The 3 Most Important Standards for Amusement Rides and Devices

Brendan Sweeney

After a seemingly endless winter amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, amusement parks are eagerly awaiting a flood of guests looking to escape the reality of the world with family and friends. At the same time, ASTM International’s committee on amusement rides and devices (F24) has been hard at work developing and revising standards to help make sure these amazing experiences are as safe as possible.

Franceen Gonzales, executive vice president, WhiteWater West and chair of F24, said of the upcoming year, “We are very optimistic for the 2021 season as parks begin to reopen and are heartened by the commitment to safety as a pillar in the success of our business. As these types of venues re-emerge from shutdowns, our standards are more relevant than ever.” The committee on amusement rides and devices consists of roughly 1,200 members globally and is responsible for 24 standards.

Here are three of the committee’s most significant standards according to Gonzales, which have been re-approved for the upcoming year.

1) Standard Terminology Relating to Amusement Rides and Devices (F747)

To help streamline discussions on standards in the amusement rides sector, this specific standard creates a repository of terms approved by the committee to be used as effective communication tools. 

2) Standard Practice for Ownership, Operation, Maintenance, and Inspection of Amusement Rides and Devices (F770)

Safety is the top priority when it comes to amusement rides. This standard provides general guidelines for the operation and maintenance of rides and devices to be performed by the owner. 

3) Standard Practice for Design of Amusement Rides and Devices (F2291)

Covering everything from go-karts and bumper cars to water slides and bumper boats, this standard involves all that goes into designing larger mechanical rides, establishing a set of guidelines for this purpose to ensure functionality and safety.

In addition to these critical standards, there are several new standards making their way through development by the committee.

New Practice for Managing the Lifecycle of Amusement Rides and Devices (WK67624)

As rides age, they need constant maintenance and spare parts. This standard will provide owners and operators with guidelines on devices and when they may be nearing the end of their lifecycle, as well as how to asses their usefulness as spare parts for other, similar devices.

Standard Practice for Risk Assessment & Risk Reduction for Amusement Rides and Devices (WK60829)

This standard aims to put ride analysis at the forefront of the standardization process, adding more opportunities for owners to verify the safety and assess risks in their devices.

New Practice for Body Flight/Indoor Skydiving (WK70227)

With the recent explosion of amusement experiences having to do with body flight or indoor skydiving, standards are needed to ensure patron and employee safety. This standard would set a baseline for both portable and permanent attractions to reduce potential hazards.

2020 was not an easy year, and all of us could probably use some fun with family and friends at local amusement parks this summer. Thanks to the standards being created and updated by the committee on amusement rides and devices, we can all enjoy these amusements a little more safely. 

Brendan Sweeney is ASTM’s spring 2021 intern in global policy, cooperation, and communications.

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