HSE has published updated advice for bouncy castle and inflatable operators, following recent serious incidents in windy conditions.
'These simple precautions can help you avoid serious accidents, whether you supply bouncy castles and inflatables, or you are hiring one for your event,' it says.
Buying or hiring
If you’re buying or hiring an inflatable for private or public use you should make sure it has either a numbered PIPA tag or an ADiPs declaration of compliance (DoC).
It should also have:
- written documentation from a competent inspection body to show it complies with British Standard BS EN 14960
- instructions on how to operate it safely
You can check that safety tests have been carried out and to find out what to do if the equipment has no tag on the PIPA website or no DoC on the ADiPs website .
Before anyone uses it
When it’s inflated and before you use it, carry out safety checks, which include the following:
- when using it outside, all the anchor points must be used, with metal ground stakes at least 380 mm long and 16 mm wide, with a rounded top. They should have a welded metal 'O' or 'D' ring fitted to the end
- all inflatables must have at least 6 anchor points. The operator manual will tell you how many there should be – make sure they are all still in place and have not been removed
- if ground stakes cannot be used because of the surface (eg tarmac) then use ballast weighing at least 163 kg with suitable fixings to attach the guy ropes. The inflatable should be tightly secured to the ground so that the wind cannot get under it and lift it up
- if an inflatable is being used indoors, the operator’s manual will tell you what anchorage is needed to maintain the shape of the device and prevent overturn
- no inflatable should be used in winds above 24 mph, which is Force 5 on the Beaufort Scale (small trees in leaf begin to sway)
- some inflatables may have a lower maximum wind speed for operation. Always check the manufacturer’s operating manual to confirm the maximum wind speed for the safe operation of the inflatable
- use an anemometer to measure the wind speed at regular intervals. If one of these is not available, the inflatable should not be operated
- there are no holes or rips
- all other equipment is safe, including the blower
Safe use and supervision
The operator should follow the instructions, including making sure:
- users are always supervised
- the number of users does not exceed the limit given in the instructions
- people can get on and off safely, with mats at the entrance
- they regularly check anchor points are still secure
- they use an anemometer to measure wind conditions at regular intervals
- it’s safely deflated if the weather becomes unsuitable