Ride operators on notice as carnival season nears

WorkSafe inspectors will be focusing closely on carnival ride safety as the summer festival season prepares to get under way.


Inspectors have carried out more than 1500 visits to events across the state this year, and more than 500 inspections have focused on smaller events such as local shows, festivals and school fetes.

The inspectors will continue inspecting rides over summer, assessing factors such as safety systems, wear and tear, maintenance history and whether or not ride operators and attendants have been appropriately trained.

WorkSafe's Executive Director of Health and Safety, Marnie Williams, said the tragic death of a six-year-old boy thrown from a ride at the Rye Easter Carnival in April and the deaths of four people on a ride at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast last year highlighted the potential dangers associated with carnival rides.

"Every Victorian who attends these events, and those that work at them, have an expectation that they do so without risking their lives, or risking an injury," Ms Williams said.

"While WorkSafe has been increasing its focus in this area so it can carry out more inspections, it remains the responsibility of the organisers of these events and the owners of the rides to ensure appropriate control measures are in place and checks have been made to ensure everyone's safety.

"If they fail to do so and there is an incident, they risk prosecution."

Ms Williams said WorkSafe is aware that some smaller operators try to avoid inspections by setting up rides just before an event got under way.

"Small weekend events, particularly those which start and end on the same day, can be difficult to police, which is why we are continuing to increase the number of weekend inspections."

WorkSafe is also working with its interstate counterparts to track down operators identified as having potentially dangerous rides.

Last month WorkSafe identified a suspect ride that had left Victoria to operate in Queensland. It alerted Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, which then located the ride and issued a Prohibition Notice for a serious mechanical issue.

WorkSafe then found the ride operating at a school fete in Melbourne and, while the original fault had been rectified, WorkSafe issued the operator with three Improvement Notices in relation to other safety breaches.

Ms Williams said WorkSafe also encouraged the community to report any concerns.

"It is not possible for WorkSafe to inspect every small fete or fair so we rely on the public to report any incidents or safety concerns so that we can take action," she said.

"Many small ride operators are regularly on the move, but that doesn't mean they are above the law."

Members of the public who may have a concern about the safety of a ride should report it to WorkSafe's advisory service on 1800 136 089.