EN 13814:2004, from the past to the future

EN 13814:2004, from the past to the future

20 October 2018 Off By Facto Edizioni

/ by Gianni Chiari /

Starting this month, our ‘Safety First!’ section will be enriched by the contribution of Gianni Chiari, member of a number of international technical committees on the safety of attractions.

Gianni Chiari /  Member of CEN/TC 152, ASTM F 24, ISO/TC254 Technical Committees 

This article is the first in a series of reviews and information on the European standard for the safety of amusement park attractions. The EN 13814:2004 standard is now widely used throughout the world as a good technical reference for the design, construction and inspection of attractions.

I think I am one of the last, if not the very last, of the technicians who founded the European Committee CEN/TC 152 back in 1989 and is still an active part of it today. In actual fact, work on this started in Italy even earlier, in 1986, when a group of manufacturers of rides and technicians from the sector met at a trade show in Modena to discuss how to prepare an Italian technical standard. While work was getting started on developing this Italian technical standard, it was also decided that it was time to prepare one at a European level. Initially, attractions were covered by the famous machinery directive, but then in Europe it was decided to exclude them from this directive. Despite this, however, the European Commission assigned the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) the task of preparing a technical standard on the safety of attractions. This was standardisation mandate number M/233. 

Work thus commenced with a first meeting in London in 1989 (the United Kingdom had been allocated the committee secretariat at the time). A few years later, given the lack of progress and the many problems, the United Kingdom decided to resign from its role as the European secretariat. There was thus the risk of losing the work done until then, and so the Italian association of manufacturers (ANCASVI) decided to take over the European secretariat, in collaboration with the Italian standardisation organisation (UNI). I remember that this was not an easy choice, the costs were high, it was a major commitment, and the association did not have adequate resources. Despite this, work at a European level continued under our guidance. The road was hard from the outset, and full of obstacles, as every European country believed it offered a valid solution. In particular, Germany, with its famous DIN 4112 standard, believed that it was not necessary to go beyond what this standard already contained, and indeed that this should be adopted directly at European level. I will not dwell on boring details and technicalities, however it took 15 years of hard work, numerous discussions and many trips throughout Europe to achieve what is still the reference technical standard in 43 countries, that is, well beyond the number of CEN and European Union member states.

Today, the new edition, EN 13814:2019, is about to be published. Finally the European standard has been updated and has been divided into 3 parts: design and construction, operation and maintenance, inspection and certification. Each stakeholder in the sector finally has a dedicated part: manufacturers, parks and inspection bodies. 

Another important aspect to note is that the old edition from 2004 will remain in force, in parallel with the new edition to be published in 2019. This will continue for a period of 3 years, until 2021, thus allowing a ‘soft’ transition between the old edition and the new one, between the old safety criteria and the new requirements that the state-of-the-art requires today. 

One last mention of an activity that concerns parks considerably: OURA, i.e. Operation and Use Risk Assessment. This is a new name for an activity that parks have always performed: to analyse and document the safety of attractions when they are operating. In future articles we will analyse more in depth what actually lies behind this acronym. We will also describe the progress that has been made in the international harmonisation of technical safety standards for attractions. A lot of efforts have been made since 2010 in trying to align the technical aspects of very different regulations. This began between Europe and the United States, and ended in successfully harmonising the European EN and American ASTM standards.

This is just a brief overview of what we’re going to discuss in the coming articles, a technical story that has lasted 29 years and that is not over yet. See you next time.

Taken from Games&Parks Industry October 2018, page 106

Gianni Chiari /  Member of CEN/TC 152, ASTM F 24, ISO/TC254 Technical Committees and “Una Giostra per Tutti” project manager.  info@technicalservices.it