Effective Improvements to Safety Management Systems
Safety is the No. 1 priority of the global attractions industry, which is why safety management systems (SMS) are important to maintain and update regularly. Funworld spoke to some experts on suggestions for effective SMS operation and improvements.
Conduct an SMS Audit
One of the best ways facility operators can guarantee their properties’ SMS is working properly is to conduct an audit of its policies and procedures to spot any areas that could be improved. This should include comparing the SMS against the latest information provided by ride and attraction manufacturers to ensure that all monitoring, maintenance, and operating procedures are up to date.
“Every now and then, you may wish to have a third-party expert come in to review your SMS from a fresh point of view,” says David Bromilow, global director of parks and attractions with Mobaro and chairman of the IAAPA EMEA Safety Subcommittee. “Never be afraid of bringing in third parties to take a look at how you’re doing, and don’t be afraid of any changes that they might suggest.”
Provide Staff with Solid Training
Once an SMS is fully updated, the next step is to make sure that staff follow it to the letter—whether during morning equipment prechecks prior to opening, running rides and managing guests during the day, or shutting down operations for regular servicing and maintenance.
“Looking at incidents in the last few years, these numbers could easily be reduced by strictly following up all the safety protocols for the maintenance and operations of amusement rides and devices at all times,” says Romee Popelier, owner of ride design and engineering firm RP Rides.
To maximize safety, employees need to be thoroughly trained and tested on SMS procedures.
“In particular, seasonal businesses have to have very good occupational health and safety (OHS) orientation programs in place,” says Catherine Bergeron, health and safety consultancy services manager with Peninsula Canada, a human resources and safety management consulting firm. “Most workers during the peak season are new and young workers. It is important to ensure they understand their rights and responsibility in terms of OHS and give them thorough training so they can perform their jobs safely.”
Automate the SMS
An SMS can have a complex structure since it has the ability to touch on all aspects of facility operations. This is why it makes sense to replace paper checklists—which have to be reviewed, cross-referenced, and filed—with an automated, computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) that puts everything on an integrated, easy-to-use digital platform accessible on smartphones, tablets, and computers.
When it comes to safety management, Mobaro’s CMMS allows employees to record all of their inspections and tasks on one digital platform.
“You can enhance your SMS by attaching the relevant digital policies, procedures, and equipment/operational manuals to the system for easy access,” Bromilow says. “You can also attach digital photos and videos to the system, and staff can attach their own as they inspect your equipment daily.”
Bromilow also places emphasis on the ease with which the system operates.
“Say I’m on top of a roller coaster and I’m checking a brake unit, and I need to know if the pad thickness is supposed to be 3 millimeters or 6 millimeters,” he says. “I can hit an icon on my tablet, and it’ll take me straight into the manufacturer’s manual, showing me that brake unit and its specifications. I don’t have to guess; The correct answer is right there.”
Seek Out Information Sources and Education
Attractions can turn to industry resources and organizations for assistance on developing their SMS practices.
“Our industry offers plenty of sources through IAAPA, ASTM, AIMS or CEN, where parks can find all necessary information related to (ride) safety,” Popelier explains. “As well, most ride manufacturers have great safety experts available to assist parks with their questions or help with safety-related issues. And besides ride manufacturers, there are plenty of industry experts across the globe that do consulting work to assist parks.”
IAAPA provides a wide range of SMS information through sessions at its various trade shows, courses through the IAAPA Safety Institute, and an online self-administered SMS evaluation test, known as the Facility Excellence Tool.
“Education like this, along with open communications about safety between amusement park/attraction operators worldwide, are two of the biggest strengths in this industry that have really come to the fore over the last 10-15 years,” Bromilow says.