Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ride Safety a Major Focus at EAS

The past two days at EAS 2008-Munich have provided multiple occasions for international leaders in ride safety and design to sit down in a room together and discuss this topic, which is undoubtedly the number-one priority for any attraction.

This morning IAAPA hosted ASTM International's F24 Committee on Amusement Rides and Devices for its first meeting in Europe. Thirty-seven particpants came from countries including Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, and the United States to this meeting of the F2291 task group on design of amusement rides and devices. One of the topics discussed was acceleration limits for riders who are under 48 inches tall. This morning's meeting was a significant milestone as it marked the first time the F24 Committee has met in Europe (though it has had input from European technical experts in the past). Everyone at the meeting was invited and encouraged to attend the next consideration of these topics at the ASTM meeting next week, Oct. 9-11, in San Diego, California. More more on that session, click here.

Safety also dominated Monday afternoon's educational seminars here at the Messe Munich, with a three-hour Attractions Safety Forum. The event was broken into three parts: setting ride safety standards, the benefits of ride reporting systems, and incident management.

I sat in on the ride reporting seminar, where Randy Davis, IAAPA's vice president of government relations, explained how association-mandated incident reporting in the U.S. has proven what a strong safety record our facilities have. That data has, in turn, helped IAAPA demonstrate to the U.S. government that federal oversight of the industry is not necessary.

BALPPA's Colin Dawson said Europarks will continue to solicit ride reporting from European facilities, and hopes translating the survey's questionnaire into multiple languages will help increase participation.

Finally, Adrian Mahon of Merlin Entertainments Group demonstrated how his company has moved its incident tracking completely online by using software from UK-based Enable Infomatrix. Mahon said the benefits of moving Merlin's reporting online are many, including: no paperwork, so data is much easier to enter and track; identifying incident "hot spots"; providing internatl benchmarks and comparisons across rides and facilities; and helps in site-planning purposes, among many other benefits.

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