All sounds familiar. Insurance company refusing cover need not be a show stopper.I actually watched a bootie fast rope out of a Westland Wessex at a show in Hillingdon back in the eighties and he did have an accident hitting the ground flat on his back and bouncing back up into the air about six inches or so. They put a collar on him and stretchered him off and the show went on. He must have been ok because we never heard anything else. It's not just health & safety these days though. There are in slightly more modern times, different matters to take into account now. One of the big influences on what happens at these show's nowdays is dictated by the insurance companies.
To give an example, at the same show in later years, I was the responsible officer who organised a local authority marquee demonstrating all the various activities that we as a Council provided. We had a cherrypicker there and one of the public asked if he could go up in it. We couldn't see any harm in it. Our operatives were fully qualified etc and so we agreed to the request. Before you knew it, there was an enormous line of people queing up to have a look at the show from 70 or 80 feet up in the air. It added to a very successful show for us in terms of people having some fun with our equipment.
The following year, we went again but in prior discussions with our insurers, we mentioned that we wanted once again to use our fully qualified staff and our modern well maintained cherrypicker vehicle, you know the one with all the safety mechanisms, to once again give rides to the public and we were told they wouldn't insure us. So, the cherrypicker sat there and any requests for a ride had to be denied. It made us look like we couldn't be bothered to offer the public a bit of fun when we were more than happy to do it but the insurers were the actual killjoys.
They're not saying you can't do it, just that YOU carry the risk.
If you're confident in your safety precautions, no problem.
If you're not, should you be doing it ?