By Doyice Cotten
Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereafter referred to as Bosnia) is a beautiful country in southeastern Europe. There is much to see; but also much you need to watch for to avoid injury.
Mostar Bridge. The first popular site at which I saw a number of hazards was at and near the famous bridge at Mostar. The bridge was destroyed in the war in 1993, but has since been nicely restored (pictured here).
First, let’s look at the main hazard – the footing of the bridge itself. In Photo 1, one can see the stone construction utilizing raised stone to help with the footing. It, at the same time, creates a tripping hazard. However, in Photo 2, one can see that the raised stone is necessary due to the steepness of the bridge and the slickness of the stone. In addition, it is easy to imagine the slippery footing when wet.
An interesting event takes place on a regular basis. In Photo 3, you can see a serious-looking, shirtless man in the center of the photo. He is at the top of the bridge posing and preparing to dive. When his partner, pictured on the right, has collected enough money from tourists anxious to view the dive, the dive finally occurs. Is there any Risk? Must not be much because he is still diving, but the bridge is quite high.
Many tourists go down to the river to watch the dive and view the bridge. The steps to the river lead from a little restaurant and continue down to the river. Photo 4 actually catches a tourist stumbling as she comes down from the bottom step. Photo 5 shows some wooden steps that are in disrepair. Hopefully, no one uses them anymore. Photo 6 shows the main stairway leading from the restaurant down to the areas of Photos 3 and 4. Notice that the steps on the right side in the photo end part way down. The steps are often very crowded which could prevent someone from seeing the change in the descent and lead to a nasty fall.
Sarajevo Tunnel. One of the most interesting tourist attractions at Sarajevo is aptly named the Sarajevo Tunnel. During the Balkan war, the Serbs held the city captive, conducting a siege of the city for months. The only way into or out of the city was an escape tunnel through which supplies were carried into the city and some people escaped.
The tunnel and the accompanying museum are very interesting; they contain numerous signs and warnings and well as a number of risks for tourists. Photo 7 shows the actual tunnel and Photos 8 and 12 show the steps down into the tunnel. Photos 9 – 11 show a number of cautions and warnings – some by images, some handmade, and some in more than one language.
Once a tourist leaves the tunnel, he or she usually visits the museum. Photo 13 shows the exit steps. The problem should be self explanatory. Then the tourist can wander around the yard and visit an area showing the types of land mines that were used (Photo 15). Hopefully, they are not live; but the tourist can receive a snag on the barbed wire. Also, Photo 14 shows a one-step drop which can come as a surprise to an unwary tourist.
Bosnia is a beautiful, interesting country with friendly people. One should not hesitate to visit. The purpose of this article is two-fold. One, when you do visit Bosnia (or any country for that matter), it is important to take care and look where you are going. Too often, tourists are so busy looking up at the sites or taking photos, they neglect to look where they are stepping. Two, There is an important application for your sport business. On a regular basis, take a few minutes to look around your facility
for hazards that a client might not notice. You are so familiar with the facility that hazards do not jump out at you. You should look carefully and critically, or better yet, get a professional who is not familiar with your facility to give it the once over for dangers. Think about it – the persons in charge of the bridge, the steps, and the tunnel have lived with the hazards for so long that they do not “see” them.