With the season of summer fetes and gala days upon us it is worth taking a moment to refresh the rules surrounding the use of inflatable bouncy castles at events. Failure to do so has resulted in the tragic death of children over the last few years leading the HSE to update their advice on the safe use of inflatables.
If you are buying an inflatable for work or renting one for an event, ensure it has been built to the current British Standard (BS EN 14960) and written documentation from a competent inspection body confirms it complies with this standard. The inflatable should have a numbered Pertexa Inflatable Play Accreditation (PIPA) tag or an Amusement Device Inspection Procedures Scheme (ADiPs) declaration of conformance.
Hazards to be aware of include:-
Potentially unsafe / dangerous siting and installation of equipment;
Failure to maintain equipment / use correct equipment;
Lack of suitable training for operators;
Overcrowding / lack of control and supervision by operators.
When erected outdoors inflatables must not be used in winds above 24mph (38kph), which is force 5 on the Beaufort Scale (small trees in leaf begin to sway). Always check the manufacturer’s operating manual to confirm maximum wind speed for safe operation of the inflatable.
All bouncy castles must be thoroughly examined at least once a year by a competent person and should include any part of the inflatable and its equipment that may affect its safe operation.
Further information is available from your Health and Safety Manager or from HSE at http://www.hse.gov.uk/entertainment/fairgrounds/inflatables.htm