Back In The Barn and Fixing Things…

Back In The Barn and Fixing Things…

It seems like yesterday when the season started.  There was huge anticipation looking ahead to the spring, summer and fall that lay ahead.  New spots, old spots, new friends and old; all would occupy a place in our minds as the season played out.  Hopefully, for you, the season was a grand one.  Now as you wrap it up and head to Winter Quarters, we should take time to reflect on the season and look at a few things that impact all of us.

There is no question; this was a tough year for accidents in our business.  It was made tougher by the sensationalist journalism that painted our industry as unsafe and dangerous.  It was both irresponsible and unprofessional media coverage.  They focused on the few tragic incidents and disregard the millions of happy, safe rides that took place this year.  To the media, safety doesn’t equate to readership, followers or advertisers…Tragedy do…what a sick paradigm.

What can we learn from this season?  What can we do differently to ensure that we are never again an actor in the leading story on the 6 o’clock news?  For the most part as an industry we do the work necessary day in and day out to have safe midways. Not much has to change, but it is when you think you are doing things well, that you need to take a step back and assess how and where you can improve.

Start by looking at these two key areas:  Ride Maintenance and Operator Training.

Ride Maintenance:

    • Do you have a documented and scheduled maintenance program for all of your equipment?
      • Does your program follow manufacturer’s guidelines?
    • Do you have a documented plan for refurbishing equipment on a rotating schedule?
      • Make sure any changes or modifications you make to equipment is approved by the manufacturer, an Engineer and your states as required. You never want to modify or alter a device without proper engineering and support from the manufacturer.

Operator Training:

  • Make certain you keep sound documentation history of all maintenance and repairs. I know it sounds simple, but too often I have seen situations where maintenance documentation had been “lost” or accidentally destroyed. Scan it and back it up in your computer system.
    • Are you committed to training and re-training your key employees?
      • Do you have operator training system that is Consistent, Repeatable and Documentable?
    • Are you sending key employees to NAARSO Schools, NWSC Safety Seminar, AIMS or other recognized safety programs?
    • Are you reviewing the incidents that occurred on your show over the past season, identifying trends and then developing a training program to eliminate them?

Keep in mind that while this may seem rudimentary and reek of common since, it is the small things done consistently well that will make a difference.

Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.”

We can look back and learn from the summer of 2016.  There is always room for improvement and growth.  Take the time to use this perspective and then look ahead to how you can use time in the “barn” to lay the foundation for a fun, profitable and safe 2017.

Drew Tewksbury
Senior Vice President | McGowan Amusement Group