Hazards Faced by Fairground Workers

A fairground, whether travelling or static, has health and safety hazards. HSE (Health and Safety Executive) works with the Joint Advisory Committee (JAC) on fairgrounds and amusement parks to help ensure these hazards do not put the lives of fairground workers at risk.

Legal Position

The Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974 contains the law that applies to fairgrounds. In essence, the Act obliges all those involved with fairground installation, maintenance and operation to follow certain procedures. HSE and JAC refer to these as steps and checks.

The specific people with health and safety duties under the Act include fairground organisers, operators, controllers and attendants. Designers, makers, suppliers, installers and importers of fairground equipment also have health and safety duties, as do fairground inspection bodies.

Risk Assessment

The purpose of Risk Assessments is to manage safety. This is particularly important in the fairground industry. Almost every fair has heavy machinery, lorries, electricity and generators. The public walk among these items, often at night and sometimes in bad weather. And in the middle of the fast-moving waltzers and other attractions are the fairground workers.

Risk assessments are therefore vital. They identify fairground hazards, consider who may suffer in the event of an accident, and determine how to control the dangers.

Design Review

Design review is a relatively new term. A review of a piece of fairground equipment confirms that the design is structurally safe. Fairground operators must keep these design reviews with inspection reports.

HSE advises that operators pay special attention to design reviews for any used fairground equipment they buy.

Inspection Bodies

JAC has agreed that fairground inspection bodies should follow the British Standards guidance in BS EN 45004. There is a register of inspection bodies that adhere to this guidance.

JAC has also created a service quality schedule. This gives the experience, qualifications and service performance JAC expects from an inspection body.

Steps and Checks

The steps and checks for fairground rides begin with design and end with emergency procedures. In between these, everyone who works in the fairground industry has certain responsibilities.

At the design stage of a fairground ride, designers must produce a safety requirement specification. They base this on a risk assessment. An inspection body then checks the design.

After a manufacturer has built the ride, an inspection body carries out a further check. This time the inspector is confirming that the finished product meets the design specification. The inspection body then tests the ride using the operation manual.

The manual should also have details of maintenance and servicing procedures. These have one aim: to keep the equipment working safely.

As part of a maintenance routine, fairground workers must check rides daily. They must judge the general condition and look for signs of wear. Operators and attendants must also have full training in the use and management of rides.

Inspection bodies must perform thorough checks from time to time. They should also examine the layout of fairs and the emergency procedures.


With these steps and checks in place, fairground workers can have greater confidence about their own safety. They can also be sure about the safety of those who use the rides.

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