A study by Britain’s leading trade association for the leisure and entertainment industry highlights the high levels of safety recorded at the nation’s theme parks.
The research was carried out by BALPPA, the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions (BALPPA), a non-profit trade association, which represents the interests of owners, managers, suppliers and developers in the UK’s leisure parks and other family entertainment attractions.
The objective of BALPPA’s report is to provide an accurate assessment of the industry’s ride safety standards in order to provide members with a benchmarking facility and to continue to improve safety standards further within the industry.
Paul Kelly, BALPPA’s chief executive, spoke about the purpose and findings of the report.
“Our members operate within a series of strictly regulated and incredibly comprehensive safety protocols.
“We welcome this high level of regulation, which is among the most rigorous worldwide and regularly work with the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) in continuing to advance safety practices.
“However, our members also feel there is a lack of industry-wide data specific to ride safety which, combined with a very small number of high profile incidents, is having a damaging effect upon the industry’s reputation and the perceived standards of safety.
“Until now the statistical data available nationally to support our stance on safety is based upon Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) data held by the HSE.
“We believe this data can easily be misinterpreted in the context of ride safety as the numbers are for attractions as a whole and also include non-ride related slips, trips and falls, as well as incidents which occur within hotels, children’s playgrounds etc.
“The number of RIDDOR incidents also do not take into account the number of visitors to our attractions,” Kelly added.
In 2017, BALPPA commissioned a confidential safety survey of its members that operate amusement rides. The survey was intended to provide an accurate appraisal of ride safety in Britain’s entertainment attractions.
In 2018, 40 theme parks in the UK participated in the survey. It found that 63 injury incidents took place involving members of the public, an average of 1.6 per attraction. Less than half of these incidents were ride related.
“As an industry we take every single incident extremely seriously and continue to work tirelessly to further reduce risk wherever possible,” Kelly commented.
“This survey in no way aims to undermine or minimise the impact on those affected by the very few incidents that occur, however we do hope it will help to more accurately reflect the extremely high levels of safety within the industry and how it compares to other activities,” he added.