Reanimated35

Talks Underway For New Amusement Industry Laws

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*This is flagged as a subscriber article so it may not work correctly for all unless you know how to bypass the paywall - regardless, the full article is below*

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/system-overhaul-after-dreamworld-disaster-could-see-older-amusement-rides-taken-out-of-action/news-story/a3ddaff6dffdf4bb02e4202b5e1875ab

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Dreamworld accident: Report cracks down on theme park safety

OLDER amusement rides could be decommissioned across the state and teenage amateurs banned from working theme-park rides under sweeping changes to protect thrill-seekers.

An audit in the wake of the Dreamworld tragedy has found rickety, decades-old rides at school fetes and local shows aren’t being properly tested and could be risking lives.

But even state-of-the-art rides at major tourist attractions are not being adequately checked and are being manned by people with inadequate training.

Four people died on Dreamworld’s Thunder River Rapids ride in October last year, in Australia’s worst theme park disaster since seven people died in Luna Park’s Ghost Train fire in 1979.

A best-practice review of the state’s workplace health and safety laws has recommended a complete overhaul of the system, including a new licensing scheme, more stringent safety audits that could see rides pulled apart and checked piece by piece and a new Public Safety Ombudsman to oversee the sector.

Its release came as Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace introduced into the Parliament a new criminal offence of industrial manslaughter.

The review found that of 111 serious incidents on Australian rides between 2001 and 2016, “a significant number may be attributed to inadequate training or operator error”.

It says the high turnover of operators, especially for mobile amusement rides, was a major problem and the report questions why special licences are required to drive a forklift, but not to propel hundreds of people through the air on high-risk rides.

“There is a clear need to increase the level of protection to the public by ensuring that these devices (amusement rides) are properly designed, maintained, inspected and operated,” it said.

The review compares fun parks to “major hazard facilities” that store, handle or process large amounts of dangerous chemicals, because both types of facilities carried the real risk of multiple fatalities, and says fun parks should be similarly regulated.

It said “poor mechanical integrity and lack of modern safety control measures” were a “significant concern” for older rides and that local shows and school fetes were believed to be using rides more than 30 years old.

“There is a need to mandate major inspections in the regulation to ensure that all rides, especially older ones, are maintained and undergo major inspections at prescribed intervals to ensure that they remain in a safe condition,” it said.

The audit juxtaposed the thorough examination cranes were put through with the much more lax screenings for rides.

It said a major inspection should be “an examination of all critical components of the amusement device, if necessary stripping down the amusement device and removing paint, grease and corrosion to allow a thorough examination of each critical component” and undertaken by an expert engineer.

The report proposes high-risk theme parks and travelling shows should require a special licence and be subject to six-monthly audits by specialist Workplace Health and Safety Queensland inspectors, while medium-risk operators would hold a different licence with yearly audits.

It says at least two extra mechanical engineers would need to be appointed as specialist inspectors to administer the licensing regime and testing and additional specialist plant inspectors with engineering credentials would be needed in each regional area.

But it says consultation with industry was still needed to shape all changes required.

The report also found the number of field inspectors had “not kept pace with increases in working population in Queensland” despite being comparable with NSW and Victoria.

The review pointed out that funding had “fallen in real terms and this has seriously hampered the ability of WHSQ to perform its role and keep pace with changes in the nature of work and the modernisation of work health and safety regulation”.

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Anything that can increase safety for patrons of theme parks or guests at carnivals and fairs can't be a bad thing. 

I can see it being being a death Knell for certain travelling operators who may struggle with rides in significant downtime or a decommissioning process effecting longevity of rides, but if that means a safer industry as a whole then it's what's required 

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6 hours ago, Brad2912 said:

Anything that can increase safety for patrons of theme parks or guests at carnivals and fairs can't be a bad thing. 

I can see it being being a death Knell for certain travelling operators who may struggle with rides in significant downtime or a decommissioning process effecting longevity of rides, but if that means a safer industry as a whole then it's what's required 

I agree with the spirit of this, but the practicality of it is that rides at our favourite parks will need to go down for a longer maintenance period each and every year.

The calendar is already quite full, and it is noticeable, especially at Sea World and Movie World, when you've got one or more majors out of commission.

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Isn't Wipeout undergoing a full tear down at the moment?

Also @djrappa mentioned recently we would be surprised to know how many pieces Superman's train was in during maintenance.

I'm all for anything that increases public safety but I don't think we will a massive increase in maintenance schedules at the parks.

What we may see is a more open process on maintenance procedures from the parks along the lines of the maintenance/safety videos to inform the public.

Travelling rides on the other hand would appear to have some hard times ahead.

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1 hour ago, AlexB said:

I agree with the spirit of this, but the practicality of it is that rides at our favourite parks will need to go down for a longer maintenance period each and every year.

I'm not worried because I'm very confident the parks already do this stuff.  The review was triggered by the DW incident but kids operating rides, rides NOT getting stripped down and not having mandate major inspections is not what happens at DW or MW.  The Fake News are throwing images of DW at us because they don’t know what they are talking about.

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Yes, but increased government regulation and oversight - sometimes tends to go too far in one direction over an abundance of caution.

Like - say they have to strip it down to component level, but the inspector must PHYSICALLY see the parts laid out in the maintenance bay as proof it was stripped down completely - and then the regular guy is sick that week, so it gets postponed until next week when the other guy is on, but he gets flat tyre on the way there, so they have to fly in an inspector from another region, but it takes 4 days to organise because they couldn't get him a hotel room consummate with his paygrade, and by then the sick guy is well, but he's 3 weeks behind, so he drops in after work to sign it off, but the maintenance guys left at 3 and someone took the key to the maintenance bay home, so nobody can open it up for him and...

 

What? It's government, and it's regulation. Don't think for a moment that everything I said above couldn't happen - it probably already has.

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@AlexB I don't think the government will take on that sort of responsibility where they are signing off on every component.  If the government signs off a component and it fails the government could be responsible.

I think the worst-case scenario for the parks is it’s going to increase their paperwork.  I have a friend who works for and aircraft engineering company and her job is to follow the engineers around and document everything they do.  From what part they use to what tool they used to do the job.

You won’t get an engineer who will sign off another engineer’s work. 

Edited by Skeeta

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10 hours ago, Reanimated35 said:

It says the high turnover of operators, especially for mobile amusement rides, was a major problem and the report questions why special licences are required to drive a forklift, but not to propel hundreds of people through the air on high-risk rides.

It's always a worry when you get reports and Governments talking like this because you end up with regulation for the sake of having regulation.  When you've got a report asking why you need a ticket to operate a forklift but not an amusement ride then you've clearly got decision makers asking the wrong questions.  Who the fuck cares if you need a ticket to operate a forklift?  The actual question is whether there's some level of critical training that operators are not getting that we need a licensing system to be able to track compliance with.  If so, what is that critical training?  We're not talking about mistakes here (they will happen, and the method of work should explicitly allow for this) - we are talking about a system of putting people in charge of machinery that they are missing critical information to allow the safe use of.

 

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Yeah - having now had the opportunity to read one of the articles on this - I take issue with this:

Quote

By way of comparison, a high-risk work licence is required to operate a forklift truck and arguably the risk associated with the operation of certain large amusement devices is significantly higher than for a forklift,” the review said.

Yes, a high risk work licence is requried to operate a forklift, because you are the person responsible for determining whether a load (which could be ANYTHING) is safely and properly secured, and whether it is safe to lift, travel with etc. You're also free to drive anywhere with the thing, and you could potentially slam into building pylons and supports, collapsing entire buildings. I've seen heaps of photos of forklifts lifting other devices (like a cherry picker \ man lift) to achieve more height to reach something and a whole bunch of other 'what the' moments.

Contrast this to a ride, where a typical operator is required to ensure guests are restrained according to manufacturer's recommendations (and in many cases, the ride system will not allow a dispatch until they are), and they then press 'dispatch' or similar.  Sure - more complex rides may need a bit more than that - but really - check seat belt, press green button is hardly comparable to that of a forklift operator.

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“In line with the Review’s recommendation, the Government will be increasing public protection by introducing new maintenance, operation and competency requirements for the inspection and operation of amusement devices.

“This will include an obligation to prepare a safety case and the application of a licensing regime.

“We will now begin working with industry to implement new arrangements which will be phased in, commencing the large theme parks from 1 December 2017

 

Go here to see the bill.

https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/laws-and-compliance/best-practice-review-of-workplace-health-and-safety-queensland

 

Note this is a Bill and not an Act at this point. 

 

This is the main part that relates to rides.

Public safety

 

 

41.  The Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 be amended to require that:

 

a.    mandatory major inspections of amusement devices, by competent persons, are conducted;

 

b.   competent persons are nominated to operate specified amusement devices; and

c.     details of statutory notices are recorded in the amusement device logbook and made available to the competent person inspecting the amusement device.

 

42.  WHSQ, in consultation with stakeholders, determine the level of competency required for the inspection of specified types of amusement devices, and the level of competency required for the operation of specified amusement devices (including the potential need for formal licensing arrangements to apply in respect of certain categories of device), and that the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 be amended accordingly .

 

43.  The Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 be amended to require, for operators of amusement devices, a similar regulatory approach to that taken for operators of facilities which use, generate, handle or store hazardous materials. That is, for operators and facilities whose amusement devices collectively present a high risk, require preparation of a Safety Case (which includes a work health and

safety management system) and application of a licensing regime. For operators and facilities whose amusement devices collectively present a medium risk, require preparation of a work health and safety management system and application of a lower level licensing regime.

 

44.  WHSQ and the Work Health and Safety Board consider the level of resourcing necessary to address the increasing risk to the public from work activities, and ensure PCBUs, particularly in the tourism, services and health care and social assistance sectors, are complying with their section 19(2) duty to ensure the health and safety of others

Edited by Skeeta

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9 News did a story on it tonight:

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Queensland theme park owners and show ride operators will face some of the toughest penalties in the country for flouting safety rules under proposed industrial manslaughter laws.

Lawyers believe the prospect of 20 years behind bars and a $10 million fine might be just the key to preventing tragedies like last year's Dreamworld disaster in which four people died when the ageing Thunder River Rapids ride malfunctioned.

The government has flagged the new laws - which would make Queensland the second state or territory after the ACT to make industrial manslaughter a stand-alone offence - after a review of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) regulations.

The review revealed gaping holes in safety regulations for amusement rides, some of which were more than 30 years old, with poor training, insufficient maintenance and inadequate inspections earmarked for urgent attention.

It found forklift drivers required more specialist training than those entrusted to operate some of the most extreme rides, and that rides at theme parks, shows and fetes also required less stringent inspections than cranes.

Rod Hodgson from Maurice Blackburn Lawyers said the changes to the law would improve safety and was exactly the shake-up business owners needed.

 

http://www.9news.com.au/national/2017/08/23/05/22/new-laws-following-dreamworld-disaster?ocid=Social-9NewsGC

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Dax Eddy president of AALARA & General Manager of Jamberoo Action Park has blasted the Queensland Government on ABC radio.

Dax was angry worksafe never talked to AALARA while producing the "Best Practice Review of Workplace Health and Safety".

He also questioned the report and why it was written before the Queensland coroner inquest into the incident at DW had been finalised.

 

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I thought there was talk of a industry practice being established too, not just recommendations following workplace qld investigating the dreamworld incident?

All these links/articles are only state focused though.

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On 8/23/2017 at 9:48 AM, AlexB said:

Contrast this to a ride, where a typical operator is required to ensure guests are restrained according to manufacturer's recommendations (and in many cases, the ride system will not allow a dispatch until they are), and they then press 'dispatch' or similar.  Sure - more complex rides may need a bit more than that - but really - check seat belt, press green button is hardly comparable to that of a forklift operator.

So your right - for the most part the job doesn't require any special skills or knowledge. The thing is, when something does go wrong it's potentially life threatening or fatal. In these events maybe an adults experience, knowledge and common sense may be the difference between an incident or a near miss.

The problem as i see it thought, is how do you gain and retain these older staff. It's not most peoples dream job, and i can't see the park's having the budget to offer high enough salaries to actually attract people. It's also very seasonal and fluctuating work, they need a lot more staff during the busy periods, but not so much during the quiet ones. Most adults have fixed overheads - mortgages, families etc, they can't just stop working for 3 months over winter because the parks quiet. Think about a park like Adventure World - they're closed for a few months during which time they lay off majority of the staff and just have a skeleton team.

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Just a few points:

@Skeeta This bill is very broad and gives the government too much power to impose expensive and unnecessary regulations - specifically around licensing. Requiring adequately trained staff is one thing, and being able to produce training logs upon request is perfectly reasonable, but requiring a license - particularly when you're dealing with radically different rides from different manufacturers is just an absurd requirement.  The safety requirements for a ride like Arkham Asylum - with VR - is going to be very different to a carousel which has no restraints. As @elemist says, this would require a level of career professionalism and ongoing license training and renewal which is not really necessary.

Staff should have training and evacuation drills, but that is very different to licensing operators.  Licensing the staff who train operators is a reasonable requirement, but licensing the operators in a theme park setting is not - given the fixed nature of the rides.  There is an argument to be made about licensing for traveling ride operators.

Theme parks have an incentive not to kill their visitors.  Dreamworld has learned their lesson and everyone else has learned from it too.  It is not good for business to be slack on safety and maintenance.

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And staff DO have evacuation drills on at least a weekly basis. When I worked at VRL each ride was on a rotation for an evacuation drill once the park closed (say for example... Scooby was on Mondays and Wednesdays, west was on Tuesdays, Superman on Fridays etc). It is one thing I will more than happily speak volumes of and commend VRL when I worked there, and that was the training. Just to be signed off on scooby I had 2x morning sessions of 3 hours just doing evacuation drills, as well as a whole day (8am - 6pm) of training with another cast member before being signed off to operate the ride as well as regular refresher days.

 

IMO this licensing stuff is complete BS and isn't needed, constant training and monitoring however is and from my personal experience isn't an issue in the slightest at least with VRL. I can't comment on Ardent's training as I have not worked for them, but I'm fairly sure it would be pretty darn similar.

Also, the main people behind the control panels are actually supervisors and as Greg Yong stated in a video that all of the supervisors have been in the business for at least 12-24 months. They are all trained as cast members on each attraction they are signed off on first, before being allowed behind the main controls so they know all the in's and outs. I can sort of see why a license could be beneficial for them... but honestly, with the right training (which they receive) it's still IMO redundant. Just another way for the govt. to make even more money.

Edited by Spotty
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On 27/08/2017 at 1:46 AM, elemist said:

So your right - for the most part the job doesn't require any special skills or knowledge. The thing is, when something does go wrong it's potentially life threatening or fatal. In these events maybe an adults experience, knowledge and common sense may be the difference between an incident or a near miss.

In Australia, you're an adult at age 18. The parks do not have ride operators under the age of 18. Therefore, they already are adults.

My argument, of which you quoted a part, was that a person behind the controls of a forklift could really do anything with it (depending on the size\capacity) - drop a shipping container on a crowd, drive it at high speed into a building support column. I'm sure we've all seen the videos of forklifts in warehouses accidentally taking out a pallet racking system resulting in the entire warehouse collapsing onto itself - potentially deadly to anyone inside.

It's very different to a computer controlled ride that has clearance envelopes and operation limits that cannot be overridden. Yes, per the smiler accident, running something in maintenance \ manual mode and deliberately overriding safety systems is possible, but in general, most operators don't have that access, and require a maintenance override key, and few rides (other than coasters) make that sort of collision even possible.

The carousel example is a perfect one - these proposed laws would see someone operating a carousel required to undergo the same licensing and regulation that the taipan or crazy coaster operators would need - yet there is far higher chance (x1000) of an incident on those coasters than there ever would be on a carousel.

Its using a nuke to crack a walnut.

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2 hours ago, AlexB said:

Its using a nuke to crack a walnut.

'Something must be done!!  This is something, therefore, it MUST be done.'

The government will never miss an opportunity to raise taxes and impose regulations.

Accidents happen.  Burdensome and expensive regulatory regimes create a situation where businesses will cut corners which will lead to more accidents, not less.  And people become complacent trusting that the regulations will prevent all problems from happening - except for the one thing they overlooked.

The Airline industry is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the world from baggage handling, to security, to pilot training, to maintenance.  All of those people are licensed. Accidents still happen.

The cost of Dreamworld having to close for months - and the reduced park attendance when they re-opened - cost them far more than them improving their staff training and maintenance.  The financial incentive is already there.  No amount of government regulation is going to incentivise them more.

This report is a bunch of professional regulators recommending more regulation.

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6 hours ago, AlexB said:

In Australia, you're an adult at age 18. The parks do not have ride operators under the age of 18. Therefore, they already are adults.

My argument, of which you quoted a part, was that a person behind the controls of a forklift could really do anything with it (depending on the size\capacity) - drop a shipping container on a crowd, drive it at high speed into a building support column. I'm sure we've all seen the videos of forklifts in warehouses accidentally taking out a pallet racking system resulting in the entire warehouse collapsing onto itself - potentially deadly to anyone inside.

It's very different to a computer controlled ride that has clearance envelopes and operation limits that cannot be overridden. Yes, per the smiler accident, running something in maintenance \ manual mode and deliberately overriding safety systems is possible, but in general, most operators don't have that access, and require a maintenance override key, and few rides (other than coasters) make that sort of collision even possible.

The carousel example is a perfect one - these proposed laws would see someone operating a carousel required to undergo the same licensing and regulation that the taipan or crazy coaster operators would need - yet there is far higher chance (x1000) of an incident on those coasters than there ever would be on a carousel.

Its using a nuke to crack a walnut.

My point was not about what could be done accidentally/deliberately, but the mitigation and response when an incident occurs.

An older more experienced Fork Lift Operator is more likely to recognize an unsafe situation, or react quicker to an unfolding situation than a younger less experienced person. Whereas the younger operator may panic when a load becomes unstable, the more experienced person can and probably would take steps to mitigate the situation - maybe he lowers it immediately, so there's less distance for it to fall or maybe he steers away from the racking.

These are of course generalizations and there's exceptions on both sides. It's also worth mentioning younger people are generally more gung ho, where as older people tend to err more on the side of caution.

One common thing with accidents is there's rarely ever just one cause. There's a chain of events up to the incident occurring, and the immediate response after in occurring. In most accidents its the first response immediately afterwards that can determine whether people live or die.

 

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26 minutes ago, elemist said:

These are of course generalizations and there's exceptions on both sides. It's also worth mentioning younger people are generally more gung ho, where as older people tend to err more on the side of caution.

You made a very fair and valid point and then followed up with a very generalised stereotype that I can't agree with.

Many moons ago, in one of my very first jobs, I worked in a warehouse, and did my fork ticket. The 50 year old veteran was more gung ho, blase, and careless than I, the new, learner in my first job was. He constantly damaged product, and had it written off without a care in the world.

Yes there are gung ho in the younger demographic, but as you say, its a generalisation, and there's exceptions on both sides - so your 'worth mentioning' isn't really worth it, when it all boils down.

As for 'what they do when an incident occurs' - Ride operators have specific procedures to follow, regardless of their age. A typical response would be:

  1. E stop
  2. Call it in to command \ supervisor \ control
  3. Spiel to guests stuck on the ride to keep them calm
  4. wait for the cavalry.

A license, or age requirement, isn't really going to change that much, if at all.

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