Towards a worldwide standard for ride safety

Towards a worldwide standard for ride safety

25 February 2020 Off By Facto Edizioni

/ by Gianni Chiari /

The exchange of skills and knowledge is always very valuable, also when it comes to ride safety regulations: the case of the ISO/TC 254 and CEN/TC 152 technical committees, which respectively developed the ISO 17842 and EN 13814:2019 standards.

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

ISO technical standards are by definition international. Since 2010, the ISO/TC 254 technical committee called ‘Safety of Amusement Rides and Amusement Devices’ has been working on drafting a technical standard on the safety of rides that is international in nature and that defines the state-of-the-art as recognised globally. When Russia, through Gost, launched an investigation to find out which countries were interested in the development of this international standard, work was already in progress on the revision of EN 13814:2004 at a European level. There was therefore a long discussion between European countries to decide how to respond to this interesting proposal so as to widen the technical boundaries well beyond CEN countries. We had been working on the revision of our European standard for years, and at the same time we had been collaborating with ASTM to harmonise the technical requirements on both sides of the Atlantic. 

Resources were limited and the question was: is a new ISO standard really necessary? Initially there were many doubts about the decision to be made by European technicians. It was a good and important opportunity to apply the experience acquired over the decades of preparation of the European standard at an international level. At the same time, the resources and energy needed to follow both the update of the European standard and the development of a new ISO standard would in fact have been practically double. There was also the possibility to make an ISO-CEN Vienna-agreement, which meant developing a single standard at the same time, instead of the ISO standard and the European CEN standard in parallel. All fairly complex scenarios and decisions that were not easy to make, also considering the intention to continue, or rather improve, harmonisation with the ASTM standard. 

In the end, the decision was made to join the ISO/TC 254 committee and at the same time continue to revise European standard EN 13814. In reality, there was a continuous exchange of technical requirements between the 2 standards, thus leading to alignment of the work. In essence, the 2 standards were influencing each other, with a significant improvement in content, also thanks to the ASTM technicians who were working with us. The Russian secretariat brought a development and a new focus on the biomechanical effects that rides have on passengers. I personally appreciated the collaboration of Russian scientists from the aviation and aerospace industry. They provided their great knowledge and experience to improve what was already the good contents of both the European and ASTM standards as regards accelerations and effects on passengers. 

Another important decision that was taken and that definitively influenced the new edition of the European standard was to divide the future ISO standard into 3 parts: design and manufacture, operation and use, inspection. In the end, after many years of discussions, it was decided to divide the standard into 3 parts so that each of the stakeholders had their own regulations. This had been a limitation in EN 13814 at the end of 2004. 

This was not the only change introduced by the new ISO/TC 254 committee. In fact, in addition to the 3 parts of the new ISO standard, which became ISO 17842, a fourth part was also drafted, published as ‘Technical Specification ISO/TS 17929’, that is, a document that after a certain period could develop into a technical standard. What was the reason for this choice? Its content was innovative, but it was better to leave it at an informative level.

In 2015, the ISO 17842 series standards were published, ‘overtaking’ EN 13814, which was still being discussed in Europe. It was all in all good, because it allowed the European committee to implement and improve the future European standard. In fact, in 2019 the European EN 13814 series standards were published in 3 parts, which improved some aspects of the ISO standard.

In recent months, the ISO 17842 series standards are being updated; this will be an opportunity to further improve points that are not yet fully understood in the new EN 13814:2019. This ‘ping-pong’ between the ISO and EN standards certainly required more energy, but allowed, in a series of steps, the contents to be improved and constant harmonisation with the ASTM technical standards.

What will the future be? As far as I’m concerned, the answer is simple: now having 2 ‘twin sister’ technical standards, the aim should be to have a single EN ISO technical standard, harmonized with ASTM. This would allow for globally-valid ride safety requirements, with great safety and industry benefits. 

Taken from Games&Parks Industry February 2020, page 76

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