Outcomes and outlook

Outcomes and outlook

17 December 2019 Off By Facto Edizioni

/ by Gianni Chiari /

End of the year considerations by Gianni Chiari.

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

So are we are approaching the end of 2019 and it is time to make some considerations about a year that has been full of innovations in the domain of safety standards.

I won’t delve into technical details or specific issues in this end-of-year article but I prefer to give an overview of what has been relevant this year, or at least, on what I consider relevant based on the activities I carry out in various technical committees, and based on the first-hand experience with manufacturers, parks, certification bodies and local authorities. 

This is a privileged position as I get to listen to the opinions of all parties involved. There is no doubt that there are problems, but often solutions are at hand, we just need to be aware that they exist and know where to find them.

2019 has been an important year for the amusement industry, if only for the new revised European Standard, the EN 13814:2019. After years of intense work, we got the ‘new standard ’ but we also got a 3-year extension for the ‘old’ 2004 version of the rule.

As was to be expected, considering this was a spontaneous choice of all member states, in many countries the new regulation has already superseded the 2004 standard. I found myself in the same situation a couple of times in the past and I hope there won’t be a third as it is frustrating to work hard for a smooth transition only to see that the efforts amount to nothing. For other countries, on the other hand, having 2 options makes life much easier without compromising safety.

The European CEN/TC 152 Technical Commitee, which drafted the new EN 13814:2019 standard, is also taking measures to avoid the problems experienced back in 2004. In particular, we are pondering the preparation of a technical report, which explains exactly and in detail how the new European standard should be interpreted and applied. We felt the need for such a document back in 2004 when the directions were often misinterpreted and caused problems with safety inspectors and even law enforcers.

It’s always surprising to learn about the ways in which a technical specification has been misinterpreted, especially when it led to a completely different reading of something that to us seemed perfectly unambiguous. 

I think and I hope that the planned technical report on the application of the European EN 13814:2019 standard will include images, concrete examples and detailed explanations about what to do and how to do for the implementation.  Our industry needs it.

There are many other international regulatory projects that are under development; among these is the ISO 17842 technical standard, which is basically the European framework but rewritten for global adoption. This technical standard too has been a work in progress for many years, but the completion is near. I believe we are on the right track to have an international framework about safety standards which will benefit the whole industry.

There are many experienced professionals who work tirelessly to improve safety in the amusement industry and I personally know many of them. They bring experience and skills to the table and do a valuable job. They most often volunteer their time and the reward for them is the opportunity to work with a team of excellent colleagues and to have made a contribution to the industry.

Another issue that we are working on an international level is the accessibility to the attractions for individuals with special needs. Occasionally we read articles about “discrimination” when a disabled person is for some reason refused access. It’s a terribly complex and delicate subject, but we want to address it and we’ll do our best to give everyone (or almost all) the opportunity to enjoy the experience that attractions and our parks have to offer. We will address this issue again very soon as it matters to all of us.

2020 will be a year full of commitments and expectations. There will be problems, as usual, but as our good French colleagues say: “There are no problems, only solutions.” It is with this spirit that we approach the new year, and we will do our best to make sure that everyone can have fun and be safe.

I wish you all a happy and peaceful 2020.

Taken from Games&Parks Industry December 2019, page 74

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