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Funfair chief backs safety crackdown

PUBLISHED: 01:59 31 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:46 03 March 2010

FELIXSTOWE'S funfair boss has welcomed a new crackdown on safety at amusement parks and says he is happy to comply with all the rule changes.

Charles Manning said it was important that everything possible was done to make fairgrounds as safe as possible - and to let the public know what is done.

FELIXSTOWE'S funfair boss has welcomed a new crackdown on safety at amusement parks and says he is happy to comply with all the rule changes.

Charles Manning said it was important that everything possible was done to make fairgrounds as safe as possible – and to let the public know what is done.

"One bad accident at a funfair hits the whole business – even if it takes place in John O'Groats it will hit the headlines and make people think about whether they want to use a fair in Felixstowe," he said.

The Health and Safety Executive today released the findings of its review of fairground safety, which was commissioned last year following a series of tragic fatalities and serious accidents at fairgrounds and amusement parks.

The HSE said 24 people had died at fairgrounds since 1986.

However, 1,000 million rides take place every year, safety has improved three-fold since the 1980s, and a person is eight times more likely to be killed walking to the funfair than on one of the rides.

In his report, principal inspector of health and safety Paul Roberts recommends a series of changes to safety systems, how they are followed, as well as how the HSE enforces them.

Among the key recommendations are the improvement of registration of private ride inspection bodies and the launching of an accreditation scheme to make sure each ride is examined by an approved expert.

There will be specific guidance on the design and inspection of rides, and further research will be carried out into new or developing hazards.

For example, the review found anecdotal evidence of changes in crowd and individual behaviour which may affect safety at fairgrounds.

For funfair operators like Mr Manning, the main change will be the need to put on public display the safety certificate for each ride.

"That is no problem at all and we will be happy to comply with that," said Mr Manning, whose amusement park is in Sea Road, Felixstowe.

"We have all the certificates upstairs in the office and it will just mean finding a way to display them so that the public can see them all and read the details.

"Every ride is checked before the start of the season by an independent expert and we liaise closely with the professional body for our industry over what needs to be done and any changes we need to put in place.

"Safety is very important. Funfairs are safe places and our staff work hard to ensure that is the case – very few accidents happen at any fairground, but because it is unusual they always attract a lot of publicity and concern."

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