Are you a ride controller employer

Information on what an employer needs to do to ensure their machine can be set up, run and dismantled safely – and the steps required to make sure the health and safety of employees (including ride staff) and members of the public is not put at risk.

What you must do:

The law requires employers to:

  • Manage hazards and risk – You must plan, manage and monitor the erection, running and dismantling of your machines to ensure it is done safely and does not cause health and safety risks to those working on / around them, or to those riding them.
  • Inform and train your employees – You must give your staff enough training so they can do their work safely and not create risks to themselves or others.

What you need to know:

The vast majority of accidents on fairground rides arise from either poor maintenance or poor operation.You have legal duties to protect the health and safety of those riding on your machines as well as to those working on them

Manage hazards and risk

There are a number of things you must do in order to manage the hazards and risks in running a fairground ride. Obviously, the greater the hazard, the greater the level of risk control there should be. You should therefore consider:

When buying a machine

The Amusement Devices Safety Council (ADSC) and HSE have drawn up a system for the safety of attractions. It covers the design, manufacture, testing and operation of fairground rides. It is strongly recommended that you adhere to this guidance when buying a new ride. For further details, see: Fairgrounds and amusement parks: Guidance on safe practice .

Risk management system

You must identify and then control the risks your machine creates. This process is called risk assessment and this should form part of your health and safety management system. If you employ five or more people, you must have this written down.

Ride inspection

You must have your ride inspected annually by a competent person. HSE considers ride inspectors registered under the Amusement Devices Inspection Procedure Scheme (ADIPS) or under the PIPA scheme (for inflatables) to be competent in undertaking these inspections. If you use an inspector from outside these schemes, you may have to demonstrate how you assessed their competence.

Ride maintenance

Your ride will degrade over time so it is important to check it over regularly and ensure that any routine or extraordinary maintenance is carried out promptly. Repairs should only be carried out by a person competent to do them and, where a safety feature is affected, the repair must be reviewed by a competent design reviewer. Routine maintenance procedures should be set out in your machine's operations manual.

Accident history

Both HSE statistics website and NAFLIC publish details of accidents / incidents involving particular types of machine. You should regularly check these and take the necessary action to ensure the same things don't happen with your machine.

Rider safety

You must make sure that the people riding your machine can be carried safely, paying particular attention to:

  • any height restrictions identified in the machine's operation manual
  • any obvious or notified disabilities that may affect the rider's ability to ride safely and stay within any containment system. This may include excess weight, heart conditions, physical or mental impairment etc
  • whether the rider appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Emergency procedures

You must have systems in place to ensure that any foreseeable emergency can be dealt with, and that riders and staff can be safely evacuated from the ride. This may include fire, loss of power or the structural failure of all or part of the machine. You can't simply leave this to the emergency services as they may be busy elsewhere

Inflatable safety

Equipment should be designed and manufactured in accordance with British Standard BS EN 14960 Inflatable play equipment – Safety requirements and test methods. For further information on the safe use of inflatables and to purchase a copy of the standard, visit the British Standards Institute Shop , or see: PIPA .

Inform and train your employees

Your ride staff will probably be involved at all stages of the machine's build up, operation and strip down. It is vital that they receive adequate training so that they can do this safely in all foreseeable circumstances. Training should include:

  • How to unload, build up, strip down and reload the ride. This may require further training in working at height, manual handling and electrical safety.
  • Which parts to check and how to check them when doing daily safety checks. This should also include details about what to do when a problem is found.
  • Deciding on who should and should not be allowed to ride – see Rider safety above.
  • How to operate the machine in accordance with the operations manual, including:
    • loading the ride to ensure it is correctly balanced
    • ensuring restraint / containment systems are correctly closed / fitted before the machine starts
    • clearing people from the danger areas around the machine and making sure fences and gates are closed to prevent access while the machine is in motion
    • not increasing risk to the riders when taking manual control of the ride function, eg through higher speed, more vigorous bouncing etc
    • dealing with people who may become incapacitated or hurt while on the ride.

What to do in case of emergency and who to contact for help (see Emergency procedures above).

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Updated 2022-11-01