3. Essential documentation

The controller/operator should not operate an inflatable device unless they have the relevant documentation from the list below:

  • A ‘design review’, which is a detailed written assessment of the design against safety principles. This is normally carried out by a competent person or organisation and allows everyone involved to understand the basis of safety. Wherever possible, reference to the relevant standards and guidance should be made. This could include but is not limited to:
    • BS EN 13814 Fairground and amusement park machinery and structures
    • BS EN ISO 25649 Floating leisure articles for use on and in the water
    • ISO 17842 Safety of amusement rides and amusement devices
    • BS EN 14960 Inflatable play equipment: safety requirements and test methods
  • A report of the initial test involving a physical trial of the device to confirm the design review (covered in HSE's Fairgrounds and amusement parks: Guidance on safe practice (HSG175)). These trials can be used to amend the design review or provide additional requirements for ongoing inspection and maintenance
  • A Declaration of Operational Compliance (DOC) resulting from a successful annual thorough inspection, or an equivalent recognised means of providing evidence of a satisfactory examination carried out by a competent inspection body, eg relevant markings (read the advice on in-service inspection)
  • An operations manual containing all the relevant information for safe use, including but not limited to the means of measuring internal pressure
  • A maintenance manual containing all the relevant information to make sure the condition of the sealed inflatable remains safe, including how to complete the in-service inspection, which would normally include the following information:
    • the maximum operating pressure
    • the test pressure, which must be above the maximum operating pressure
    • details of the requirements that will allow the inspection body to safely carry out the pressure test
    • details of any repair criteria or repair procedures

There may be some inflatables that are either legacy play equipment, or of unknown origin (eg imported from outside the United Kingdom, historical equipment, or other items with no identification markings). The controller/operator of the inflatable should still make sure that the inflatable has been through a suitable design review and has an up-to-date in-service inspection record and is safe for use. All second-hand inflatables must be provided with maintenance records, details of any modifications, significant repairs etc.

For inflatable devices lacking the relevant paperwork, as detailed above, inspection bodies must carry out additional work and investigation to satisfactorily complete the requirements of the design review, initial test and in-service inspection.