New rides rules issued for the Canadian province of Alberta

Last week, the Canadian province of Alberta announced it was implementing new rules to further enhance amusement ride safety within the province presumably for both permanent and mobile rides. The new rules were developed as a result of the provincea��s investigation into a Scorpion ride accident on July 16, 2010, at the Calgary Stampede.

By Greg Van Gompel

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According to the news release issued by the Alberta government, rides in the province will be subject to the following five actions as a direct result of the Scorpion ride investigation:

  • owners must retain on-site inspection reports from all jurisdictions in which an amusement ride has operated for five years;
  • owners must complete an owner and Alberta Safety Codes Officer checklist for each ride;
  • once a ride deficiency is detected, owners must confirm the ride manufacturer has evaluated the information and reported findings to the owner and Safety Codes Officer;
  • if metal fatigue is detected on a ride, independent non-destructive testing will be conducted on the entire ride and repairs made to any defects; and,
  • older rides would be considered for additional comprehensive non-destructive testing.

While the industry is behind any rules that will maintain ride safety requirements, in reviewing this amusement ride safety in alberta canadarelease I have a few thoughts and comments and would be interested to hear your thoughts as well.  What happens if a ride is loaned out to another show to enhance that show’s ride lineup?  Does the owner then need to give the lessee inspection reports for the last 5 years?  Will lessee’s be required to give a copy of all inspection reports back to the owner?  Once a ride deficiency is detected (in Alberta only I assume), the information must be forwarded to the ride manufacturer but is that for any deficiency?  How is a deficiency defined?  What if the ride manufacturer is no longer in business, what happens? 

Ride manufacturers now have an affirmative duty to report findings to the ride owner and the Alberta Safety Codes Officer.  What happens if it takes the ride manufacturer excessive time to respond to the owner and Safety Codes Officer on the ride deficiency information?  Will the ride be closed until the information is delivered?  Will the ride manufacturer now be liable for lost revenue for such failure to quickly respond the deficiency notices?  Ride owners and insurers may need to review their contracts for rides that go into Alberta to cover the possibility that some of these contingencies may not be able to be met in time. 

It seems to me that the new rules infer that owners and for that matter, manufacturer of rides that go into Alberta may want to keep some form of digitized inspection reports of the rides to make compliance with the new rules easier.  These rules are certainly something to keep an eye on as we approach the 2011 operating season.