ABOLITION OF MATURITY RISK ASSESSMENTS (MRAs)
The decision of York Crown Court on 25 May 2017 that Maturity Risk Assessments (MRAs) should be regularly reviewed has been discussed by the Amusement Device Safety Council (ADSC). All of those involved in the development of the HSE publication HSG 175 fairgrounds and amusement parks – Guidance on safe practice, the formation of The Amusement Device Inspection Procedures Scheme (ADIPS), and the transitional arrangements certain rides had to follow in order to comply with the significant changes they introduced, are disappointed by this decision.
By siding with the prosecution’s arguments that an MRA should be subject to regular review, the jury have created a serious anomaly for the ADIPS system as we are unequivocal in our view that the MRA:-
- was a one-off exercise taking into account the knowledge and operational history of a ride at that point in time.
- • is in addition to, separate from and not intended to replace the controller’s operational risk assessment.
The court’s decision does not change our view on this.
Nevertheless, it is a decision that has been made. Our focus must, therefore, include a determination to review the existing ADIPS system’s policy and guidance to ensure our system continues to support measures which, if followed, are normally enough to comply with the law.
There are a number of options and we have had to consider the fundamental concepts on which the system is based in order to reach a decision. MRAs were part of the original transitional arrangements which expired at the start of the 2004 season. They are also not a requirement in law. Is it therefore proportionate for controllers and inspection bodies to revisit MRAs to review the adequacy of these documents? Or would it be more appropriate to eradicate these documents from the system and to advise controller’s there is no requirement to keep them to comply with ADIPS requirements. Affected rides have operated some 13 years since the transitional requirements ended and controllers, under statutory health and safety law, must have undertaken a regular assessment of the risks arising from the operation of their rides.
We firmly believe the latter is the preferred option and that MRAs should be abolished from the ADIPS system. The principle of proportionality diminishes in effect as the period of time since both an MRA was created, and the number of occasions the risks have been assessed and documented elsewhere increases.
As from 06 October, 2017 MRAs will be no longer be recognised. Any ride operating with an MRA prior to this date will no longer have to retain the document in its Operations Manual and inspection bodies will not check it during in-service annual inspection. ADIPS DOCs will be amended and all MRA references will be replaced with the statement: ‘Maturity of design confirmed’. Such rides will not require pre-use inspection (unless subject to safety-critical modification) and ongoing compliance with ADIPS will be achieved by following the normal in-service annual inspection and certification cycle set out in HSG 175.
All new rides entering the system after this date will need to be subjected to pre-use inspection (design review, assessment of conformity to design and initial test) irrespective of their age.
Controllers are free to choose what action they wish to take with their MRAs. It is possible that they contain important information about the ride and in such circumstances this information should be retained. However, rather than retain the MRA (as they are no longer recognised by the ADIPS system) we would recommend that any relevant information forms part of other documentation, such as entered into the operational risk assessment, or the Operations Manual within the information about how to operate, maintain or inspect the ride.