Controls, responsibilities and simplifications25 August 2020
/ by Aldo Avancini /
Welcome back to Aldo Avancini, one of our contributors who stands out for his critical spirit and irony. Here are his thoughts on the Ministerial Decree of 18 May 2007.
As a premise for the considerations I am about to make, I should point out that in my opinion “certify”, or ‘certum facere’, implies that there is certainty about something, in a formal and above all documented way, with the official nature of the document written by a person with proven technical experience in the problems involving the sector and professional integrity that can be demonstrated and tested.
Although these days it is trendy to want to streamline bureaucracy, unfortunately there are still a series of rules officially aimed at guaranteeing the safety of attractions but that actually add controls to controls, each of which can become (and often becomes) a source of discussion and power plays. To avoid the usual misunderstandings and ideas such as “he doesn’t want controls, he’s putting the lives of children at risk!”, I should state straight away that the purpose of this article is to demand that the controls not only are made, but are made by professionals who are trained in the specific issues of rides and attractions, in such a way that, in the event of an accident, it is immediately clear who was wrong and where, and whether with malice or through stupidity.
I would like to focus your attention in particular on the Ministerial Decree of 18 May 2007 ‘Safety standards for travelling shows’ (OJ no. 136 of 14 June 2007). I intend to underline some of the fatal aspects (no, this it is not a mistake. I chose ‘fatal’ on purpose, meaning ‘irreparably harmful’).
The first aspect concerns correct information, which requires the concept of ‘single point of contact’, that is, the employee of company/organisation A only speaks to the employee of the company/organisation B, subsequently allowing these 2 contacts to internally distribute the content and problems based on the mutual responsibilities of the organisation and/or company. This is to prevent information from being spread via a thousand streams, making it in fact incomprehensible… always assuming that this is not the goal (the old adage “It’s a sin to think badly of someone, however …” still applies).
The second consideration concerns the dialogue, which in my opinion must take place between functions (not judging the people) that must roughly have the same technical level. The long discussion (90 minutes) on the colour of the neutral wire in electrical panels is now history, declared “blue” by the standards and rated “dark blue” by the technician in charge. I make public amends for my ignorance, and I say that I would like a sample of both, bearing in mind that the RAL codes were invented to make assessment of a colour objective (not subjective).
The third consideration is aimed at the technical preparation of the counterpart, so as to maintain considerations and assessments on the mere technical aspects of the attraction. The names don’t matter, but if the technician who sits opposite me is that owner of the combine harvester whose maintenance he is responsible for in the winter in preparation for summer, is it fair for me to have doubts about his specific knowledge of attractions? Or is he declared as an all-round “technician”?
The fourth consideration is perhaps the main one, that is, the Municipality must “verify the completeness and consistency of the documentation”, that is, verify that all of the required documentation is available, without however going into its merits! When I am often asked for the calculation report for situations evidently with very low probability of accidents and practically zero risk, my weapon is “OK, but sign that you have received it!”. And so many don’t sign. Maybe because by signing you become jointly responsible? But if you don’t want any responsibility, why not simply take note of the situation that has been certified (I repeat “made certain”) by the technician? Yet this responsibility is often heralded in support of the importance of one’s own function. So why the hesitation?
The best way to have someone responsible is actually much less complicated: suffice to say that upon opening to the public, in the event of an accident, the only person responsible is the technician (if the accident occurs due to defects inherent in the attraction) or the operator (if not having complied with the regulations for opening).
There is always talk of streamlining, simplification and so on, but in reality the real crux of the problem is that the authorities start with the assumption that there is always some hidden negative aspect or some subterfuge. But in my experience the exact opposite is true, that is, the attraction on first being checked is complete and correct, after which it enters the reality of the travelling show (but not only) where it is assembled and disassembled, awaiting the municipal technician who checks maybe 40 attractions in 3 hours!! And these numbers are quite realistic.
Lastly, I would like to underline how unfortunately such attitudes are not foreign even to inspectors of a certain fame. Unfortunately, regulations cannot foresee all the realities that the inspectors face, such as the lift of the underground attraction which in the event of an emergency must go up and not go down to reach an intrinsically safe position.
Until next time.
Taken from Games&Parks Industry Luglio/Agosto 2020, page 100
Ing. Aldo Avancini / Proposta Srl / firstname.lastname@example.org