Lessons from Dubai

Lessons from Dubai

23 March 2019 Off By Facto Edizioni

/ by Gianni Chiari /

Dubai Accreditation Center, an important organization in the amusement sector.

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

With the Dubai Entertainment Amusement & Leisure (DEAL) trade show to be held next month, I find it useful to talk about the important experience represented by DAC, the Dubai Accreditation Center.

It began in 2008 with recognition by the Dubai Accreditation Department, and the presentation on the department’s website gives an idea of its ambitious and advanced objectives:

Stemmed from its vision “We Accredit-World Recognize”, and for the purpose of regulating and enhancing the quality of the practices of Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) operating in the Emirate of Dubai, Dubai Accreditation Department (DAC) has been established in Dubai Municipality (DM) as per Administration Decision  38/2008. 

In 2013, one of my customers started talking about the DAC and what was happening in Dubai regarding control of rides. In particular, on the application of European standard EN 13814:2004 as the reference to verify the safety of amusement rides. At that time I was working on the “A ride for everyone” project on the accessibility to rides for people with disabilities and special needs. Both of these topics were very interesting and so I decided that they deserved to be examined in a one-day seminar, together with the Italian Association of Ride Manufacturers (ANCASVI), for discussion with the different players in the amusement sector in that area: manufacturers, parks, inspection/certification bodies and the authorities. Specifically, with the Municipality of Dubai, which had already started organising the accreditation of inspection bodies in the rides sector.

It was thus decided that I go to Dubai on behalf of ANCASVI to present the relevant aspects of the European safety standard EN 13814:2004 and the accessibility project.

A meeting was held on February 19, 2014, with excellent attendance by the public and the authorities, all at a high level. We talked a lot about accessibility for disabled people and I still remember that I was pleasantly surprised by the willingness and vision of those present. The participants showed considerable sensitivity and social responsibility, beyond my expectations. So much so that the debate on this topic was extended, and a number of interesting ideas and projects emerged.

After this I presented the European technical standard EN 13814:2004, its history and the application difficulties that existed (and still exist). Certainly this technical standard has changed the course of safety in the amusement sector. It is no coincidence that today as many as 43 countries use it as the reference for the safety of amusement rides, thus going far beyond the European Union. I focused on the contents, on the delicate points, on the application difficulties and in particular on inspection bodies. Being one of the historical members of the CEN/TC 152 technical committee, I was able to illustrate certain aspects of the European standard that are not so obvious or immediately evident.

It might seem contradictory, but in the European Union there is no agreement for mutual recognition of the certification of rides between member states. Every day in my work I experience the difficulty of different interpretations that the inspection and certification bodies apply to the same rides, creating considerable problems for manufacturers and parks.

Following was the presentation of the Municipality of Dubai by Mohamed Gad, who presented the DAC and its short- and medium-term objectives: a clear and interesting vision expressed in the DAC-REQ-16 Accreditation Requirements For Inspection Bodies Working In The Field Of Fairground And Amusement Equipment.

It was evident that Dubai was putting itself at the forefront internationally in the inspection and certification of rides. And this pleased me: something that I had personally proposed in the European Union (and not only) for years, and now Dubai was doing it!

When such important changes are made, some unexpected problems always occur. The speed at which things were moving was a matter of concern for all operators in the sector: firstly manufacturers, the parks themselves and then the inspection and certification bodies. 

It is this concern that I expressed to Mohamed Gad, and I remember he was not very happy that I had underlined these concerns. We agreed though to keep in touch and work together, exchanging experiences and impressions of how things were going.

Five years have since passed, and things are now consolidated. Several accredited inspection bodies are operating in Dubai, and the Emirate is a model that other Middle Eastern countries are using as an example.

From left to right: Eng. Mohamed Gad, Recreation Engineer, Amusement rides/devices Trainer, certified Auditor/Assessor, Dubai Municipality; Gianni Chiari, ANCASVI Technical Secretary; Eng. Ahmed Alnaqaz, Senior Safety Officer, Dubai Municipality; Eng. Hussein, Senior Safety Officer, Dubai Municipality and Paul Slater, former Health and Safety Director of Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) Group in MENA region and currently HSE director for GEMS group.

Another important aspect is the possibility of using either the European EN standard or the international ISO and ASTM standards. This offers more opportunities and has removed the technical barriers that unfortunately technical standards sometimes create.

The last major development that Dubai is carrying out is certification of the staff assigned to rides. In this field too, which involves many difficulties for various reasons, not least social ones, I am convinced Dubai will lead the way. 

Today, my colleague Mohamed Gad and I work together on the IAAPA EMEA Safety Committee, with other international experts, making our experience available to improve the already excellent safety of the amusement rides sector. 

Taken from Games&Parks Industry March 2019, page 78

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