Select Committee on Work and Pensions Written Evidence

Memorandum submitted by the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions Ltd (BALPPA)

  The British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions Ltd (BALPPA) was formed in 1936 to represent the commercial interests of private sector amusement parks and piers. Today the membership includes many of the above but now also includes theme parks, zoos, safari parks, aquariums and other types of permanently sited visitor attractions. With over 300 members, including household names such as the British Airways London Eye, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Thorpe Park, London Zoo, Alton Towers, Chessington World of Adventures and SEA LIFE Centres the Association continues to act as the voice of private sector attractions.

  The health and safety of their employees and visiting members of the public are our Members first priority, a fact which is clearly illustrated by the excellent safety record achieved by the industry and its continuing endeavour to maintain this record.

  This submission will only address the questions for which the Association has knowledge and experience. It will primarily, but not exclusively, address the questions in relation to those of our Members who operate rides and other passenger carrying devices.


    —    Our general experience of the HSE has been largely positive.

    —    The merging of the HSC and HSE may prove positive if the outcome provides increased support for industry in the provision of financial resource for publishing industry specific safety guidance.

    —    Increased training for HSE inspectors to allow specialist sector teams has proven to be beneficial in our sector and would undoubtedly have a positive impact on safety in other industry sectors.

    —    We accept our responsibility for the safety of visiting members of the public; however more must be done by the regulators to educate the public in its role of personal responsibility.

1.   Are businesses given appropriate guidance by HSE on their obligations under health and safety law?

  Generally our experience has been positive, due to the manner in which the HSE has worked in partnership with our sector.

  For many years the amusement park and fairground sectors have benefited from the existence of the Fairground Joint Advisory Committee (FJAC) chaired by the HSE and supported by all trade associations, whose members operate in the sector. (See Appendix A for list of Members).

  This body meets annually and examines safety statistics and issues which impact on the safety of employees and members of the public. Its efforts are recognised by all concerned as a principal component in the continuing drive towards reducing accidents and improving the safe environment for employees and members of the public.

  The beneficial effect of the guidance received from the HSE is further evident from the following example.

  In 2001, following a cluster of fatal fairground accidents, the Health & Safety Commission briefed Paul Roberts, HM Principal Safety Inspector, to review the health and safety practices of the industry in order to identify areas for improvement. His report, known colloquially as the Roberts Report, (see Appendix B), produced a number of recommendations for the industry to address. The industry's immediate response was to form a new body, to be known as the Amusement Device Safety Council (ADSC), and consisting of all the trade associations who met under the auspices of FJAC to address the issues raised by Roberts.

  The HSE agreed to chair the ADSC until such times as the industry proved able to self-manage the Council, address various safety issues and achieve independent accreditation (one of Roberts's recommendations).

  The Council's first project was to take over the management of the Amusement Device Inspection Procedure Scheme (ADIPS), previously managed by NAFLIC. (See Appendix A). This allowed the Inspection Bodies to be registered by a body which was independent of the inspectors. The Scheme contains various components, including independent annual ride inspections by inspection bodies registered via the Scheme. All the member associations of the ADSC signed up to the Scheme, making compliance mandatory for their membership. The Scheme is financed by the Members and now employs three staff, who administer the scheme from an office in Sunderland.

  Accreditation for ADIPS was achieved via ISO 9000 in 2005 and from this date the ADSC has been totally managed by the sector associations and the role of the HSE reduced to that of observer/advisor at all meetings.

  The impact of ADIPS, on the industry's safety record, since its introduction in 2001, is best illustrated by the following graph, which tracks the accident rate to employees and members of the public over the last 10 years.

  These statistics are produced by the HSE from mandatory returns submitted by the industry via RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations).

  (See Appendix C for tables)

  A further urgent action of the ADSC, due to a restriction on HSE funding for publications, was to finance and publish a major guidance document, Safety of Amusement Devices: Design, which advises Designers, Manufacturers and operators on the essential requirements for a new ride to achieve compliance with UK Health & Safety law. This has proved particularly beneficial in advising operators when they are purchasing rides from outside the UK.

  The next publication, currently under production, is Advice on Inspection, which will assist both operators and independent ride inspectors to prepare and complete annual ride inspections in accordance with ADIPS requirements.

  The HSE was consulted and advised on these publications which have helped to clarify the legal complexities of Acts and Regulations.

2.   Does the HSE have sufficient resources to fulfil its objectives as the health and safety regulator and meet its PSA targets?

  Are there areas of HSE'S operations that require additional investment?

  Our response addresses both questions and relates to our experience following the formation by the HSE of the National Fairground Inspection Team (NFIT).

   In his review, and based on input from the industry, Roberts recognised the importance of sector-specific, specialist knowledge and consequently recommended that the HSE address the issues of HSE Inspectors relying only on general H&S experience when investigating and advising amusement park and fairground operators. The industry considered that expecting an inspector, whose responsibilities included all sectors of Industry, to understand and appreciate the safety issues involving major rides and the general public, was unreliable and occasionally led to avoidable, and often misguided, conflict of opinion. Following its own investigations, the HSE response was the formation of the NFIT, a move applauded by the industry and which proved a significant step in improving communication between the two parties.

  There has been no evidence of a reduction in diligence on behalf of the HSE since the formation of the NFIT.

  Consequently we would not recommend a reduction in the present HSE resource; conversely, based on our experience, an increase would seem appropriate, to allow the formation of similar teams for other sectors of Industry.

  Finally, we would submit that much needs to be done to encourage the general public to observe safe practice, particularly when away from the workplace. Under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, employees are required to act safely and responsibly to protect themselves and colleagues from potential harm. However, no such requirement currently exists for those same people when enjoying leisure pursuits. Our industry is exemplary in providing safety instructions in various forms for its visitors, but cannot enforce such instructions by reference to law. The addition of such reference would strengthen the enforcement of safety in our member's premises and encourage safer behaviour in our visitors.

  In countries where such law exists, the USA is an example, signage and verbal instructions carry a reference to the law and allows operators to emphasise the personal responsibility of those using rides.

  We proposed the inclusion of such references in the Compensation Act, but unfortunately this was not accepted, as the Government considered that the Courts were suitably advised of the option to reduce personal injury claims by a factor, where there was contributory negligence.

  We maintain that this is not productive in encouraging safer behaviour and in preventing accidents,—it merely apportions blame after an incident.

  We hope the this submission is of assistance to the Committee in it's deliberations.


January 2008

YearAccidents to Members of the Public

YearAccidents to Employees

YearAccidents to Members of the Public Accidents to EmployeesTotal
1997432164 596
1998429190 619
1999398115 513
2000464128 592
2001304124 428
2002169199 269
200310057 157
200414470 214
200511954 173
200610666 172

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