With the evolution of the concepts relating to risk analysis, the critical points for safety no longer only concern the rider restraint systems, but theoretically extend to cover the entire attraction
DETERMINATION OF SAFETY-CRITICAL COMPONENTS
by Enrico Fabbri
Statistics on ride accidents lead to the conclusion that even attractions manufactured many years ago are, as a whole, safe, as long as the “safety-critical components” are identified and checked. What are they? They are any part of the attraction that can determine a risk for people, meaning both the operator/assistant and the riders. These components need to be identified by an experienced technician, together with the operator. A copy of the report must be kept in the ride’s log book.
It is clear that ‘safety-critical components’ not only involve the safety restraint bars, but also, for example, pressure-relief valves for pneumatic systems, parking or emergency brakes, metal pins and safety pins, barriers and fences for the public, sensors and switches that due to their function, in the event of a fault or malfunction, can potentially cause harm to people.
Along with these safety-critical components are also all the attraction assembly and dismantling procedures, which must always be carried out by qualified and trained personnel. For these operations, EN-13814 does not specify minimum safety requirements, rather general accident prevention principles need to be applied.
Taking as an example a famous attraction: the TELECOMBAT ride. What are the safety-critical components? Even if the accelerations riders are subjected to are very low, a safety restraint bar or belt is required to avoid the passenger being thrown out of the car. Obviously, all the metal pins and safety pins underneath the plane-shaped car and on the arm are safety critical components, as are the pressure-relief valves for pneumatic operation.
In general, however, in my experience, the 2 most important points that need to be checked are: the cars’ chassis and the public barriers on the circular platform. The chassis is essentially hidden under the platform, however it has a very important function; it is also a component that is subject to fatigue and must therefore be checked very carefully.
Looking at the circular platform then, the public must never access this when the ride is moving, as they may be struck by a car; to reduce this risk, warning signs must be provided (made in accordance with ISO standards) and access to the platform must be restricted by barriers or railings.
I will end this article by underlining the following concepts:
1. Pay attention to all the components of the ride that are not immediately visible, dismantling any necessary components, even if riveted or welded by the manufacturer.
2. Inappropriate behaviour by the public must be accounted for, reducing risk by making modifications that are compatible with the attraction.
3. The requirement to check safety-critical components (in the broadest sense) and update risk reduction measures are the responsibility of the operator and the inspector who checks the attraction every year. Updates will reflect the evolution of safety standards, and common sense.
Written by Mr. Enrico Fabbri firstname.lastname@example.org
Article originally published in Games Industry (Italy) magazine
Original date: June 2015
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