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Amusement rides in for stringent safety checks

Dubai Municipality official hints inspectors will regularly track maintenance

Image Credit: Abdel-Krim Kallouche/Gulf News
The ferris wheel in Global Village. The fun fair area at Global Village remains closed to thepublic until further notice.
Gulf News

Dubai: Civic authorities in Dubai are considering enhanced safety regulations at amusement parks to forestall accidents and injury to the public, Gulf News has learnt.

According to a source at Dubai Municipality, inspectors may soon be dispatched to amusements parks to ensure that maintenance is carried out on a regular basis. The decision came in the wake of the death of an Emirati man at Global Village on Thursday after being struck by a piece of metal that fell from a ferris wheel.

Currently, amusement rides have to undergo a thorough municipal inspection that is either based on the civic body’s safety manual or the manufacturer’s catalogue before they are installed.

The Code of Construction Safety Practice, last revised by Dubai Municipality in 2008, includes safety regulations required for temporary and permanent installations, which also extends to amusement rides and stages used to hold concerts and activities.

Senior structural engineers are responsible for approving the architectural structural and drawings of temporary installations before they are installed, while in cases of amusement rides — such as the giant ferris wheel at Global Village which has come into focus following the death of Abdullah Mohammad Al Habsi on Thursday — owners have to provide the municipality with the manufacturer’s catalogue and receive an approval stating that it is up to international safety standards.

“The investigation is ongoing and once the report is finalised, it will be forwarded to police and public prosecution,” Reda Salman, director of the Public Health Department at Dubai Municipality said yesterday.

According to Global Village management, the amusement rides at the fair grounds comply with three major EU safety regulations including the Fairground and Amusement Park Machinery and Structures Safety, Operation of Electrical Installations and European Inspection Agency Guidelines for the Approval and Safety Inspection of Amusement Rides.

The safety manual also states that any modification or changes to temporary or permanent installations have to be submitted to Dubai Municipality for approval.

“The metal rod was used for lighting, and was an additional feature that was not part of the manufacturer’s requirements. It was not submitted for [municipal] approval, which means it was illegally fixed,” a source close to the investigation told Gulf News.

Meanwhile, Dubai Municipality officials are continuing their investigation into the accident in cooperation with Dubai Police, and are inspecting the safety standards of the amusement rides, which were apparently certified as safe by a globally acclaimed German safety-certifying agency.

The funfair area at Global Village remains closed until further notice.