Rides at Queensland's major theme parks, along with those at fairs and carnivals, are set to face a new set of strict safety standards following the deaths of four people at Dreamworld in 2016.
New regulations have been drafted that will require all parks to implement comprehensive safety management systems, and all ride operators to undergo competency training. The state's parks will also face stringent record keeping requirements, and more frequent and intensive inspections.
The ongoing coronial inquest into the Dreamworld tragedy heard in June that Dreamworld was operating under an 'archaic' safety system with not enough dedicated OHS professionals to run the park's health and safety effectively (see related article).
Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said Work Health and Safety (Amusement Devices – Public Safety) Amendment Regulation 2018 would now be put to the coroner investigating the Thunder River Rapids tragedy for feedback, before hopefully being in place by the end of the year.
“Mandatory training and competency requirements will mean every amusement and theme park ride in Queensland will be operated by a person who has been properly trained and assessed as competent,” Ms Grace said.
“This means amusement rides at our big theme parks right down to a local show or fairs will be subject to major and comprehensive inspections every ten years, unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer.”
Ms Grace said these inspections may involve completely stripping down a ride to ensure its integrity, including the removal of paint and grease.
“These mandatory checks will be on top of our existing inspection and testing regime, which includes annual inspections and regular maintenance inspections,” she said.
Ms Grace said Queensland’s major theme parks will also be required to develop a comprehensive and integrated plan for managing safety.
“These plans will detail every aspect of park safety, from ride inspection details, to training of operators, to detailed risk assessments, to emergency plans and everything in between"
The Government is also considering developing a WHS Code of Practice to support the regulations.