A major overhaul of theme park safety including mandatory major inspections has been proposed following the Dreamworld tragedy which claimed four lives.
Workplace Health and Safety executive Bradley Bick has told an inquest, which resumed on Thursday, recommendations included mandatory major inspections every 10 years.
Inspections would involve a thorough examination of critical components, stripping down devices, and removing paint, grease and corrosion to ensure “effective and safe operation” of all theme park attractions.
Mr Bick said ride operators would be tested to ensure they were competent to operate the attraction.
WPHS officers will also introduce “spot checks” to ensure theme parks adhere to strict safety guidelines.
“This will provide a comprehensive physical check of the ride to ensure that the ride is safe,” Mr Bick told the inquest.
A code of practice to force theme parks to adhere to a minimum standard will also be introduced which theme parks will be expected to follow.
There is no time frame for the regulations to take effect, the recommendations are in draft form and will not go before the state government before March.
A group of experts told the inquest mechanical hazards on the attraction meant “catastrophic incidents could have occurred at any time”.
A safety report tendered to the inquest into the deaths of Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghihas revealed when the water pump failed on The Thunder River Rapids ride, there was a “massive water drop”, which took less than 10 seconds.
Three of the holidaymakers were flung into a mechanised conveyor when the raft they were riding shot forward, collided with another raft and partially flipped on October 25, 2016.
A crucial delay in stopping the ride caused the jammed raft to be shaken and a fourth person to fall from his seat and into the machinery.
Dr Frank Grigg, of Forensic Engineering Consultants, told the inquest the rafts should have been been fitted with aircraft-style seat belts.
“I believe one of the deceased would still be alive if the raft was fitted with aircraft-style lap belts,” Dr Grigg said.
“Why velcro (seat belts) were used is a mystery to me.”
The inquest was also told there had not been enough thought about the potential risks when a pump failed, with ride operators “not schooled” on the loss of water.
The report stated the “excessive gap” between the conveyor slats and the fact the conveyor continued operating when the pump failed contributed to the accident.
It was also noted that “most” of the ride had been modified with “little or no consideration given to the effects of safety via a detailed and formal risk assessment process”.
“Previous incident on the TRRR, particularly in 2001 and 2014 should have alerted Dreamworld to the hazards present on the ride,” the safety report states.
Coroner James McDougall is expected to hand down his findings in 2019.
Australian Associated Press
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