ASTM International, originally known as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), has been working with the amusement industry since 1978 in the development of amusement ride and device safety standards. ASTM is one of the largest independent standards-writing bodies in the world. Producers, consumers, government and academia have all had a hand in developing and providing input on various standards on design and manufacture, testing, operation, maintenance, inspection and quality assurance of amusement rides and devices since 1978.
ASTM F 24 on amusement rides and devices is the only standards-writing body with exacting safety standards on amusement rides and devices. The adherence to these standards is voluntary, unless the adoption of these standards has occurred at the state level or an organization has self imposed these standards. As of February 2010, Forty-four states have adopted ASTM F 24 amusement ride and device standards either completely or in part. Alabama, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, Wyoming and Utah are the six states that do not have state ride safety laws.
ASTM F 24 standards have become considered common practice within the industry. Essentially, this means that the patron is provided with a level of protection; however, the protection is commonly experienced after an incident on an amusement ride or device. Regardless if a state or entity has adopted the standards whole or in part, the organization could be held to design and manufacture, testing, operation, maintenance, inspection and quality assurance practices within the standards. The benefit comes in the form of potential compensation as a result of the loss due to the actions or omissions of the fixed site location or mobile organization. ASTM F 24 standards are still evolving in an effort to address the complexity and ever-changing landscape of the amusement ride and device industry.
There are numerous scenarios in which short-sighted decisions, motivated by the desire to cut costs, end up imposing much higher costs at a later date. I am sure that your business or a business you were associated with was in need of a safety evaluation and it does not get done because it “isn’t in the budget.”
The desire to wish risk away is obviously enticing and cost effective; however, risking uncertain and significantly larger loss is a poor business practice. There are many organizations that wish they could recapture the costs of some of the larger losses they have incurred – it would do wonders to the bottom line. Unfortunately, the loss is gone forever and typically negatively impacts the bottom line and well-being of a company.
It is important to recognize this practice and address it by incorporating sound business judgment when it comes to assessing and addressing risk. The increasingly competitive and international presence of industry warrants swift and decisive action regarding this topic. It could mean the difference between profit and loss…