Update April 2011
Following the article by Bill Newton Dunn MEP in the Parliament Magazine and our reply in the next edition, IAAPA Europe met ANEC to discuss the organisation's concerns in more detail. ANEC describes itself as the European consumer voice in standardisation and was closely involved in the drafting of Mr Newton Dunn's article.
It was a constructive meeting. ANEC expressed their interest in working together with IAAPA in promoting safety messages to the European institutions. They were also very supportive of the current initiative to revise the 2004 European standard on amusement park safety and encouraged IAAPA to seek liaison (ie observer) status on the CEN technical committee dealing with 'fairground and amusement park machinery and structures' [CEN is the European standardisation body].
Update February 2011
The European standards on fairground and amusement park machinery have been the subject of questions recently in the European Parliament. They were also raised during the debate at the CEN meeting in December.
Consumer bodies have been calling for European legislation on amusement park safety, saying that the current standards offer inadequate protection to park visitors. Prominent among these bodies is ANEC, an organisation which says it "defends consumer interests in the process of standardisation and certification".
Two MEPs, Bill Newton Dunn and Mary Honeyball, have tabled written parliamentary questions on the issue too, and Mr Newton Dunn has had an article published in the 24th January issue of the Parliament Magazine, a periodical specialising in European affairs.
The statements made by ANEC draw on accident statistics published in a 2005 EC review of best practice in fairgrounds and amusement parks. The quality of these statistics is, however, brought into question by the review itself which hints strongly at the unreliability of some of the sources used. Please read here the answer of IAAPA Europe, published in the Parliament Magazine.
This is clearly an issue to watch over the weeks and months ahead. Consumer safety is one of the sector's top priorities, if not THE top priority. IAAPA Europe will monitor developments, taking the necessary action to represent the interests of its members to the relevant institutions.
In December 2004 the first European standard on amusement park safety EN 13.814 Fairground and amusement park machinery and structures – safety was published. The standard was drawn up by the Technical Committee CEN/TC 152 with representatives from the amusement ride industry, government entities and consumers.
EN 13.814 specifies the minimum requirements necessary to ensure the safe design, calculation, manufacture, installation, maintenance, operation, examination and testing of both temporary and permanent amusement devices. The standard will be reviewed and revised in 2009 to keep it up to date with the latest technologies.
EN 13.814 is one of a series of safety standards worldwide, all aiming at creating the safest rides possible for both guests and ride-operators.
In the United Kingdom the standard Safety of amusement devices: Design by the Amusement Device Safety Council is one of the foundations for the British ride safety system under HSG175 Fairgrounds and amusement parks: Guidance on safe practice.
In Germany, DIN 4112 Temporary Structures primarily focuses on the design and calculations of amusement rides.
In the US, ASTM International, an independent standards-writing body based in the US, constantly evaluates and revises ride safety standard developed under the F-24 committee, which consists of representatives from the industry and consumers. The ASTM standards are now also being used several places outside the US.
It is the ambition of IAAPA over time to facilitate the harmonization of the national and regional standards into one, international standard, securing the highest possible safety standard worldwide.