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Copyright Showmen’s Guild Yorkshire.
Public Safety has always been at the forefront of the operation of travelling Fun fairs in the UK, run by members of the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain and now the new systems recently implemented by the Guild do more to ensure this high standard than ever before. Virtually all travelling Funfairs – some 200 per week between Easter and Bonfire night – are operated by members of the Showmen’s Guild, the body that has been overseeing this traditional entertainment for well over 100 years. In this time, the rides and attractions have had to become ever-more technologically thrilling, to capture the imagination of an increasingly sophisticated and demanding public. Equally, in a bid to head off competition from the growing number of static theme parks and other burgeoning entertainments, the members of the Showmen’s Guild have invested heavily in state of the art adventure rides manufactured in the UK and from abroad. In parallel with this investment, a close and successful working relationship with the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has been forged since that body’s involvement in the industry in 1979. The 1984 “Code of Safe Practice on Fairgrounds) (COSP) was the launch point for the HSE-led initiative with the Showmen’s Guild and similar trade bodies, that culminated in the Joint Advisory Committee (JAC). Moving from meeting on an annual basis, the JAC spawned more frequent sub-committees on specific safety aspects with 17 Guidance Notes produced on a variety of rides from Dodgems to Roller coasters. Qualified Safety engineers, responsible for the annual testing and inspection of all equipment, have had their own body: the National Association for the Leisure Industry Certification (NAFLIC) represented on the JAC. Now named the Fairground Joint Advisory Committee (FJAC), this body has 50 advisory members and is administered from the HSE’s Glasgow office. It introduced the Amusement Device Inspection Procedures System (ADIPS). In 2002 there was the additional introduction of the ADIPS DOCS bureau in Sunderland, which, as its name suggests, logs all paperwork for all rides and annual inspections that take place, to ensure strict implementation of all safety procedures and correct recording of them for everyone’s peace of mind. The inspections that this administration covers are wide-ranging, with everything from electrical to pneumatic tests included. The Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain is also a constituent member of CEN TC152 – a European Standards Committee, which has compiled an EU wide standard on the safe operation of Fairground equipment. In this way, all rides are checked rigorously and regularly, the operators have better advice on safe operation, and the standards to work to are easier to understand, to police and to implement by authorities and operators alike nationwide. There is now more certainty about the safety procedures that are in place to demonstrate the high standards that Guild members work to. Whilst the Guild is always vigilant, the figures continue to speak for themselves: the industry gives approximately 305 million passenger rides throughout the year, which translates to every man, woman and child in the UK enjoying Fairground rides six times annually. The HSE calculate that the risk of being injured on a Fairground ride at 0.0000278 per cent, is a safety record of which any passenger ride industry would be proud. However, on the rare occasion of an accident, there is a full investigation with the wholly independent HSE and the necessary measures are automatically taken to solve the problem.
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