Ride Operator Training
Amusement parks provide one of the safest recreational activities for the public. Properly trained ride personnel are an important part of providing guests with a fun and safe visit.
The amusement park industry uses formalized policies, procedures, and programs for operations, including in the area of training park personnel.
Employees are trained using procedures established by the facility working together with manufacturers and insurers, and in accordance with relevant public laws.
IAAPA provides training products, including education sessions, webinars, manual, videos, and safety seminars and workshops where the latest standards and techniques are shared and discussed.
Information from other industry groups and advisory bodies like ASTM International are used. These processes are constantly documented, standardized, practiced, and upgraded.
Front-line personnel are screened for important characteristics; such as the polite but firm assertiveness needed to ensure that ride rules are followed. This deliberate and sequential manner extends to staff development. Staff instruction begins before training to be operators as admission or loading attendants and continues to operators of simple rides who are brought along step-by-step before graduating to more complex rides.
Training is on a continual basis and includes: operations, admissions, ride systems, accessibility for guests with disabilities, maintenance, and emergency procedures.
Amusement ride operators receive training through “hands-on” instruction with more experienced staff, case studies, structured drills, group discussions, and/or seminar presentations.
Facilities document and validate the training.
Parks and attractions work with manufacturers and others to develop a range of manuals, checklists, and logbooks in establishing an operational program for each amusement ride. Only after employees earn the required authorization through this training process are they then permitted to staff an amusement ride.
Trained and qualified ride operators and attendants are only one element in a facility’s total safety program. Together with a ride’s redundant safety and operational mechanisms that reduce the likelihood of staff error, various daily internal checks, and one or more outside inspections, front-line personnel help make amusement rides one of the safest forms of recreation available to the public.
Through “Guest Relations” offices, signage, and verbal directions, parks work to enlist their visitors as partners in enjoying rides safely and correctly.
Age of Amusement Ride Operators
IAAPA is aware of no data linking younger amusement ride personnel to a higher rate of amusement ride incidents for either guests or staff.
Amusement ride operator training and experience is key – not age or other arbitrary criteria.
29 states have a law to set a minimum age for amusement ride personnel, and three more have established other employee requirements for these staff.
Amusement parks and attractions have formalized and validated training procedures, and only after employees earn the required authorization through this training process are they permitted to staff an amusement ride.
Amusement ride staff are complemented by numerous other safety practices, and a small percentage of incident are caused by either staff or mechanical error.
In most states at 16, young adults are eligible to drive, lifeguard, and hunt – compelling evidence that 16 is an equally appropriate age to work as amusement ride staff.
By federally limiting amusement ride personnel to 18 and older, this equates such work with manufacturing explosives, coal mining, sawmilling, handling radioactive substances, and demolition operations. There is a big difference between staffing an amusement ride and those activities.