In summer we want to spend more time outdoors, and if not on vacation, then at least in the local park. And this is exactly the time when amusement parks start installing their rides.  Signboards of the rides promise a round of pleasures and adrenaline, but unfortunately do not warn about possible risks.

The tragedy of 2006, which happened in Zaporizhya, shocked the whole country. On January 1, a cabin of the roller coaster ran off the rails at full speed badly injuring a 27-year-old woman and killing her 5-year-old son. Experts established that the cabin collapsed due to worn-out state - plastic delaminated and came off the anchors.

On May 9, 2008 in Luhansk, the ride "Centrifuge" fell down killing two people and injuring ten. Such cases are numerous, and unfortunately, the number of lethal accidents on rides has increased in Ukraine lately and happens every year. This year no accidents have been registered yet, and Ukrainians are enjoying the fun. But how can we protect ourselves and our dears from deplorable consequences? ForUm has asked deputy chairman of the State Mining Supervision and Industrial Safety Service of Ukraine Stepan Dunas.

Thick as blackberries...

In Ukraine, more than 300 entrepreneurs offer services of 1347 amusement rides, included in the list of hazardous equipment, 467 of them are mobile. According to the State Mining Supervision and Industrial Safety Service of Ukraine, as of June 3, about 1.229 rides were inspected around the country. "1423 violations of the safe operation rules were revealed. 275 pieces of equipment were temporarily halted. 79 owners of rides were held administratively liable. At the request of the State Mining Supervision and Industrial Safety Service, 22 hazardous amusement rides were dismantled, 68 more are yet to be dismantled," Dunas informed.

"Operation of 20 dangerous amusement rides is prohibited on the territory of Kyiv and Kiev region. Among them there are the following: "Tropical Park" shopping mall - "Toad", "Safari"; Park "Pozniaky" - "Lambada"; park "Moodizhny" - "Lambada"; Park “Desnyansky” – “Fantastic jump – 4”; Bucha (Kyiv region) - "Small chained carousel". In addition, operation of 45 amusement rides was banned in Mykolayiv region, 36 - in Donetsk region, 10 – in Odesa region,” he noted.

Moreover, the official informed that the owner of the ropeway ride near "Friendship of Nations" arc was fined 510 hryvnais for operating without license. It means that Kyiv residents and guests of the capital were riding across Dnipro not having any safety guarantees. "Yes, we have such a small fine for this violation. The maximum size of the fine makes 1700 hryvnias," Dunas noted. According to him, from 2005 to 2012, 32 people got injured and seven people died on the rides in Ukraine. This year no accidents have been registered so far.

The number of violations impresses. However, if we analyze the situation, it becomes clear that owners just want to avoid any paper work, and do not try to save money on people's safety. According to Dunas, the majority of cases include operation without tech inspection. The business does not want to come in touch with controlling bodies and prefer to work without permission intuitively relying on the quality of the equipment rather than to let inspection in. Any owner of the rides, who has never had accidents, believe nothing bad will ever happen to him.

What should be changed?

According to the current legislation of Ukraine, rides are included in the list of low risk objects and must be inspected once in five years. Business entities which work by simplified tax system are not subjected to inspections at all. In such a way the state reduces the pressure on small and medium business, protecting it from persistent inspections and possible corruption. However, absence of inspections has its negative side. The State Industrial Safety Service issues licenses for five years, but nobody guarantees that the equipment will not break down within these five years. 

To hold more frequent inspections the Service has appealed to the Cabinet to revise the law and introduce relevant amendments. Moreover, the officials demand to list amusement rides among high-risk objects, which will give them grounds to hold inspections once in three months. In fact, the rides will be inspected at the beginning of every season. The time will show whether the government agrees to such changes. In turn, the State Industrial Safety Service hopes that the Cabinet will put a priority on citizens' security, not interests of small business.

The controlling bodies also ask the Cabinet to increase the amount of fine for operating without permission (two thousand of tax-free minimums and higher).

Better safe than sorry

But... he that fears every bush must never go a-birding, thus even after a number of scandals amusement rides remain very popular. Lack of adrenaline, necessity to get rid of stress or whatever the reason, before trusting the machines with your life and health, think about the security. 

Stepan Dunas recommends not to be afraid to seem a bore and red tapist and to ask for permits and control the date of issue. "Remember that the license is valid for five years, thus valid permission for this years must be issued not earlier than in 2008," the official notes.

"Always keep tickets and bills in order to prove you used these services. If an unfortunate situation has already happened make sure to keep witnesses near you before the arrival of police or exchange phone numbers to be in touch. In case of injury ask the park workers for first aid. They are instructed what to do in an emergency.

Moreover, Dunas asks to write official complaints both to the Safety Service and Department on Consumer's rights. "We cannot initiate an inspection without official request or sufficient grounds, but we have the right to react on the complaints," he says.

No one is impervious to incidents, and it is better to be safe than sorry. Nobody wants to think about bad things on a nice summer evening, but simple precaution and prudence can help to avoid a tragedy and secure long life.

Tetyana Hryhoriyeva


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