Extra checks on fairground rides over summer after run of incidents

Extra checks on the safety of fairground and theme park rides will take place this summer after a string of incidents.

Britain’s workplace regulator the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will carry out 100 inspections of various rides following incidents in London, Barrow, Cardiff, Hull and Barnsley.

The HSE inspection campaign looks to promote the safe use of certain rides.

HSE inspector David Kivlin said: “When there is a failure or incorrect operation of a ride it can result in catastrophic consequences. HSE recognises that recent incidents, including the prosecution of operators following a fatal incident in March 2016 involving inflatable devices, have raised public awareness of the potential for injury and harm to users of such devices when they are not set up, maintained and  operated in-line with manufacturer guidance or good practice standards.

“HSE’s overall strategy is to promote the safe use of fairground rides and inflatable devices and in doing so reduce the risk of such catastrophic incidents to as low as is reasonably practicable.”

Starting on 24 April, HSE will carry out 100 targeted inspections of specific fairground rides with the programme set to finish by September 2023.

The inspection programme comes as HSE continues to build upon intervention work undertaken in previous years to address emerging safety issues in the fairground industry.

The rides being targeted are Round Ups, Crazy Frogs, Twists, high speed rides and Star Flyers used at travelling fairground and theme park sites. Each of the rides will be inspected to ensure that they are safe for workers and passengers to use, and are being correctly maintained and operated.

HSE has decided to focus on these particular rides following a number of incidents at different fairgrounds and theme parks. Several of these incidents are now being investigated by HSE.

HSE continues to investigate two incidents involving Twist rides which took place at Cavendish Park, Barrow, in August 2021 and Cardiff Winter Wonderland in November 2022.

HSE has also investigated high speed ride incidents at Hull Fair in October 2019 Yiewsley Wood, West Drayton, in April 2018 as well as Brockwell Park, London, and Penny Pie Park, Barnsley, which both occurred in August 2019.

In addition, HSE is aware of an incident involving a Star Flyer ride at Planet Fun, Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, in July 2021.

Another HSE intervention in 2022 identified that the control system being used for the restraint system on a Crazy Frog ride was inadequate and needed improvement.

Should HSE inspectors from the National Fairground Inspection Team (NFIT) identify any ongoing risk of serious personal injury then enforcement action will be taken according to HSE’s Enforcement Management Model.

There are a range of enforcement options available to HSE, including providing information face-to-face or in writing, serving Improvement and Prohibition Notices as well as prosecution. Inspectors will also be looking to help ride owners and operators understand the risk involved with these rides.