Manufacturers should allow complex rides to be used by trained operators only. Could it be necessary to make all operators attend a training course?
TECHNICAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE TRAINING FOR OPERATORS. MANDATORY TRAINING COURSES?
by Enrico Fabbri
When we buy a large self-propelled crane, we are asked who it will be operated by. Clearly the operator will need to have passed a specific course, but this alone is not enough. The manufacturer also requires the crane operator to take a specific course to learn about that specific crane, either provided directly by the manufacturer or by other authorised professionals.
Cranes are complex machines and manufacturers are required to ensure that the operators of such machines are able to understand the risks and solve any problems adequately. I have used this example because rides too are complex machines, used by operators who need specific training.
The general principle is that a manufacturer of particularly complex rides has the duty to ensure that the personnel who will manage the ride as regards for its assembly, maintenance and operation are suitably trained based on its complexity. It is therefore not enough to simply be the son of a travelling showman to be genetically capable of performing these tasks properly.
In permanent amusement parks, the personnel responsible for a large roller coaster are almost always engineers, as they need specific skills to manage the difficulties and responsibilities of these rides. For the last two-and-a-half years I have been working full-time in the used rides market and therefore have been in contact with many operators from many countries. Every country trains operators differently and in some cases it is clear that such training is inadequate. Even though I believe there is no imminent danger, I also feel it is time to start discussing this subject, before being forced to due to a law or some unfortunate event.
When a new ride is delivered, one of the manufacturer’s technicians instructs the operator on how to use it; this is good practice, but not enough. In fact, the manufacturer should at the same time assess whether the operator is capable of carrying out the activities needed to use that ride. If the ride is too complex for the operator’s level of training, the entire procedure should be put on hold until the owner makes a suitable operator available.
I should point out again that, according to European and international standards, the operator is not simply the person who presses the start and stop buttons on the control panel. The term “operator” refers to the person who, on behalf of the owner, has overall responsibility for managing the ride. It is therefore clear that the operator may at times delegate certain activities to assistants who have been specially trained.
This problem also arises when a ride changes ownership and is therefore used by different people. In this case, the seller’s operator should verify the suitability of the buyer’s operator, assuming responsibility for this. Otherwise, the manufacturer will need to make the assessment, providing training again.
As such concepts are already used for complex machines such as cranes, it is clear that these topics also affect rides, which are often more complex machines than medium-sized cranes. The question I therefore ask is: how can we manage these issues in the best possible way? I believe, for example, that operators’ trade associations should directly offer courses on a voluntary basis, providing different levels according to the various difficulties that exist for small, medium and large rides. It is clear that an operator who is already certified for large rides will find it much easier to manage the manufacturer’s instructions after the delivery of a new ride.
Probably some of the people reading this article believe they are already smart enough and perfectly able to do their job. If so, I envy them, because after 30 years in this business I continue to learn every week from people who in certain fields are much better prepared than me. These are times of great changes; the experience of our parents is no longer enough to deal with continuous changes. I therefore ask parents to be the first to pay attention to the technical training of their children.
Written by Mr. Enrico Fabbri email@example.com
Article originally published in Games Industry (Italy) magazine
Original date: August 2018
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