Amusement rides and devices proposed regulation changes

Originally published: July 17, 2019
Updated: August 1, 2019

Join the conversation

We want to hear your views on the proposed changes to the existing amusement devices program, which will help form our request for regulatory amendment to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Have your say:

Consultation closes: September 30, 2019, 11:59 pm.

Notification of the results of the consultation and any next steps is targeted for the end of 2019.

If you have any comments or feedback, please send them to: engage@technicalsafetybc.ca.

Overview

With public concern about trampoline parks rising, Technical Safety BC began a review of its Amusement Devices program as a whole to address new and emerging types of equipment, including but not limited to trampoline parks.

Our review of the regulatory framework around amusement rides and devices indicates that the current framework would benefit from improvement to ensure that it is: (i) adaptive, as technologies change; and (ii) clear, so owners of amusement rides and devices and the public know what is regulated and what form of safety oversight is in place. This aligns with what we have heard from owners, operators, the public, and other agencies during our public consultation on trampoline parks.

The proposal addresses four key areas:

  1. Clearer definitions of amusement rides and devices;
  2. Adoption of a new safety code (ASTM International F2783-17) for the design, maintenance, and operation of amusement rides and devices;
  3. New regulatory framework to amusement ride and device safety regulations, including the clarification of the obligation to report incidents for investigation; and
  4. Procedures to address new amusement rides and devices.

Clearer definitions of amusement rides and devices

Technical Safety BC is proposing new definitions of amusement rides and devices that would provide clarity to operators and the public as to which amusement rides and devices are regulated and which are not.

Proposed revised definition of an amusement ride:

“amusement ride” means equipment or a combination of equipment, incorporating a mechanical system, that carries, conveys, and directs a person over or through a fixed or restricted area for the purpose of amusement or entertainment.

Proposed new definition of an amusement device:

“amusement device” means an arrangement of technical systems that produces the desired effect of amusement or entertainment when the patron moves through it or on it primarily by their own action, or any other system that is not an amusement ride.

It is proposed that the following amusement rides and devices would be exempted from the proposed changes:

  • Professional or sports training with oversight by training or coaching staff and appropriate safety precautions (e.g., simulators used exclusively for pilot training, or gymnastics facilities with trampolines used exclusively for sports training);
  • Specific extreme thrill rides and devices (e.g., parasailing, zorb balls, and via ferrata); and
  • Low risk rides (e.g. coin-operated children’s rides, commonly found at malls or shopping centers, and children’s playgrounds that are covered by other safety codes).

Code update

Technical Safety BC is proposing that the ASTM International F2783-17 code, Standard Practice for Design, Manufacture, Operation, Maintenance, and Inspection of Amusement Rides and Devices in Canada, be adopted as the safety code for regulated amusement rides and devices, instead the CSA Z267 code which is no longer updated.

The ASTM code is more up-to-date and inclusive of current wise practices for the safety of the public. It provides guidance on design, construction, installation, operation, maintenance, and inspection of amusement rides and devices. The design of new rides or devices designed or purchased after the code is adopted would be required to comply with ASTM F2783.

Proposed regulatory framework

Recognizing the balance between amusement, thrill and safety, Technical Safety BC is proposing a new regulatory approach that would establish categories of rides and devices based on their level of safety risk.

The following is a high-level summary of the proposed categories and corresponding level of safety oversight.

  REGULATED RIDES REGULATED DEVICES – CLASS 1 REGULATED DEVICES – CLASS 2
TECHNICAL RISK High High or medium Low
DESCRIPTION Mechanized amusement rides.
E.g., roller coasters, fairground rides
Technical systems.
E.g., Waterslides, ziplines, trampoline courts
Technical systems.
E.g., Inflatable devices, such as bouncy castles, and obstacle courses
REGULATORY SAFETY OVERSIGHT APPROACH Significant to moderate Significant to moderate Moderate to low
EXISTING REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS
*PROPOSED* ADDITIONAL REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS
SAFETY MANAGEMENT PLAN Comprehensive General Basic
QUALIFIED INDIVIDUAL Yes
MIN. LIABILITY INSURANCE $2 million
ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR INCIDENT REPORTING Yes

Here is the proposed regulatory framework, which includes existing and proposed additional regulatory requirements.

Certificate of Qualification (New)

Technical Safety BC is proposing a requirement that all operators of amusement rides and devices name a Qualified Individual as part of their license application and renewal process. Qualified Individuals would be certified and need to:

  • Be knowledgeable about the Safety Standards Act and regulations, the safety code for amusement rides and devices, and risk assessment and mitigation of the operations they oversee. 
  • Following a physical inspection, declare that the applicable amusement rides and devices are compliant with the Act, regulations, and code.
  • Ensure that the Safety Management Plan is developed and implemented appropriately.
  • Take any required training and pass any required exams, as determined by the safety manager.

Technical Safety BC is proposing that training and knowledge development opportunities be provided for these qualified individuals to help establish a minimum standard of knowledge across the industry.

  REGULATED RIDES REGULATED DEVICES – CLASS 1 REGULATED DEVICES – CLASS 2
SAFETY OVERSIGHT KNOWLEDGE Comprehensive General Basic
TRAINING REQUIRED Comprehensive General Basic

Safety Management Plan (New)

Technical Safety BC is proposing an additional requirement that all regulated amusement ride and device operators would be required to prepare a Safety Management Plan and submit it to Technical Safety BC for review.  When guided by safety codes and regulations, Safety Management Plans are comprehensive and responsive to the risks associated with amusement rides or devices, promoting a higher level of safety than only a safety code. They would need to include:

  • Manufacturer’s operating instructions and the operator’s instructions;
  • Details of the training program for operators and employees;
  • Emergency procedures; and
  • An operational and patron use risk assessment, including risks for vulnerable populations, and details of how those risks will be managed by employees and the operator.
  REGULATED RIDES REGULATED DEVICES – CLASS 1 REGULATED DEVICES – CLASS 2
RISK ANALYSIS Comprehensive General Basic
CODE REQUIREMENT Include operational, training, and maintenance requirements as described in ASTM F2783/F770
ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS
  • Identify all workers who will perform regulated work
  • Include a regulatory compliance plan
  • Include a corporate organizational structure

Licence

The proposed changes to the current licensing requirement for amusement rides and devices include the name of the qualified individual on the licence application, proof of $2 million liability insurance, and the submission of a Safety Management Plan.

red = new

  REGULATED RIDES REGULATED DEVICES – CLASS 1 REGULATED DEVICES – CLASS 2
CONTRACTOR LICENCE

Annual contractor licence
Safety Management Plan

QUALIFIED INDIVIDUAL Qualified individual named on the contractor licence
INSURANCE Proof of $2 million liability insurance
Annual contractor licence

Design registration

The proposed changes to the current design registration requirement for amusement rides and devices include varying levels of design registration dependent on the amusement ride or device category.

red = new

  REGULATED RIDES REGULATED DEVICES – CLASS 1 REGULATED DEVICES – CLASS 2
SUBMISSSION PACAKGE Design Registration Technical Information Package Design Registration Technical Information Package Design Registration Technical Information Package
Declaration checklist
REVIEW Engineering review Engineering review Completeness check

Installation

Technical Safety BC is proposing a pre-inspection declaration to occur for all rides and devices and a simplified review of installation permits for low-risk devices.

red = new

  REGULATED RIDES REGULATED DEVICES – CLASS 1 REGULATED DEVICES
– CLASS 2
ACCEPTANCE INSPECTION Construction
and acceptance inspection-physical
Acceptance inspections-physical Declaration/ audit-based acceptance assessment
TEST DOCUMENTS Acceptance test documents
PERMITS Installation permit
DECLARATION Pre-inspection declaration

Operation

It is proposed to make a shift from scheduled physical assessments to a risk-based and audit-based model, which will allow our resources to focus on high hazards and high technical risk.

red = new

  REGULATED RIDES REGULATED DEVICES – CLASS 1 REGULATED DEVICES
– CLASS 2
PERMITS Annual operating permits, with sub-classes (thrill/ family/ children) Annual operating permits, based on size/ number of features Annual operating permits with submitted pre-operation declaration
ASSESSMENT Initial physical assessment
  • Annually for new inclusion in safety system
  • Risk-based physical assessment  and audit thereafter
Initial physical assessment
  • Annually for new inclusion in safety system
  • Risk-based physical assessment  and audit thereafter
New contractors are assessed on their first declaration followed by audit-based assessment
DECLARATION Annual declaration

Procedures to address new rides and devices

Technical Safety BC is proposing an approach to address new and novel devices brought into British Columbia that are not accounted for under current regulations.  The regulations would outline specific regulatory criteria that a safety manager must consider about the nature, risks, and operations of new and novel amusement rides or devices created or brought into British Columbia in order to determine whether or not they would be regulated.  An appeal process on decisions relating to the inclusion or exclusion of a new or novel amusement ride or device is in place, which creates an additional level of fairness.

Have your say

We are seeking feedback from owners and operators of amusement ride and device facilities, as well as members of the public on the proposed amusement ride regulatory changes.

Through conversations with facility owners and operators, we would like to hear about the industry’s interests, priorities and challenges when it comes to amusement ride safety. To facilitate these conversations, we are holding webinars, one-on-one meetings and an industry focus group to ensure that stakeholders have the opportunity to share their important perspectives. Owners and operators are also encouraged to complete this online survey.

We are also interested in hearing feedback from community members, parents, and patrons to understand the public’s expectations and desires around amusement device safety in BC. You can do this by completing our public survey or by visiting our team at the following community events:

More events will be added as they are confirmed.

FAQs

The review highlighted certain challenges with the current regulations for amusement rides and devices in British Columbia. These challenges include:

  • An imprecise definition of what kinds of rides and devices are regulated causing confusion to the public and amusement ride and device owners; 
  • An out of date safety code for the design, maintenance, and operation of amusement rides and devices creating a gap between the adopted code and current wise practices;
  • An inability of the current regulation to adapt to newly developed rides and devices, creating a safety gap when new and novel designs are brought to British Columbia.

Technical Safety BC is proposing a shift in the regulatory approach to amusement rides to make sure that regulations keep up with innovation in the industry, and to put new wise practices, like operational safety management plans, into practice in BC.

Technical Safety BC is proposing that the regulations would require that a Technical Safety BC safety manager consider specific criteria, established in regulation, when examining a new or novel amusement device to determine if, and under which category, it would be regulated. This criteria, which will also be used for determining the category that existing amusement rides and devices fall under, includes:

  • The technical risks of the device, in relation to design, construction, operation, and maintenance;
  • The degree of control a patron has over their exposure to risk in relation to the device, or the risk that arises from patron behaviour in or on the device;
  • Any enhanced risks posed to a vulnerable population;
  • Any gaps in regulatory oversight, because of a lack of regulators, engineering, safety codes, insurers, or similar factors;
  • The ability for regulatory oversight by Technical Safety BC to increase safety.

These considerations are intended to balance the need for the public to be reasonably assured that amusement devices do not pose unreasonable risks with the reality that almost all amusement activities carry some degree of risk that patrons must consciously and clearly accept.

Below is the initial proposed classification of rides and devices both currently regulated and unregulated. This list is non-exhaustive and subject to change.

Proposed Regulatory Category Ride or Device
Regulated Ride Indoor skydiving
Rollercoasters
Rotating rides
Tower rides
Swing rides
Ferris wheels
Bumper cars
Flume rides
Bobsled and skeleton
Wakeboard tow
Mountain coaster
Merry-go-round
Dark rides (with passenger carrier units)
Automated fun houses
“Dining in the Sky” type ride
Simulators
Car rides
Go-karts
Bumper boats
Train ride
Regulated Device (Class 1) Portable climbing walls
Bungee jumps
Ropes challenge course
Trampoline court
Stunt air bag
Ninja gyms
Inflatable trampolines
Large dry slides
Zipline (permanent and travelling)
“Slide the City” type ride
Waterslide (open and enclosed flumes)
Waterslide (passenger carrying vehicle)
Waterslide (lane and pool discharge)
Regulated Device (Class 2) Bouncy castle/House
Inflatable obstacle course
Inflatable dry slide
Inflatable climbing wall
Small dry slide
Excluded from Regulation Professional racing go-karts Coin-operated children’s rides (such as those found at malls)
Zorbs
Winter tube parks
Mechanical bulls
Via ferrata
Gyroscopes

Technical Safety BC is a self-funded, not-for-profit organization that does not receive funding from the provincial government. We operate on a cost-recovery basis which means our fees must recover the direct and indirect costs of administering our services, contribute to provincial safety oversight and improvements, and allow us to be financially sustainable.

Currently, operators of amusement rides pay annual licensing fees, operating permit fees, and installation fees when they install a new ride or modify an existing one. Trampoline park owners and owners of other equipment that may become regulated under this proposed approach will be asked to pay fees based on the oversight activity required by Technical Safety BC to assess the safety of their equipment. We will consult and engage with industry to get feedback on fees before they are implemented. Fees will be designed using our principles of simplicity, fairness, and sustainability.

Technical Safety BC is proposing that training and knowledge development opportunities be provided for these Qualified Individuals, to help establish a minimum standard of knowledge across the industry.

Your feedback will help us to determine what processes need to be in place to improve safety. Technical Safety BC will submit final recommendations to the Province on broader regulatory changes to amusement rides towards the end of 2019. The Ministry is ultimately responsible for reviewing and accepting our recommendations and putting them into regulation.

We will be constantly updating this page with the proposed regulatory framework. Any questions, please contact engage@technicalsafetybc.ca.

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