HSE spotlight on fairground ride safety

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is carrying out 100 targeted inspections of theme park and fairground ride safety this summer.

The HSE will be carrying out 100 inspections of fairground ride safetyBritain’s health and safety watchdog has planned extra checks on various theme park and fairground rides after a string of incidents in London, Barrow, Cardiff, Hull and Barnsley during recent years.

The focused inspection campaign is designed to promote the safe use of rides.

The HSE’s National Fairground Inspection Team (NFIT) started visiting fairgrounds and theme parks on 24th April to carry out 100 targeted inspections of specific rides, with the programme of safety checks due to conclude in September 2023.

Fairground ride safety issues have emerged in recent years

The HSE is currently investigating a number of fairground ride safety incidentsIt comes as the watchdog looks to build on previous intervention work carried out in previous years to address emerging fairground ride safety issues.

Inspectors will be carrying out safety checks on specific rides used at travelling fairground and theme park sites, including Round Ups, Crazy Frogs, Twists, high speed rides and Star Flyers. They will be checking that these rides are safe for workers and passengers alike and that they are being correctly maintained and operated.

The HSE provides specific guidance for fairground safety.

The watchdog is currently investigating several incidents which have taken place on these types of rides at various fairground and theme park sites across the country.

Twist rides are at the centre of two incidents currently under investigation by the HSE. One took place at Cavendish Park, Barrow, in August 2021, while the other happened at Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland attraction in November 2022.

HSE investigators have also looked into incidents involving high speed rides at Hull Fair in October 2019, Yiewsley Wood, West Drayton, in April 2018 and Brockwell Park, London, and Penny Pie Park, Barnsley, which both occurred in August 2019.

The watchdog is also aware of a further incident involving a Star Flyer ride which occurred at Planet Fun in Carrickfergus, County Antrim, in July 2021.

An intervention carried out by the HSE in 2022 also identified that the control system used for passenger restraints on a Crazy Frog ride was inadequate and needed improvement.

Fairground ride safety failures have ‘catastrophic consequences’

Fairground ride safety failures can have catastrophic consequencesThe HSE is ready to take enforcement action against operators if NFIT inspectors identify ongoing risk of serious personal injury during the current targeted inspections.

HSE Inspector David Kivlin warned that safety failures “or incorrect operation of a ride” can have “catastrophic consequences.”

He continued:

“HSE recognises that recent incidents, including the prosecution of operators following a fatal incident in March 2016 involving inflatable devices, have raised public awareness of the potential for injury and harm to users of such devices when they are not set up, maintained and operated in-line with manufacturer guidance or good practice standards.

“HSE’s overall strategy is to promote the safe use of fairground rides and inflatable devices and in doing so reduce the risk of such catastrophic incidents to as low as is reasonably practicable.”

The HSE provides detailed information about fairground and fairground ride health and safety, including what to do if people get hurt.

Fairground organisers have a legal duty to ensure the overall safety of the site is maintained. They must ensure that people responsible for setting up, breaking down, operating and attending the fairground do not face risks to their health and safety. They are responsible for managing the site and for managing its rides and attractions.

Quality health and safety training and information

Those who operate fairs have legal responsibilities to ensure they are managed safelyFirst Response Training (FRT) is a leading, national training provider.

They deliver a wide and diverse range of training courses in the fields of health and safety, first aid, fire safety, manual handling, food hygiene, specialist safety, mental health, health and social care and more.

They can offer courses in subjects such as Health and Safety, Working at Height and Accident and Incident Investigation and accredited options such as IOSH Working Safely and IOSH Managing Safely.

A trainer from FRT says:

“Fairs and fairground ride safety come to the forefront in the summer, when fairgrounds are often travelling around the country and many people are enjoying fairgrounds or theme parks as part of holiday time and day trips.

“It’s essential that fairgrounds and their rides are planned, managed and monitored effectively to ensure that workers and the visiting public are not exposed to serious health and safety risks.

“All those involved need to understand their roles and responsibilities in this respect, and health and safety training can ensure they understand the law and relevant standards and guidance.”

For more information on any of the training courses that FRT can offer, please call them on freephone 0800 310 2300 or send an e-mail to info@firstresponsetraining.com.