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 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
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
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
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
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.
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