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 April 2005 Tech News

Amusements Rides Committee at Work on Standards for Netting, Water Slides, and Interactive Aquatic Play Equipment

ASTM International Committee F24 on Amusement Rides and Devices currently has the following new proposed standards under development:

WK526 — Netting

Subcommittee F24.24 on Design and Manufacture is currently developing WK526, Practice for Design, Manufacture, Installation and Testing of Climbing Nets and Netting/Mesh Used in Children’s Play Areas, Safety and Attractions. The purpose of the proposed standard is to reduce life-threatening and debilitating injuries associated with netted areas and attractions.

“The netting industry needed a researched approach to developing standards that addressed the safety issues regarding netting and netted systems,” says John Rexroad, president, Pucuda, Inc. “The standards that were being used to justify materials and designs were pieced together from other standards. Although there are many quality netting products, little has been done to assure safe products and designs.”

According to Rexroad, WK526 sets a basis for the design of netted areas, as well as for specifying materials based on use. “Two nets may appear the same on the surface, but the way they perform may differ greatly,” says Rexroad. As an example, he notes that a net made of monofilament polypropylene may look very much like a net made of nylon, but the performance of the two nets will be quite different. Products designed and manufactured to meet WK526 will need to meet specific requirements with uniform tests and measures.

Rexroad says that any interested parties are invited to participate in development of WK526.

WK529 — Water Slide Structures

Safety is at the heart of proposed new standard WK529, Guide for Classification, Design, Manufacture, Construction, and Operation of Water Slide Structures. The proposed standard, which is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee F24.70 on Water Related Amusement Rides and Devices, will apply to water slides installed in public places such as water parks, hotels, resorts, and amusement parks.
According to Franceen Gonzales, director of Hurricane Harbor, Six Flags Great Adventure, “Any slide that is used for the purposes of amusement, in which water is used as a lubrication or transport that the rider is intentionally submerged in or intended to have contact with would qualify under this standard.” Gonzales also notes that sliding boards installed in home or community pools would not fit within this standard.

The proposed water slide guide is broken down into the following areas:

• Design — engineering (load calculations, etc.) and performance testing of slides.
• Construction — materials used, loading (such as wind loads), and placement of slides in pools.
• Performance — safety features, including clearances for riders, speeds, and surfaces with which riders are in contact.
• Operations — manufacturer responsibilities for educating the owner on inspections, maintenance, and general slide operation, as well as owner/operator responsibilities for slide operation, inspection, maintenance, signage and staffing.

Gonzales says the proposed standard will continue to be a work-in-progress even after its approval, with future revisions that will include refinement of the performance section, particularly for smaller children’s slides and specialty water slides such as uphill and bowl slides.

WK1074 — Interactive Aquatic Play Equipment

In addition to WK529, Subcommittee F24.70 is also working on proposed new standard WK1074, Practice for Manufacture, Construction, Operations, Maintenance, and Water Quality of Interactive Aquatic Play Equipment. The proposed standard applies to interactive aquatic play equipment located in and around re-circulated and potable water, including swimming pools, activity pools, wave pools, lazy rivers, slide pools and spray decks.

While some aspects of WK1074 are similar to those of existing playground equipment standards — including provisions for head and neck entrapment, protrusions, and entanglements — many important areas are specific to interactive aquatic play equipments. These areas, which are covered in WK1074, include the water environment, installation, maintenance, and different manufacturer specifications.

The proposed standard addresses information manufacturers must provide to owner/operators and stresses the importance of the owner/operator’s role in maintaining compliance with the equipment, installation, maintenance and operation. The responsibility of owner/operators to follow local codes for aquatic play equipment is another issue addressed in WK1074.

Interested parties are invited to participate in the continuing development of WK1074.

CONTACT:
Technical Information:
WK526—John Rexroad, Pucuda Inc.,
Deep River, Conn.
Phone: 860/526-8004

WK529—Franceen Gonzales, Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, N.J.
Phone: 623/581-8446

WK1074—Patrick Hoffman, Six Flags, Inc., Oklahoma City, Okla.
Phone: 405/475-2500

ASTM staff: Len Morrissey
Phone: 610/832-9719

Upcoming Meeting: Oct. 14-15
Phoenix, Ariz.

 
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