WorkSafe is issuing a safety alert highlighting the hazards and risks associated with shear points on amusement rides.
Published:08 October 2019
WorkSafe has recently been notified of an incident involving a large rotating amusement ride at the Royal Melbourne Show.
The ride has harness release mechanism that consists of a metal plate installed on the arm of the ride behind the seats and a sensor block located next the seat.
When the ride is going, the seats are free to rotate clockwise or anticlockwise independently of the arm. As a result, a shear point is created between the metal plate and the sensor block.
During the ride a rider's arm was caught in the shear point causing the rider to receive a severe cut. They required immediate medical treatment.
Note: The red box indicates the position of the metal plate, and demonstrates how its position relative to the seats changes during the ride.
Recommended ways to control risks
Employers and self-employed persons should:
prevent access to shear points, for example, by installing of physical guard to prevent physical access by the rider or relocation of the components that cause the shear point
review hazards and risk control measures associated with amusement structures regularly to ensure safe operation of the structure
obtain information from amusement ride manufacturers and engineers, industry professionals and other sources of information on industry improvements that may assist in reviewing and revising risk control measures.
Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, employers must, so far as is reasonably practicable, provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risks to the health of employees. This includes:
identifying risks to health or safety and eliminating or reducing those risks, so far as is reasonably practicable
providing or maintaining plant or systems of work that are safe and without risks to health.
Employers must also ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that people other than employees are not exposed to risks to their health or safety arising from the employer's conduct.
Under the Equipment (Public Safety) Act 1994, a person in charge of prescribed equipment must take reasonable care for his or her own health and for the health and safety of any other person who may also be affected by his or her acts or omissions in relation to equipment.
Also, in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017, an employer or self-employed person must review and if necessary, revise any measures implemented to control risks associated with plant (including amusement structures) or its associated systems of work in these situations:
before the plant is used for the first time at a workplace
before any alteration is made to the plant or any change is made in the way the plant is used or in its associated systems of work, including a change in the location of the plant
if new or additional information about hazards or risks relating to the plant or its associated systems of work becomes available to the employer or self-employed person
after any incident occurs to which Part 5 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 applies that involves the plant or its associated systems of work
if for any other reason, the risk control measures do not adequately control the risks
after receiving a request from a health and safety representative.
Find more information
AS 3533.1 – Amusement rides and devices – Part 1: Design and construction