Humans are thrill seekers. We crave the sensation in a controlled way for amusement, for the rush and personal excitement. It has reflected in a host of ways, across the globe and throughout history. From the mindblowing Felix Baumgartner jump to the giant rollercoasters of the world’s many great parks. For individuals doing fantastic stunts, safety is mostly a private concern. For the amusement and theme park industry, however, safety is a different matter. The most important one and paramount in all that we do.
In this article, David Bromilow gives his account of the role of checklists in theme and amusement park operations. And we offer you a good example of a checklist and support document developed by one of our clients.
Making sure all systems are go takes a large amount of planning and resources. We asked safety and maintenance expert David Bromilow to give his perspective on checklists as a means for inspecting rides and attractions in amusement and theme parks.
– Today, amusement and leisure is witnessing the most unbelievable rides being engineered with unprecedented creative edge. The industry has evolved significantly during my time working within it over the last 35 years. Not only in engineering technology and meeting the requirements of the guests, but also in the way we maintain and operate our rides, David Bromilow says.
Automised checklist and work order management systems
The way in which parks manage safety, operations and maintenance checklist programs has also evolved from the early days of small top pocket engineer’s notebooks and chalkboard communications, to todays digitalised mobile checklist procedures and work order management systems.
A one size fits all generic paper checklist method was one of the first steps the industry made in a documented process and verification approach to ride and attraction pre-opening safety and maintenance checks.
One size may fit all when it comes to buying a scarf and often our behavior reflects our surroundings and changes accordingly but not in todays amusement and attraction industry and certainly not when it comes documentation programs and procedures.
Likewise, rides, attractions and their surroundings come in all shapes and sizes. Thus, the generic checklist life was short-lived as operators grasped this concept very quickly and realised the programs had to be more specific to the individual rides and attractions, and rationalised to incorporate daily, weekly, monthly and annual maintenance regimes and processes. These processes are often supported today by comprehensive independent safety and engineering inspection schemes often undertaken by an third party approved inspection body depending on the country of operation.
However, the generic checklist did help in the development of a structured and documented regime of maintenance and safety checks that we see today in the amusement industry.
So why do we use checklist programs?
The amusement industry operates in much the same way as many other industries do in operating highly technical equipment and mechanical machines. To ensure the machines, in our case rides and attractions operate at a high performance level with low downtime and high standards of safety, there has to be systems and schedules in place both routine and planned for checks, inspection processes and planed preventative maintenance regimes and protocols, Bromilow concludes.
With great fun, comes great responsibility. Opening the rides for guests is preceded by comprehensive workflows.
– Checklists ensure we follow a validated process in preparing, maintaining and operating rides and attractions, providing recorded verification of operational and safety systems and indeed recorded history of maintenance both planned and un-planned, he says.
Operating rides using checklists with the right content as a fundamental part of the pre-opening and operational program will go a long way in ensuring the rides are safe, reliable and correctly prepared for operational duties.
A typical example of a safety and maintenance ride and attractions checklist including a checklist support document
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