New rules for inflatables

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DISAPPOINTED: Pop Up Playground owner Amber Scarth at last month's Mayfield A&P Show.
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A district council crackdown on health and safety has forced a popular child amusement operator to cut the number of events it attends.

Pop Up Playground owners Amber and Shane Scarth said they are not attending as many community and private events after changes to the inspection and application process for operating their inflatables on district council-owned land.

‘‘We were informed on a Friday in January this year that we would have to make an application 10 days prior to an event on council land. This decision meant I had to cancel the Plains Railway and another event that weekend,’’ Amber said.

Adhering to the regulations was time-consuming. While they wanted to conform to safety standards, ‘‘the paper work is too much’’, Amber said.

‘‘It’s the kids who suffer,’’ Shane said.

Now when Pop Up Playground sets up on district council land, it has to apply to the local body 10 days prior. Then the district council has an inspector attend the event, to sign-off the operation, confirming all safety requirements are met.

‘‘We won’t attend the Plains Railway any more due to the new regulations, which is a shame, but it is all just too complicated,’’ Amber said.

In addition, there is a new fee of $100 that operators will have to pay from July 1 for the inspection when it is not a community event.

‘‘We have to pass on the cost of the fee to the organisers,’’ Amber said.

‘‘So far I’ve had several clients pull out of having events on council land, due to the extra cost they will incur, as these are private parties,’’ she said.

Manager compliance and development Jane Donaldson said the district council had been checking inflatable devices since June last year, starting with its own Glow in the Park event at Tinwald.

The district council now required land-borne inflatable devices (LBIDs) on district council land to be checked for compliance against the Australian standard as it ensured the device was manufactured to be safe and secure, Donaldson said.

‘‘We have been working with providers, and continue to do so, to help them understand what they need to do to be compliant when their inflatables are on council land,’’ Donaldson said.

‘‘Our processes are aligned with other councils in the Canterbury region,’’ she said.

WorkSafe regulations had been tightened following incidents involving LBIDs that resulted in severe injuries to members of the public.