New regulations for amusement rides starting July

A new regulatory framework for amusement rides safety will be in place to protect the safety of ride-goers in Singapore.

This takes place as more large-scale theme parks are being built and introduced in Singapore.

The Amusement Rides Safety Bill 2011 was passed by Parliament on February 14, and the Amusement Rides Safety Act and Regulations 2011 were gazetted today. The new regulations will apply to all amusement rides, including existing ones.

A risk-based regulatory approach will be used to ensure that amusement rides are designed, installed, operated and maintained according to recognised international safety codes and standards.

The rides will require permits for their installation, modification and operation, and have to be inspected annually by a specialist professional engineer.

Under the new regulations, new roles and statutory responsibilities will be introduced for key stakeholders and they will be held accountable for the maintenance and safety of rides:

(a) Person Responsible: The Person Responsible under the regulations, is the holder of the operating permit and has the charge, management or control of the ride. He has to ensure that the ride is operated safely, maintained in good working condition and is covered by public liability insurance of at least S$1 million.

(b) Ride Manager: Appointed by the holder of the operating permit, this person will be responsible for overseeing, managing and supervising the operations and maintenance of the ride.

(c) Qualified Person (QP): Appointed by the holder of the operating permit, this person will be responsible for carrying out technical duties such as certifying that design codes of the ride are complied with, supervising the installation, and carrying out annual safety inspections of rides.

He must be a specialist professional engineer registered with the Professional Engineers Board in the discipline of amusement ride engineering.

The new regulations will also require the holder of the operating permit to submit a fire and rescue management system to the Singapore Civil Defence Force for the Commissioner of Civil Defence's approval.

The fire and rescue management system has to include details of the operator's emergency response plan and emergency response team. Upon approval, the Singapore Civil Defence Force will issue a Certificate of Compliance to the amusement ride operator.

The regulations will come under the charge of the Commissioner of Amusement Rides Safety, who will be supported by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) in the administration of the legislation.

BCA will ensure that the rides are certified to prescribed codes and standards and inspected regularly.

There will be a grace period of six months, starting from July 1, given to all existing operators to comply with the new requirements, such as appointing a suitably qualified ride manager, obtaining the required insurance coverage and the Certificate of Compliance from the Singapore Civil Defence Force.

BCA Chief Executive Officer Dr John Keung added that public safety is the priority for BCA and that their priorities are to "work together with the professionals and companies involved in amusement rides to ensure the safety of ride goers."

Since 2009, BCA has worked on developing a new regulatory framework for amusement rides based on international regulatory practices, codes and standards. BCA held regular briefing and consultation sessions with ride owners, operators and professional engineers.

vtay@sph.com.sg