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Workplan 2015-16: National Fairground Inspection Team (NFIT) Intervention Programme


This outlines the 2015-16 National Fairgrounds Intervention Team (NFIT) intervention programme. It focuses on:


The 2015-16 NFIT programme aims to ensure high risk fairground equipment is manufactured, imported, inspected, maintained and operated so that it is safe. It will contribute to the Leisure Sector Strategy objective ‘avoiding catastrophe’.

Larger fairground rides are capable of giving rise to catastrophic incidents affecting large numbers of people. These are ‘low frequency but high consequence risks’ and those affected are likely to be mainly children and young people at leisure. Any such incident is likely to attract public and media attention.

Intelligence from previous NFIT inspections and investigations suggests:

Concerns are still being raised about controllers failing to address issues identified during previous investigations and brought to their attention in HSE Safety Notices.

A number of high speed, high risk rides (Freak Outs, Starflyers etc) have recently been imported from previously unknown manufacturers in Eastern Europe. Sector enquiries have shown that in some cases a lack of design and manufacturing detail has led to inadequate pre-use inspections (design review, assessment of conformity to design, initial tests). Sector is working with controllers to ensure the inspection reports are reviewed/re-conducted as necessary.


At fairground visits during 2015-16, NFIT inspectors should concentrate on;

Supplementary actions


Between 2001–02 and 2009–10, fairground accident statistics showed a downward trend for both employees and members of the public. There was an increase in reported accidents to members of the public in 2010–11.

HSE statistics from 2011–12 to date show further increases, although analysis suggests this may be partly due to changes in reporting arrangements.

Ride controllers may have their rides inspected by any competent person. They should be able to describe the steps taken to assure themselves of the competence of their ride inspector. HSE has extensive, in-depth knowledge and experience of the industry run ADIPS scheme for pre-use and in service ride inspection. Because of this, HSE considers that registration with ADIPS is good evidence that a ride inspector is capable of working competently. However, NFIT Inspectors should be aware that ADIPS registered inspectors have, on occasion been prosecuted following incidents due to a lack of diligence in their inspections. 



Visits to the specific machines mentioned previously may be conducted:

Visits to small fairs may be conducted:

Visits should be targeted on the basis of local or national intelligence which may include:

Crazy frog machines are more likely to be found on medium and major fairs. Superstar machines are comparatively rare and visits will have to be planned in order to see these. Sector will provide detail of machines with their owner’s names and addresses to NFIT who can then organise visits.

This work should be undertaken by NFIT trained Inspectors and, when required, by Specialist Inspectors with NFIT experience. FOD has allocated resource for the proactive NFIT work.

Divisional Intelligence Officers will be given details of fairs to be visited before the start of the work year in order that Service Orders can be raised.

Recording & Reporting

COIN Recording requirements are as per FOD guidelines. Inspectors are reminded that NFIT work should be recorded under NFIT FMU 25.

Further references


Entertainments and Leisure Sector.

Appendix 1: Specific Machines

Based on recent incident history, the sector has selected the Crazy Frog and Superstar type machines, for closer scrutiny over 2015-16.

The Crazy Frog type machine was subject to a Safety Action Notices (SAN) requiring controllers to conduct certain examinations, make physical alterations to the machine and/or change operational use. Certain types of the Safeco Crazy Frog machine are the subject of a recent HSL Study. The Superstar was the subject of a major investigation/ intervention in 2002–2004.

The purpose of focussing on these machines at visits is to confirm that the controller has taken all necessary actions in accordance with the SANs, letters or previous HSE guidance/enforcement and if not, to take appropriate action to ensure that the remedial work is carried out or working practices altered. Sector will, if required, provide details of fairs and the locations of the rides in scope and will liaise with individual NFIT teams as required closer to the fair dates.

Crazy Frog

This has been involved in number of serious incidents since first imported into UK some 20 years ago. The majority involved:

The machines in scope are a version made by a Spanish company called ‘Safeco’. An openly published HSL Report of a S&T study into these matters can be found at ‘Further References’ above.

The majority of serious hazards affecting both riders and the machine’s structural integrity identified in the HSL Report were attributed to the Controller’s ability to make sudden changes to pneumatic pressure in the machine. This can be addressed by the fitment of a pneumatic restrictor and some Controllers have done this. The restrictor valves have been fitted near to the pay box so they are visible.

Machines without the valve fitted must:

Machines with the valve fitted:

Sector should be informed if Controllers have not used the NDT Schedule provided in the HSL Report. 

NFIT Inspectors should take enforcement action as necessary to ensure the machine is run safely. Sector will provide advice and support for action if necessary.


The Superstar class of machine has suffered catastrophic weld failures at positions shown in the diagram below. Investigation into the causes was extensive and resulted in all of these machines requiring remedial work and/or changes to their operation. Enforcement Notices were issued during the investigation and the final PN required alterations to the operating procedures and a comprehensive, in depth NDT regime. This last Notice was unsuccessfully appealed and the regime outlined in the Schedule should still be in force unless equally effective measures have been put in place.

Enquiries following an accident involving a Superstar machine in Northern Ireland in January 2013 showed that many of the machines running in the UK are no longer complying with the regime in the Schedule or put in place equally effective measures.

See ‘further references’ section for copy of the Schedule to the Notice and letter sent to all current ride controllers and inspection bodies reminding them of the standards required.

Inspectors should check that these machines are being operated and tested either in accordance with the Schedule or to an equivalent standard.


Appendix 2: Matters of Evident Concern

Matters of evident concern likely to be found include:

Once identified, Inspectors should take appropriate action to resolve issues as necessary with support from Sector if required.

Updated 2015-09-25