Zipline and Ropes Course Safety

Zipline safety

North and South Carolina lacking regulations

Ziplines, rope courses and other commercial aerial amusements have become extremely popular in recent years. But safety regulations across the country vary widely, and two recent deaths highlighted the lack of regulations in both North and South Carolina.

The death of a 16-year old in South Carolina occurred after a fall from a pendulum swing on Sassafras Mountain. In June, a 12-year-old fell to her death from a zipline at YMCA’s Camp Cheerio in North Carolina.

The pendulum swing on Sassafras Mountain, which is tantamount to a Tarzan rope, doesn’t meet the formal definition of an amusement ride in South Carolina and was not inspected by the Office of Elevators and Amusement Rides, according to the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

North Carolina is currently waiting for the governor’s signature on House Bill 39, which calls for an increase in the penalty for illegal operations of amusement apparatuses and mandates a study by the N.C. Department of Labor on regulation of zipline operations.

There is no pending legislation for aerial amusements in South Carolina.

There are two trade organizations that have each published zipline and challenge course standards: the Association for Challenge Course Technology, which has a membership of over 26,000, and the Professional Ropes Course Association, which has over 2500 international members

Founded in 1993, the ACCT accredits builders and certifies inspectors. The rise in popularity of ziplining began nearly a decade later. The PRCA was the industry’s first developer of ANSI-accredited standards.

Source: Karen Chavez, “Carolinas lack oversight of ziplines, swings.” 15 July, 2015.

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