Amusement Devices

Managing Elevating Regulation

In February, BC Safety Authority's Director of Safety Oversight, Janice Lee, made an announcement that Jason Gill would become the Safety Manager for the Elevating Devices, Passenger Ropeways and Amusement Devices at BCSA.  In this position, Jason is now BC Safety Authority's program leader for three of the seven technologies for which BCSA provides safety oversight.

Previously, Jason Gill had been BCSA’s Safety Manager for Passenger Ropeways and Amusement Devices for six years after working as a safety officer since 1999. Prior to joining BCSA, Jason worked in the ski industry as a passenger ropeway mechanic and he has an interprovincial ticket in the Millwright trade. His last ski area posting was with Whistler-Blackcomb where he was responsible for the maintenance, testing and operation of high speed detachable ropeway systems. He is currently the vice-chair of the national technical committee for passenger ropeways, the Z98 committee, and he is co-chair of the Canadian working group for the ASTM F24 standard on amusement rides and devices.

Jason’s expertise working with passenger ropeways and amusement devices prepares him well for managing safety in the elevating technology as all three industries are required to operate according to the same Elevating Devices Safety Regulation.

Top 3 Amusement Device Non Compliances - by type of ride or device

Inflatable Devices (including slides, bouncers, obstacle courses, and inflated climbing walls)

1 – General – Operator/Maintenance Training Improvement

The training of operators and maintenance staff is very important in the inflatable device industry. This non compliance usually relates to documentation of training and having a detailed training plan that ensures all staff are trained correctly. In the event of an incident, BCSA will be looking to confirm the inflatable device was being operated by a trained operator and any maintenance was being completed by a competent person.

2 – Inflatable – Blower Fan(s) GFCI Install/Repair

BCSA requires that all blowers/fans used to inflate a device be connected to a GFCI protected electrical circuit. Depending on the location, either an inline GFCI device, a GFCI plug in, or a GFCI circuit breaker may be used for connection. It is important to test the function of the GFCI device to ensure it is functioning correctly; this usually involves pressing the testing button and confirming that the device trips.

3 – Inflatable – Anchors to Meet Manufacturers Requirements

Incorrectly anchored inflatable devices are a hazard and a major cause of incidents. The manufacture of your inflated device will specify what type of anchors can be used, including: stakes, sandbags, water containers, or permanent anchors.

When using stakes, it’s important to use the correct length and type and to ensure what is underground (gas lines, power lines, water lines, sprinkler lines) before driving stakes into the ground. The manufacturer will specify the weight of sandbags or water containers that are to be used in place of staking. Remember that all specified anchor points must be used, smaller bouncers may only have 4 anchor points, but some of the largest slides may have in excess of 15 anchor points.

 

Kiddie Rides 

1 – Structural Checks – Assembly Pins, Bolts, Nuts

During inspections, BCSA safety officers will find many different items relating to this non compliance including: worn cotter and R pins; worn assembly pins; incorrect length or wrong grade of bolts; and wrong type of nut (locknut, regular, grade).

Some of the larger bolts on amusement rides need to be tightened to a specific torque; it is important to have the correct size of torque wrench for this and that this torque wrench has been calibrated.

It is also important that all pins, nuts, and bolts meet the manufacturer’s specifications and they are installed correctly.

2 – General - Operator/Maintenance Training Improvement

The training of operators and maintenance staff is very important for kiddie rides. This non compliance usually relates to documentation of training and having a detailed training plan that ensures all staff are trained correctly. In the event of an incident, BCSA will be looking to confirm the kiddie ride was being operated by a trained operator and any maintenance was being completed by a competent person.

With kiddie rides, operators are dealing with very small children who may not  follow instructions or fully comprehend the safe riding requirements so extra diligence is required at all times. Safety is an operator’s prime responsibility.

3 – General - Daily Checklists and Examination Procedures

All amusement ride and devices must have a daily inspection checklist completed before the ride is operated. For travelling rides, a set-up checklist is also required. During inspections, our safety officers find that these checklists are not being filled out correctly or, in some cases, not be completed at all. The manufacturer will specify what needs to be checked daily and these requirements must be followed and documented. If an incident occurs, part of BCSA’s investigation will be to review the daily checklists and ensure all required checks have been completed.

Remember: the person doing the checks must been trained and understand what they are checking.

 

Major Rides

1 – Structural Checks – Assembly Pins, Bolts, Nuts

During inspections, BCSA safety officers will find many different items relating to this non compliance including: worn cotter and R pins; worn assembly pins; incorrect length or wrong grade of bolts; and wrong type of nut (locknut, regular, grade).

Some of the larger bolts on amusement rides need to be tightened to a specific torque; it is important to have the correct size of torque wrench for this and that this torque wrench has been calibrated.

It’s also important that all pins, nuts, and bolts meet the manufacturer’s specifications and they are installed correctly.

2 – Passenger Carrying Unit – Safety Restraint

The safety restraint on a major ride is a very important piece of equipment. Types of safety restraints include:  lap bars, seat belts, shoulder restraints, and locking gates or doors. Some major rides may have one of these items or multiple items. Restrains may have single, double, or triple locking systems and they may be monitored by safety switches. The ride operator and maintenance personal must know how the safety restraints work and how they need to be checked, repaired, serviced or replaced. Many manufactures have specific maintenance requirements for their restraining device, including: non destructive testing, rebuild/ replacement intervals, and servicing by the manufacturer.

Before a ride is started, the operator(s) must ensure that all the safety restrains are closed and locked correctly.

3 – Passenger Carrying Unit - Body Condition (enclosures, seats, etc.)

The passenger carrying unit can be a complicated piece of equipment and as such it must be maintained and operated correctly. Some of the items that we find during inspections include: worn or sharp edges, loose components, incorrect repairs completed, manufacturer inspections not being followed, non functioning safety restraint(s), missing warning and/or instruction signs, loose or worn wiring, or seat padding needing replacement

Remember: the passenger carrying unit is what keeps the rider on the ride and all parts of it must be functioning correctly when operating the ride.

 

Train Rides

1 – Weld and Structure – Track System

The track system on a train ride is the largest component and takes the most maintenance and inspection. The track system includes: rail bed, rails, splice bars and hardware, spikes, track ties, and switches. The environment can play a huge influence on the tracks’ condition this may include, sun, rain, snow, ice, and temperature changes.

Items we find during inspections include: incorrect track gauge; incorrect level of track; poor or no banking of track at curves; rotten wooden track ties; rail bed affected by environmental conditions;  insufficient gap between ends of rails at splice locations; and poorly maintained switches and crossings. Incidents have occurred because of poorly maintained track systems.

2 – General - Operator and Maintenance Training Improvement

The training of operators and maintenance staff is very important for train rides. This non compliance usually relates to documentation of training and having a detailed training plan that ensures all staff are trained correctly. In the event of an incident, BCSA will be looking to confirm the train ride was being operated by a trained operator any maintenance was being completed by a competent person.

Train ride operators may be dealing with families, small children, and school groups so extra diligence is required at all times. Many train rides are operated and maintained by volunteers; a person volunteering must still have the correct training. 

3 - Structural Checks – Assembly Pins, Bolts, Nuts

During inspections, safety officers will find many different items relating to this non compliance,  including: worn cotter and R pins, worn assembly pins, incorrect length or wrong grade of bolts, wrong type of nut (locknut, regular, grade), incorrectly installed, and splice bar bolts that are fastened too tight.  

It is important that all pins, nuts, and bolts meet the manufacturer’s specifications and they are installed correctly.

 

Waterslides

1 – Waterslide – Flume Surface Repair / Replace

The flume is the main part of the waterslide and it is important that its sliding surface be maintained correctly. Items that we find during inspections include: cracking and chipping in the gel coat sliding surface; irregular joints where slide sections meet; missing caulking; and deep scratching in sliding surface. The sliding surface needs to be inspected daily and the slide should not be opened if any problems are found that could pose a hazard to riders. All waterslide repairs should be completed by a person who has been trained in repair procedures. Over the years, BCSA safety officers have seen many poorly maintained and repaired sliding surfaces. Many operators bring in outside maintenance contractors (who are experts at repairing the sliding surface) to do their annual inspections and repairs.

2 – Waterslide – Ensure Security of Structure, Frame, Stairwells, Risers, Bolted Section of Flume

In addition to the sliding surface of the flume, the rest of the waterslide must be inspected daily before use. Areas where BCSA finds problems include stairs and railings that are loose or affected by the environment (rusting, sharp edges, flaking paint, rotting wood).

Remember: people that are using waterslides are in bathing suits and have bare feet so even the smallest thing could cause a cut or an injury.

Many waterslides are suspended from the ceiling of a pool and supported by towers on the outside of the building; these areas need to be inspected as well. Outside areas of the waterslide need to be fenced off to prevent access to the slide, and in some cases protection from vehicle traffic must be provided.

3 – Safeguards – Signs and Warning Devices

Signs and warning instructions must be posted at many areas of a waterslide. There must be a warning/instruction sign at the entrance to slide including all of the manufacturer’s operating requirements related to height, weight, age, and capacity restrictions. There should also be signs at the exit of the slide; these may include “exit discharge lane quickly”, or “keep clear of slide exit”. . The water depth must be marked on the discharge lane and the slide must never be used if water depth falls below this level. On a waterslide with a discharge lane, the water depth is the brake for riders.

All signs must be clearly visible and easy to read. If a sign is getting worn or faded it should be replaced.

 

Ziplines

1 – Control and Ride Operation – Braking System

The braking system is one of the most important parts of a zipline. There are many styles of braking systems, from manually operated to fully automatic.. During inspections, we find worn components, frayed ropes, damage brake blocks, incorrectly tied knots, springs installed incorrectly, hard to access areas that are not being inspected, and even required manufacturer’s rebuild schedules that are not being followed. Training for staff must include how the brakes operate and what components need to be inspected.  

2 – Blocking/Foundation/Anchoring/Rigging - Rigging Connections to Specification/Standard

There are many kinds of rigging connections on a zipline, including: main zipline cable end terminations, anchor/guy cable connections, platform and walkway connection, and safety line connections. The types of connections used include swaged sockets, poured sockets, spliced eyes, u-clips, j-clips, plate clamps, and turnbuckles. During inspection, we find connections that are not completed correctly, including: cable clip spacing; installation and number used; missing thimbles in cable eyes; loose guy and anchor cables; missing safety lines; broken wires on cables that exceed maximum allowed; and sharp edges where public has access.

Remember: the cable end connections are what keep everything together on a zipline.

3 – Safeguards – Platform, Catwalks, Decking

These items are used for access and egress from a zipline and on some courses they maybe the access between ziplines. Platforms can be on the ground, in the air supported by permanent structures, suspended by cables from trees, or a combination of all of these items. At inspections we are finding the following: damaged wood components; frayed or worn suspension cables; worn anti skid material on deck; splinter hazard on wooden handle rails; sharp edges on steel or aluminum components; loose railings; missing and damaged gates or safety chains and ropes; missing warning signs; worn fencing material; and damaged safety netting at the end of a ramp. These areas must be inspected daily before operation and need to be repaired before the zipline can be used to transport the public.

New electrical requirements on the horizon for traveling amusement rides

A new edition of the Canadian Electrical Code was published in 2015, with some changes that specifically impact traveling amusement rides. The changes are intended to prevent fires and shock hazards to patrons. Contractors and owners with traveling amusement rides, including inflatables, may require some new equipment.

Section 66 applies to temporary installation of electrical equipment at amusement parks, midways, carnivals or fairs.

The changes are as follows:

Specifications for grounding conductor cables for mobile generators:

­ - Ground conductor cable for the generator must be used for the generator only

­ - Ground conductor cable to be as short as possible

­ - Only 2 lengths of conductor cable are allowed between the generator and the ground rod

­ - Cannot be longer than 50m in total length

  • 15A and 20A 120 volt type receptacles in damp or outdoor locations must have GFCI protection.
  • All single conductor cable connectors not in use in a cable run need to be suitably sealed or capped.
  • Single cable conductor connectors running voltages of over 120/240 or 120/208 will be required to be contained in a suitable non-conductive box (e.g. non-metallic). This box is to be lockable and labeled in a permanent manner identifying the voltage.
  • Only one splitter can be used on a single conductor. (You may not install a splitter on a conductor that has already been split.)
  • Any splitters need to bear evidence of approval for use in BC (no homemade types of devices allowed).

These new requirements are not yet in effect. The new edition Canadian Electrical Code is proposed to be adopted for use in BC later in 2015.

 

FORMATTING ABOVE WILL BE ADJUSTED

An Introduction to the Amusement Devices Technology

The Amusement Device Safety Program is responsible for technical and operational oversight of amusement device contractors performing regulated work on a vast range of different devices. The definition of amusement device includes many different pieces of equipment such as amusement rides, waterslides, inflatable bounce castles and slides as well as ziplines. Each one of these types of devices has their own unique operational characteristics and code requirements that Safety Officers need to be aware of to perform their duties.

Each one of our Safety Officers is certified by the National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials (NAARSO) and requires ongoing training to keep this certification up to date. Ongoing training is key to all participants in the safety system such as licensed contractors to ensure that their knowledge is current and relevant in order to meet their obligations for keeping their rides well maintained and safe.

PHOTOS COMING

Hazard Case Study: Operation of a high speed amusement ride with worn components, allowing contact between rotating components of the ride.

During the assessment of a major ride before it opened for the operating season, a BCSA safety officer discovered that three of the passenger carrying units (PCU) had been contacting the sweep arm of the ride.

flat rotating ride

The ride in question was a flat rotating ride that rotates at 2 locations (at the ride center and at the end of the sweep arms).

 One of the inspections that needs to be completed when checking for ride hazards is to ensure that the PCU have the correct clearance from their underside to the sweep arm below.  To complete this test, the safety officer must rotate the ride by hand and position each PCU over the sweep arms. While conducting this part of the inspection, the safety officer discovered that three of the PCU did not have the required clearance and had in fact been contacting the sweep arm. This contact appeared to have been happening for awhile and a temporary fix had been completed at the end of the last operating season.

The safety officer immediately met with the owner of the amusement ride to show them the hazard. The owner was informed that they could not operate the ride until the cause of this problem was determined and repairs were completed. A Certificate of Inspection was issued indicating this non compliance and others that were found as part of the overall assessment.

Further investigation by the safety officer determined that the previous maintenance person/operator of the ride was no longer employed by the owner. The new operator of the ride had not set this ride up before and was not aware of the manufacturer’s tests to ensure the correct clearance between the PCU and the sweep arms. To avoid a future recurrence of this hazard, the safety officer reviewed a bulletin with the owner of the ride and the operator that demonstrated how this test needed to be completed and also provided them with a copy of the manufacturer’s bulletin relating to this test. An additional non compliance was issued to the owner of the ride to, “improve operator training and to ensure that the manufacture’s manual and bulletins were up to date”.


flat rotating ride

The owner of the ride completed repairs to the ride and it was discovered that a worn center pole bearing allowed the PCU to run out of level and make contact with the sweep arm.

After all issues were addressed, a re-inspection of the ride was completed by BCSA and it was determined the ride was operating correctly so it was allowed to open for public use.

BCSA encourages amusement devices operators to focus on prevention.  Equipment and rider safety are owner/operator responsibilities.

BCSA Safety Officers asked to teach at Northwestern Showmen’s Club Annual Safety Seminar

This February, two BCSA Amusement Devices Safety Officers attended the Northwestern Showmen’s Club Annual Safety Seminar. On the Tuesday evening of the seminar, the safety officers were asked if they could present a training course on Wednesday afternoon to cover for a presenter who could not make it to the seminar.

That same night, the two BCSA safety officers were able to build a presentation from scratch relating to the topic: Amusement Rides – Hidden and Invisible Hazards. They used their training, knowledge, experience, and teaching skills to create and deliver a presentation that was well received by all those who attended. Due to the success of this presentation, the Northwestern Showmen’s Club has now asked that BCSA provide safety officers to present courses at future safety seminars.

All BCSA safety officers working with amusement devices are members of the National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials (NAARSO) and certified by NAARSO as Amusement Ride Inspectors. As part of this certification, safety officers must complete 32 hours of training relating to amusement devices. The Northwestern Showmen’s Club provides this annual training.

Offering education is one of the ways that BCSA supports the safety system in British Columbia by encouraging incident prevention. If you have a question for an amusement devices safety officer, please visit the Ask A Safety Officer section of our newsletter.

Amusement Devices Fee Increase Consultation

A consultation on BC Safety Authority’s fee schedule for Amusement Devices was held from October 1 to December 1, 2013. Based on the feedback received, the proposed fee schedule remained unchanged. The new fee schedule took effect on April 1, 2014.

The consultation report summarizing the feedback received can be found below.

Consultation report (without appendices)

Appendix A: Final amusement devices fee schedule 2014-2016 (effective April 1, 2014)
Appendix B: Verbatim feedback received

If you have any questions about this consultation, please contact
Frank Do, Leader - Stakeholder Engagement
stakeholder.engagement@safetyauthority.ca or 778-396-2049

Bouncy Castle Safety Tips

Are you renting or purchasing an inflatable device? "Inflatable devices" are air-inflated amusement devices. They come in many shapes and sizes and may contain a slide or "bouncing area."

When these devices are used at public events such as school fairs, church events, or any venue where the general public has access, they must be operated by licensed contractors with the required permits from BCSA. It is also your responsibility to ensure that all manufacturers' operating and assembly instructions are followed.

For your safety, please download and review this public safety tips for inflatable and amusement devices document. Feel free to share this document with others.

Amusement Devices Design Registrations

Amusement Devices fees changed April 1, 2014

New fee schedule effective April 1, 2014. Read the consultation results on the fee change for Amusement Devices.

Register a design before getting your installation permit.

Before installing a fixed or traveling amusement device, you’ll need to get the design specifications of the device registered. Once registered, we will mail an installation permit.

To get the design registered, you first must be a licensed amusement device contractor and you must hire the services of a professional, BC-licensed engineer to validate conformance. Inflatable amusement devices do not require the services of a professional engineer.

When you have the design specifications of your device:

  1. Complete the Amusement Device Design Submiission and Installation Permit Form 1279.
  2. Get a professional engineer to add their seal to the form and indicate, in the specifications section on the form, conformance with CAN/CSA Z267-00.
  3. If your amusement device is a permanent installation, please get proof of ownership or permission to use the land where it’ll be installed (e.g. crown land lease, land title documents).
  4. Be prepared to provide technical documentation drawings, calculations, operating and maintenance manuals, operator training proceedures and inspection checklists which have a professional engineer’s seal. Contact the Safety Officer assigned to your project for more advice on how to submit these documents.
  5. To submit your completed design registration, contact the Client Service Representative at 778-396-2044 or email amusementdevices@safetyauthority.ca. Please be prepared to pay the appropriate installation permit fee by credit card or by cheque, payable to BC Safety Authority.
  6. Once registered, you will be issued an installation permit.

Acceptance Inspections

When your amusement device installation is complete, you must request an acceptance inspection from your assigned Safety Officer. The Safety Officer may also request that you provide an acceptance test procedure. We will send you the details of our request ahead of time.