Safety Remains Top Priority for IAAPA EMEA
The global attractions industry has always championed safety. Progress made across the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region in 2023 underlines that commitment.
Peter van der Schans, executive director and vice president of IAAPA EMEA, and Emmanuel Calderara, IAAPA EMEA Safety Subcommittee chair and safety and risks prevention director at Disneyland Paris, look back at a successful 2023 and what’s ahead in 2024.
What were IAAPA EMEA’s safety achievements in 2023?
Peter van der Schans: At IAAPA, we continue to invest our efforts in analyzing ride safety results with the annual IAAPA European Ride Safety Report (ERSR). We have more than a decade of experience preparing this report, making us a trusted authority on industry safety.
IAAPA EMEA’s Safety Subcommittee uses this data to identify trends. We turn this knowledge into reports and white papers to help members continuously enhance their safety practices. In addition to sharing safety statistics, the document highlights what facilities have learned and changed after incidents.
In 2024, we introduce more editions of the safety reports, covering different markets and sectors. We are excited to publish our first Middle East Ride Safety Report in January 2024. This new report is an example of IAAPA’s commitment to this fast-developing part of our region. In the future, we will add ride safety reports in other constituencies, including water parks.
In spring 2023, we held a safety presentation for the first time during the IAAPA Middle East Trade Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The expert-led panel shared insights from the European Ride Safety Report with the audience. The event was well received.
Overall, in 2023, IAAPA’s EMEA region engaged and supported more than 600 industry peers through a variety of safety programs and resources. We achieved a 50% increase in our safety related activities compared to 2022, and participation rose by 85%.
Why is IAAPA’s European Ride Safety Report important? And how can IAAPA members play their part in future surveys?
Emmanuel Calderara: The European Ride Safety Report provides factual, accurate, long-term safety data. With this anonymous data, we can reinforce the outstanding safety record of the attractions industry.
In 2023, 119 individual sites participated in the report covering 2022. Safety is the top priority for IAAPA, so it is vital that each member anonymously share their safety results to maintain the integrity of this important report. Member and nonmember contributions guide the safety subcommittee’s work, which in the end, can benefit the entire industry. Also, the ERSR helps us identify additional opportunities for park operators, manufacturers, and suppliers to improve safety.
How is IAAPA EMEA’s Safety Subcommittee supporting the industry?
Emmanuel Calderara: IAAPA EMEA’s Safety Subcommittee unites park operators, manufacturers, and suppliers from across Europe and the Middle East with a shared goal. Together with the IAAPA team, we want to promote, support, and continuously improve safety in our industry.
We raise awareness for the existing work and available resources around safety. We are creating a series of safety white papers to provide guidance for the industry. These build on attractions’ safety practices and standards and the expertise of manufacturers and suppliers. In 2024, we will publish three new white papers co-written by subcommittee members. These will focus on how attractions can improve ride accessibility, safely managing ride restricted areas, and manufacturer training.
What were the highlights of IAAPA Expo Europe from a safety perspective?
Emmanuel Calderara: We welcomed more than 80 attendees to Safety Day at IAAPA Expo Europe 2023 in Vienna. We also expanded our safety-related events.
Attendees could meet IAAPA EMEA’s Safety Subcommittee experts in the new Safety Corner inside the IAAPA Member Lounge, where they could have quiet conversation and get answers to their questions.
We introduced the IAAPA Safety Exchange, an invitation-only meeting for senior safety and technical representatives. This gathering provided an opportunity for operators, manufacturers, and suppliers to have confidential discussions about important safety issues. We hosted roundtables on topics including managing communications after an incident, containing guest behavior to prevent accidents, and implementing ride safe changes. The two-hour event provided a safe place for safety professionals to speak openly and learn from each other.
We had 42 attendees from Europe and the Americas and received very positive feedback.
In 2024, we want to continue our exchange with IAAPA members and will bring Safety Corner back to IAAPA Expo Europe 2024 in Amsterdam.
What can we expect from IAAPA EMEA on safety in 2024?
Peter van der Schans: We will start with the Middle East Ride Safety Report. We plan to present the results at a safety EDUSession during the IAAPA Middle East Trade Summit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (January 22-24, 2024).
We will launch Safety Month in the first quarter of 2024. The initiative will include three webinars, expanding on our three new safety white papers. IAAPA members can also join us for a live chat—similar to our in-person Safety Corner. The online event will be open to anyone interested in safety, regardless of their experience. Members can meet the EMEA safety subcommittee, find out more about what they do, and learn how to participate in IAAPA’s safety-related activities.
The safety subcommittee already draws on diverse voices from France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, the U.K., Saudi Arabia, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Finland, and we aim to build on that. We want to show that our doors are always open to members wherever and whenever they need us.
IAAPA members can now download the latest European Ride Safety Report. Please log into IAAPA.org to gain access.