ASTM F770: What You Don’t Know Could Hurt You.
I want to ask you all a question and be completely honest with yourself. How many of you have actually read ASTM F770-18? If you answered “yes” then I have a follow-up question are you FOLLOWING IT TO THE LETTER? If you are not, or you are in the group that answered “no” to having read F770, you are opening yourself up to significant possible issues.
F770 is titled “Standard Practice for Ownership, Operation, Maintenance, and Inspection of Amusement Rides and Devices”. Within the document, which was based in part on F1193 which provides a standard for the manufacture of amusement devices, sets very specific requirement for ride owners and operators. Requirements that were well thought out, well-intended and for the betterment of the industry and our guests.
Among the responsibilities outlined in the standard are the individual development by ride owners/operators to create documentation specific to the operation, maintenance, inspection, evacuation, training and major/minor repairs to amusement equipment. Documentation must be developed BY the owner/operator for each attraction and must be kept on file. It does not afford the owner or operator the luxury of just relying on the manufacturers’ operating manual. That manual can certainly be used as a guide for the development of the individual documentation, but it is not the acceptable document according to F770.
So, what’s the big deal? Why am I spending time writing about this and why are you reading this? For one, if you are ever drawn into litigation over a ride incident/accident any half-witted plaintiff’s attorney is going to go directly to F770 and cite it. They are going to grill you on your application and compliance with F770…on all aspects. Should you be unable to support a “Yes” answer to that line of questioning, you have just significantly jeopardized your defense.
Second, the standard was developed to create a system where each ride owner/operator is intentionally involved in creating a series of systems and documentation developed to ensure that their attraction is operating at the highest level of quality possible. It is well maintained according to the manufacturers’ guidelines; it is inspected according to manufacturers and industry guidelines, ride operators are trained (with training documented, repeatable and consistent). It ensures that owners and operators really, really, know their equipment and follow an intentional and developed system on a daily, weekly, monthly basis that ensures the safest and most well-operated/maintained equipment possible. All of this leading to greater patron and employee safety and satisfaction. It also has a huge benefit in that a well maintained and well-run attraction, should require less repair, less part replacement and ultimately lower operational costs. A pretty good by-product for those of us who are hyper-focused on the bottom line.
They teach you in writing class, to begin with, the goal in mind when you pen an article. In this case, I will end with the goal: Make sure show owners and ride operators become familiar with F770, understand the importance and implications of the standard, and most importantly commit the time, resources and implementation of the standard on their show. Gone are the days of “Well, this is how we have always done it…”. If owners don’t change their ways of thinking towards F770 we will see an unfortunate by-product in more equipment failures, more guest injuries, more bad press and sadly…more shows going out of business.
If you do not have a copy of F770-18 and are not a member of ASTM you can join for about $75 a year by going to www.astm.org. Once a member, you can request a copy of F770-18. As a voting member of ASTM, I highly recommend you join, learn and participate. It will only make you, your show and our industry stronger.
Have a great Spring and I look forward to seeing you out on the road. As always, you can reach me at dtewksbury@McGowanAmusements.com.
Remember, Safety isn’t expensive…it’s priceless!