Amusement structures and rider restraint systems
- Risk assessment is necessary
- Controls to be introduced
- What the law says
- Where can I get more information?
The restraints fitted to some amusement structures may not be adequate to prevent riders from falling out of the structure if they panic or skylark. Designers, manufacturers, suppliers, employers, self-employed people, owners, competent people, workers and people in control of an amusement structure should be aware there are steps that should be taken to minimise the risk of riders being injured.
There have been a number of incidents where people have fallen from amusement structures while the ride is in motion. The restraints provided on some structures where there are significant forces acting on the rider, may not be adequate to prevent people (particularly children) either deliberately or inadvertently placing themselves at greater risk of falling from the ride and sustaining serious injuries.
Where part of the amusement structure may be fully or partially enclosed - such as carriages running into an artificial or natural enclosure, such as a cave or mine - additional restraint systems may not be desirable. In these cases, additional control measures must be considered, such as a centrally controlled interlock mechanism for the operator to disengage the restraint system.
Evacuation procedures must also be in place to cater for emergency situations.
Owners and operators of amusement structures should conduct a risk assessment of their structures. If the outcome of the assessment indicates that riders, by deliberate or inadvertent action, are at a greater risk of injury, effective control measures must be implemented. A competent person must conduct the risk assessment and all structures are to be assessed on their own merits.
The risk assessment should consider all relevant factors, including, but not limited to the:
- type of injury or harm to health of the rider that may occur;
- likelihood of the occurrence, including consideration of available records of previous incidents involving the particular structure;
- analysis of the forces on the rider that may tend to throw the rider away from the intended riding position;
- recommendations of the designer, manufacturer or supplier of the amusement structure in relation to safety, riders’ age, etc; and
- likelihood of severe injuries should an incident occur (eg falling from height, being hit by objects, etc.).
Where the risk of injury warrants controls, engineered or physical controls to eliminate the particular hazard are required. It may also be necessary to include additional administrative control measures to further minimise risk of injuries such as restricting riders by their size. Administrative controls on their own are not sufficient as there may be too many distracting factors such as noise and crowd movement nearby for such measures to operate effectively. A competent person should be engaged by the owner of the amusement structure to verify the effectiveness of the control measure.
WorkSafe Inspectors will assess the rider restraint system on amusement structures and, if it is possible for riders to endanger themselves through any foreseeable behaviour, such as panic and skylarking, an investigation will be done which may cause a prohibition or improvement notice to be issued requiring the implementation of appropriate control measures. Physical restraint systems should exhibit fail-safe and tamper-proof design features.
WorkSafe’s approach is being uniformly applied across Australia as all occupational safety and health jurisdictions have committed to introduce similar requirements for their state or territory.
Amusement structures are regarded as plant. Sections 19 to Section 23 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 impose specific obligations on persons at a workplace. Employers, designers, manufacturers and suppliers of plant all have an obligation to pass on information about how to use the plant to ensure safety and health. Amusement structures are listed in Schedule 4.1 of the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 as specified plant that requires design and individual plant registration. Regulation 4.52 specifies the obligations of responsible people in regard to the operation, maintenance and inspection of amusement structures.
Australian Standard AS3533 Amusement rides and devices provides further information on the requirements for design, erection, operation, inspection and maintenance of amusement structures.
Contact the Health Hazards and Plant Safety Branch of WorkSafe on 1300 307 877.
This document is adapted from the Health and Safety Alert 04-1-12, August 2004 issued by Workplace Health and Safety, Department of Industrial Relations, Queensland.