Information Bulletin: Passengers falling from carriers on above surface passenger ropeways
Topic: Increase in the number of passengers falling from fixed grip and detachable grip chairlift carriers
Safety trending analysis and ongoing review of passenger ropeway incident reports has identified an increase in the number of passengers who have fallen out of chairlift carriers during the 2006/07 ski season. Since December 01, 2006, thirteen individuals have fallen out of chairlift carriers from a height exceeding 2 meters. Of the thirteen passengers who fell, eight were under the age of ten.
Passenger ropeway contractors who operate above surface passenger ropeways are being asked to review policies and procedures regarding loading of individuals onto chairlift carriers. Lift operations staff are responsible for ensuring that guests are properly seated in the chairlift carrier prior to the carrier leaving the station. All lift operations staff should be encouraging guests to lower restraining devices as they depart the loading station and to keep the restraining devices lowered until just prior to the designated unloading location.
In British Columbia in the year 2000 a record high number (23) persons fell from carriers during the ski season. An analysis of that seasons trends showed that a large percentage of those who fell from carriers that season were under the age of ten. While the number of falls from carriers has reduced over time, the percentage of younger guests falling from chairs remains high.
Lift operations personnel are requested to review your policies and procedures regarding children riding on chairlifts. As a minimum, the following “in house” policy issues should be reviewed for above surface passenger ropeways:
- minimum age of unsupervised riders;
- teaming of younger riders with unrelated riders from the lift line;
- snow school instructor training regarding loading and riding with young guests;
- lift operator training for loading of young guests;
- compatibility of carriers and younger riders.
Passenger ropeway contractors are also being requested to inspect chairlift equipment to ensure that the following items are not contributing to an increase in the number of falls from carriers:
- location of the “Raise Restraining Device” signage;
- condition of seat pads and restraining devices.
The British Columbia Safety Authority is committed to working together with all passenger ropeway contractors to continue to drive down the number of passengers falling from above surface passenger ropeways. The BCSA and the members of the Canada West Ski Areas Association have worked together to reduce these numbers since 2000, a review and refocus is required at this time to continue to drive these numbers lower.
* Where type of equipment was reported between 2000 and 2007, 58% of falls were from fixed grip carriers and 41% from detachable grip carriers.
Provincial Safety Manager, Passenger Ropeways, Amusement Devices & Recreational Railways
Bill 19 – 2003 Safety Standards Act
B.C. Reg. 101/2004 Elevating Devices Safety Regulation
B.C. Reg. 105/2004 Safety Standards General Regulation