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Amusement Devices

Annual State of Safety 2023

State of Safety: Amusement Devices

We oversee the installation and operation of amusement devices throughout BC in accordance with the Elevating Devices Safety Regulation. The types of regulated amusement devices range from waterslides and inflatable play equipment to larger roller coasters.

In 2023, we saw a continued return to community events where amusement devices were installed and operated at levels similar to pre-pandemic times. As ridership increased, we saw a proportional increase in incidents and injuries.

Zipline Rider Collides with Rolling Staircase

At a tandem zipline course, metal staircases were used for riders to disembark onto a wooden platform after their ride finished. During one tour, the riders dismounted from the lines but one of the rolling staircases was not returned to its safe, parked position, remaining in the riders’ path. A zipline rider collided with the rolling staircase at an estimated speed of 60-80 km/h after the go-ahead was given to launch. The rider sustained major injury to their leg and was transported to the hospital. There were multiple factors contributing to the incident, from protocol to possible employee fatigue. A review of operational factors such as guide staffing levels, policies and procedures, as well as fail-safes by design technologies may prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

 

Connecting with Industry Helps Oversight on Amusement Devices

As we continue to work with the Ministry on changes to the regulation of amusement devices, we remain engaged in several code committees and amusement industry safety initiatives.

In 2023, we presented at SafeConnect, a safety conference hosted by the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE), with attendees from BC and Alberta. This conference provides comprehensive amusement industry education and opportunities for certification for participants to stay current with industry standards and best practices. Additionally, we attended the International Adventure and Trampoline Parks (IATP) association meeting which featured safety information and allowed us to connect with those in the trampoline court industry. We continue to work with the Ministry on regulatory changes. As an active member of the American Standards and Test Methods (ASTM) Standards Committee F-24 (safety standard for amusement rides and devices), we participated in several subcommittees, including the F-2783 standard committee, which is the Canadian Harmonized standard being proposed for adoption in BC.

These meetings and partnerships are one of many opportunities where we can glean insight from safety partners as we prepare for expanded safety oversight of amusement devices.

Incidents

17 incidents were reported in 2023, an 89% increase from the previous year. The increase of incidents may correspond to the post-pandemic recovery of the amusement devices industry. As more amusement devices reopen and more patrons ride, the number of incidents will likely increase compared to a year when less amusement devices were in operation. The number of incidents is similar to the number of incidents before the pandemic occurred. Of the reported incidents, two were ranked as “insignificant,” six ranked as “minor,” and seven ranked as “moderate,” while two ranked as “major.” No incident was ranked as “under assessment.”

Investigations into these incidents have been expanded to understand the context in which patron and operational decisions are made and to increase the likelihood of safe decisions being made in the future.

Our oversight program evaluates reported incidents to inform our knowledge of risk in order to prevent injuries and enhance safety in amusement ride operations in BC. We continue our efforts to better understand situational complexities, like financial, personal, or environmental considerations, where various competing interests may undermine an individual’s ability to make the best possible safety decisions.

Amusement Device Incidents by Year
(2019 - 2023)

Injuries

14 injuries were reported to us in 2023, which increased 100% compared to 2022. The increase of injuries may correspond to the continued post-pandemic recovery of the amusement devices industry. As more amusement devices reopen and more patrons ride, the number of injuries will likely increase compared to a year when less amusement devices were in operation. The number of injuries is similar to the number of injuries before the pandemic occurred.

It is important to note that we receive injury reports and descriptions from operators or first responders at the time of, or immediately following, the incident. Injuries may develop after the initial reports were made to us and the long-term effects of a resultant injury may not be recorded as part of our investigation.

Amusement Device Injuries by Year
(2019 - 2023)

Permits

In 2023, we issued 116 installation permits and saw 600 active operating permits in the amusement devices technology. Installation permits increased 170% compared to 2022. Many of these installations were categorized as major rides and inflatable devices. Operating permits saw an increase of 15% compared to 2022. This industry saw a full return of community amusement events since pre-pandemic times which shows in the increased permit activity.

Amusement Device Installation Permits by Year (2019-2023)
Amusement Device Operating Permits by Year (2019-2023)

Assessments

Our safety officers completed a total of 403 assessments in 2023 which represents an increase of 19% compared to 2022. Of the 403 assessments, 362 were in-person inspections and 41 were remote inspections. The increase in the total number of inspections may be related to the continued return of large community events that had not occurred since before the pandemic.

The results of in-person assessments included: 325 “conditional pass,” 16 “passed,” and 21 “failed." The results of remote assessments included: 28 “conditional pass,” 9 “passed,” and four “failed.”

Learn more about how we define these assessment outcomes.

Amusement Device Compliance of Duty Holder's Work in 2023 (Physical Assessment)
Amusement Device Compliance of Duty Holder's Work in 2023 (Remote Assessment)

Data by Technology

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