Duties for Inflatable Amusement Device Owners
Poor inflatable amusement device set-up or operation can lead to injury to users through the movement collapsing of the device. Unsupervised users may also pose a risk to other users by their actions. If the land or water-borne inflatable amusement device is continuously blown with air and has a platform height of 3 meters or more, plant registration is required.
This height measurement taken without anyone on the device, and from the surface supporting the device to the highest point designed to support a person. Inflatable amusement devices can be a hazard if they are not set up and operated according to relevant instructions.
Owners, operators, or managers of inflatable amusement devices must ensure that the risks associated with the inflatable devices are identified prior to installation; managed appropriately before set-up with a system of checks performed during its use. Some of these checks include
- Determination of all underground services near where anchors are to be placed in the ground.
- Ground conditions, and
- Any overhead obstructions for patrons.
Specific issues with water borne Inflatable Amusement Device
These inflatable devices may be set up in pools or as part of a ride where the inflatable is propelled by moving water. Users are not generally immersed in water at any time and may be wet from incidental splashing. Close supervision is needed for users’ water-borne inflatable amusement devices because they can be more unstable and more difficult to control or anchor than land-borne inflatable devices. This can lead to possible injury and drowning.
Additional risks may be where patrons may be caught between the amusement device and other things like the pool edge, ladders or ropes. Inflatable pool amusement devices pool operators will have additional duties including
- develop, maintain and practice emergency procedures to deal with unsafe behavior and suspected drowning
- ensure adequate pool supervision to be able to implement any emergency procedures should the user be at risk
Training and competence for Inflatable Amusement Device use
All these checks that are to be completed prior and during the use must be performed by a person who has been deemed as ‘Competent’. This competent person must have received appropriate training and instruction in the specific inflatable devices. They must also be seen to be able to perform the various checks and understands what to do if there is a failure of any of these controls.
Supervision for the Inflatable Amusement Device
Supervision of the inflatable amusement device must be always provided by a person who is deemed competent. The supervisors must ensure that manufacturers recommended number of users is not exceeded. Users of the inflatable device must also be monitored for any behavior that may put other users at risk.
Most importantly there must be a system in place to monitor wind speeds so that the manufacturers specifications are not exceeded or when wind gusts exceed 40 km per hour, whichever is the lower. Many of the State WHS Regulators advise the use of an on-site wind speed meter (anemometer) as this will provide more accurate wind speed monitoring.
Some simple questions prior to setup of an Inflatable Amusement Device
- Is the device securely anchored in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and relevant technical standards?
- Is the wind speed expected to be below the device’s maximum wind speed rating for the device to be safely assembled, used and disassembled?
- Even if it is expected to be below the device’s maximum wind speed rating, how will wind speed be accurately monitored?
- Is there soft fall on open sides of the device?
- Are all patrons using the device at the same time of similar size and weight?
- Are you managing patron behavior? For example, checking no one is:
- doing somersaults, flips, pushing or tackling others, or
- jumping from the top of slides or sliding headfirst.
Inflatable Amusement Device are a major drawcard at many special events such as open days, fetes, festivals and fundraisers. However, these devices have proven to be hazardous if they are not managed properly. The tragic incident in December 2021 at a Tasmanian school where six children lost their lives when a sudden gust of wind blew away a bouncy castle with several children in it, prompted many members to revisit their use of inflatable devices. Safework Australia provide guidance on the use of Inflatable Amusement device safe use.
More recently the Victorian Regulator issued compliance notices an inflatable amusement ride operator for a number of safety issues related to lack of adequate anchorage and the use of electric blowers that are unsuitable for rainy weather. Another operator had placed anchor weights beside their inflatable ride without connecting them, because ‘it wasn‘t windy enough’.
Inflatable amusement device owners and operators are urged to read and comply with manufacturers specification. Our Qualified Engineers have been in the amusement industry for many years and complete checks with many companies’ inflatable amusement devices.
Our qualified and certified RPEQ Engineering Consultants that can assist you in your business.
Our team of Engineers on hand, David, Rhys, Clinton, Mitchel and Ryan are available to assist with any question relating to Amusement Devices. For some additional information relating to the inspection processes please read this article on Amusement Rides and Devices.
We also offer a range of WHS consulting services along with general and specific health and safety training courses.
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