Out” (or similar). On outdoor ranges these must be fixed to the fence facing the public either, in such a way that each sign can be seen from the next or at 25m intervals and at all points of access. Indoor ranges will require danger signs at all entry points.
- On outdoor ranges, red warning flags on poles that are visible from all likely approaches. The poles must be erected at the entrance to the paintball location. All red flags must be replaced by clearly visible red lights during night shoots. On indoor ranges a red light is to be illuminated at the entry to the playing area when firearms are being discharged. Where there are a number of fields in close proximity, all active fields are to display a red flag.
Protection of Players and Staff
All care must be taken to protect players and staff from injury. All players and staff must wear “Paintball and ATSM approved” goggles and protective facemasks.
The minimum engagement distance is 6m. On indoor ranges additional care will need to be taken to ensure that people are not engaged from close distances, e.g. when appearing around blind corners.
It is not possible to expect a paintball range to function without adequate and regular maintenance. Regular maintenance ensures that signs, protective screening, barriers and other protective measures are maintained to the required safety standards.
Staff involved as supervisors / referees must possess a current weapons licence.