State of Safety: Passenger Ropeways
We oversee the safety of passenger ropeways throughout BC in accordance with the Safety Standards Act and the Elevating Devices Safety Regulation. These include tramways, gondolas, chairlifts, rope tows, and passenger conveyors.
Carrier Assembly Falls to Snow
A carrier fell to the snow when entering a compression tower sheave assembly on the downhill side of a ropeway. During inspection, it was observed that the chair swing guide was out of alignment causing the grip horn to miss the bullwheel flange and supplying enough force to partially pry the grip off the haul rope.
Our investigation found that the lift had been de-tensioned and the return terminal had been removed for service the previous summer. This included the removal of the chair swing guide. There were no documented procedures or specifications for proper adjustment of the return terminal chair guide rail, while the return bullwheel flange was observed to be correctly installed per manufacturer specifications.
In 2022 there were 103 passenger ropeway related incidents, which is 5% more than the number of incidents reported in 2021. The majority of the incidents happen while loading, unloading or riding a ropeway or conveyor, and can be attributed to passenger actions, their skill level, operational factors, or a combination of these elements.
Passenger Ropeways Incidents by Year
(2018 - 2022)
Mitigating Risk and Co-creating Solutions
We are conducting exploratory research and have established an industry advisory group to better understand the causal and behavioural factors leading to falls or misloadings from chairlift carriers. Additionally, we are collaborating with an external working group of industry members to brainstorm and co-create risk mitigation solutions.
Note: The category under assessment refers to incidents reported to Technical Safety BC that were still under investigation at year’s end.
Fifty-four injuries were reported to us in 2022, an increase of 9% compared to 2021. Many injuries are tied to behavioural factors leading to falls or misloadings from chairlift carriers.
To promote safe user behaviour on chairlifts, we ran a marketing campaign during ski and boarding season. The campaign targeted skiers and snowboarders with chairlift safety tips.
Passenger Ropeway Injuries by Year
(2018 - 2022)
In 2022, there were a total of 199 passenger ropeway permits: 22 installation permits and 177 operating permits. Overall total permits decreased by 15% compared to 2021, where the number of permits taken had increased by 14%.
The increase in permits for 2021 was attributed to post pandemic restrictions lifting and the industry returning to operations which included the need for maintenance and repairs. Following this, it may be evident that operations are normalizing and stabilizing again in the past year.
Passenger Ropeway Operating Permits and Installation Permits by Year (2018-2022)
In 2022, Technical Safety BC safety officers completed 132 assessments: 118 in-person and 14 remotely.
Assessments are rated as follows:
The safety officer has assessed that the regulated work and/or regulated product was found to comply with the Safety Standards Act, regulations and/or applicable technical code(s).
The safety officer has assessed that the regulated work and/or regulated product was found to NOT comply with the Safety Standards Act, regulations and/or applicable technical code(s). Further regulated work may only be undertaken as directed on the certificate of inspection, while the identified non-compliances are being corrected.
The safety officer has assessed that the regulated work and/or regulated product was found to NOT comply with the Safety Standards Act, regulations and/or applicable technical code(s). Further regulated work on the affected system or phase of work, and/or operation of the regulated equipment must not be undertaken until the identified non-compliances have been corrected.