Theme park gondola ride falls during maintenance
During maintenance in October 2018, a gondola on a drop tower amusement ride became detached from the above catch-car.
According to a Workplace Health and Safety Queensland incident alert, the catch-car lifts the gondola in place to allow workers to carry out inspections of the ride.
It said that on this ride, a detent pin (a type of retaining pin also known as a quick-release ball lock pin) is used to prevent the inadvertent release of the gondola. Workers insert the detent pin in the catch-car through a hole in the bottom of the catch-car.
When the incident took place, four workers were preparing to lower a pulley block to the ground using ropes. According to the alert, as the worker in the plant room was lowering a tag line down to the workers in the catch-car, the gondola suddenly released from the catch-car and dropped down to ground level. The catch-car remained in position and no injuries were sustained. Investigations are continuing.
According to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, a safety pin or backup support is an administrative control measure which relies on the worker to correctly install before starting work or entering a hazardous area. Owners of amusement rides relying on administrative control measures should consult their engineer to review and if necessary change their work procedures, equipment used or ride design to minimise the risk of injury to workers.
The incident alert said that they should ensure:
- all safety pins and backup supports have been correctly installed
- workers have an unobstructed view when installing the safety pin or backup support
- workers are able to confirm (eg, by visual confirmation) that all safety pins and backup supports have been correctly installed before commencing work
- the safety pin or backup support is securely held in the engaged position for the duration of the work task — the preference is to have a mechanism which automatically (eg, automatic latching mechanism) engages and holds the safety pin or backup support in position once it has been correctly installed
- rides are maintained, inspected and if necessary tested by a competent person in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions or instructions prepared by a competent person
- all components of the ride are inspected regularly to ensure they are within the wear tolerance specified by the ride manufacturer
- any ride faults or repairs should be documented in the ride log book.
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