One of the most important things to think about when visiting a funfair or theme park, is the safety aspect. Often when you visit you have your children with you, the most important people in your world. So just how safe is it at a modern funfair.
Well, depends who you listen to, according to the popular press, a bloodbath is lurking just around the corner of any funfair. The Health and Safety Executive, those people responsible for actually ensuring funfairs are safe, you are far more likely to be injured on the way to the fair, than you are at the event.
But how do we go about ensuring this?
Any ride being operated must be in receipt of either a design review clearance, or a maturity risk assessment. The former is prepared by a specialist engineer, who calculates the stresses and strains, build materials, control systems etc, and produces a safety plan, containing maintenance schedules, operating limits etc.
The second option, is for older rides that have been operated for considerable periods. The reasoning being these rides have been around for so long, any problems, will have been ironed out years ago.
The maturity certificates are being phased out, so everything will eventually comply with design review.
This ensures a high level of safety right from the outset.
However, everything deteriorates with time. Eventually, any ride starts to have minor issues, how they are dealt with is crucial.
All rides are subject to an “annual MOT”. This is carried out by an independent engineer who issues an ADIPS certificate.
The Amusement Device Inspection Procedure Scheme was set up to ensure that rides are regularly inspected for safety issues. The inspection consists of electrical safety, mechanical safety and in some cases NDT ultrasound. NDT is a method of using ultrasound to discover microscopic cracks in metal framework. This would indicate a ride being over-stressed, and could lead to severe failure.
Any ride not carrying an up to date certificate, isn’t allowed to operate.
Daily Check Records
The ADIPS scheme has been shown to work well. However 12 monthly intervals leave a considerable scope for issues to develop between inspections. This is where the daily check system comes into play. Any attraction must be inspected by the operator, each day before it is operated. These inspection must be recorded in a daily record book, along with any issues found and the work carried out to rectify the problem
What We Cant Control
Sadly there is one aspect of health and safety we have little control over. That is the behaviour of the public. We can do everything within our powers to make the attractions totally safe, but if someone is determined to win a Darwin Award, there isn’t much we can do to stop them.