An important part of amusement ride safety is the Ride Operation Manual that comes with every piece of equipment.
It is the responsibility of every operator or attendant to familiarize themselves with the Ride Operation Manual before they undertake the operation of any amusement ride. Ride Operation Manuals are the key to the safe operation of amusement rides and include daily checklists, logs, emergency instructions, lock-out procedures, hand signals, operator safety and other specific operating instructions. In addition, information regarding boarding and disembarking of passengers, checking of passenger restraint systems and ride operation are also included.
It is extremely important that operators or attendants are completely familiar with all aspects of the ride that they are operating.
Just as airplane pilots are required to go through a pre-flight procedure, amusement ride operators or attendants have a specific Safety Checklist that they must complete and sign every day before admitting the public to the ride.
Since this checklist is a legal document and can be used as evidence in case of a claim, it must be signed and dated properly in ink. The person who performed the action is the person whose signature should appear on the checklist. The shift supervisor will review and sign the checklist also. Any problems and concerns that arise during the pre-opening check completion must be corrected before the ride opens to the public.
In addition to the Safety Checklist, amusement ride operators or attendants should maintain a daily Log to keep a record of the ride’s operational history. It is especially important to keep a record of any unusual occurrences regarding the ride’s operation. When there is an unusual occurrence, the amusement ride operators or attendants should stop the ride using the emergency shut-down procedures and notify the relevant people and authorities. They should also make a notation of the stoppage and its cause in the Log.
The operator or attendant is in charge of all the controls that operate the ride.
The ride’s Start, Stop and Emergency Stop buttons are all controlled by the operator or attendant. Some rides require the operator or attendant to constantly keep a foot or a hand on a special switch while the ride is operating in order to keep it running.
Important!! This control must never disabled for any reason.
Operators or attendants must remain at their posts until they are certain that the ride has come to a complete stop before boarding and/or disembarking passengers. It is essential to remind passengers that they must remain in place and strapped in until the ride stops completely.
When a ride requires the presence of more than one operator or attendant, one of them must constantly remain at the controls while the ride is in motion, and should never leave the controls without ascertaining that the ride has been reasonably secured against unauthorized operation. In case of an emergency, the operator/attendant will shut the ride down according to the emergency shutdown procedures.
Operators or attendants should never remove or attempt to remove sick or injured passengers from a ride that it still in motion. They should never leave the controls until the ride has come to a complete stop.
There are also important considerations to be taken into account when boarding and disembarking passengers:
- Before boarding a ride, the passengers must adhere to the ride restrictions as posted and the operators or attendants must enforce all posted restrictions
- It is necessary to ensure that certain types of rides are balanced when boarding passengers. Therefore, the operators or attendants must have the passengers fill up cars opposite each other. When in doubt, operators or attendants should check with their supervisor or the ride manual for the ride they are operating.
It is important to ascertain that the passengers:
- Remain seated until the ride stops completely
- Keep their hands and feet inside the ride, especially while the ride is moving
- Grasp hand holds and lap bars while the ride is in motion
- Observe the No Smoking rules while on the ride, whether it is moving or not
It is important that the passengers completely understand the rules, and what is expected of them while they are on the ride. Therefore, if the ride is equipped with a loudspeaker, operators or attendants should use it to announce the rules periodically so that passengers will hear them and become familiar with them while they are waiting their turn to board the ride. If necessary, the operators or attendants should read from a prepared text to maintain the announcement’s clarity.
Obviously, this is not a comprehensive list of all amusement ride safety regulations. However, if operators or attendants and passengers all follow these rules and cooperate with each other, everyone will safely enjoy their time at the amusement park.
Written by Joel Block
Joel Block is the Inflatable and Amusement Parks Liability Insurance Customer Service Officer at Sinclair Insurance Company. Sinclair offers comprehensive professional liability insurance for inflatable and amusement rides renters and operators including malpractice and errors and omissions.