Topics explained – Amusement devices (Plant)

An amusement device is an item of plant operated for hire or reward that provides entertainment, sightseeing or amusement through movement of the equipment, or part of the equipment, or when passengers or other users travel or move on, around or along the equipment.

If you own or operate an amusement device, or intend to own or operate an amusement device, you need to familiarise yourself with Australian Standards:

  • AS 3533.2:2009 – Amusement rides and devices – Operation and Maintenance, and
  • AS 3533.3:2003 – Amusement rides and devices – In-service inspection

Please contact us if you are unsure if an amusement device needs to be design or item registered.

Plant registration

Design registration is a pre-requisite for item of plant registration. You must receive registration approval and a plant registration number before you are permitted to use the device.

There are some devices that you must register irrespective of size, speed or type of patron support.

These include:

  • most powered and non-powered (manually operated) mechanical devices
  • inflatable devices (continuously blown) with a platform height of 3 metres or more
  • climbing and bouldering walls
  • high ropes courses, bridge swinging, bungy jumping
  • trampoline parks
  • giant slides
  • go-karts, and
  • miniature trains not owned and operated by a model railway society, club or association.

The WHS Regulations list some devices which are exempt from registration requirements. You can find these in the definition of an amusement device under Regulation 5 and in Schedule 5 – Part 1 & 2 of the WHS Regulations.

Importing devices

Devices imported into Australia must comply with all local registration requirements. You cannot operate an amusement device until it meets these requirements.

If you directly import a device into Australia, you take on the duties of designer, manufacturer and importer under the Act. You are fully responsible for ensuring that the device is safe to operate and compliant with all South Australian legislative requirements.

It is recommended that you engage a competent person to assess the amusement device. This person should have a good working knowledge of the type of amusement device that you have and provide you with a report of their assessment.

Second hand devices

If you have purchased a second-hand device, the plant registration immediately becomes invalid as it will be registered to the previous owner. You must register the plant in your name before you can operate the device.

Log books

If your device requires registration of design or item of plant you will need to keep a log book that demonstrate how the device is being maintained in a safe condition. The log book can take the form of a physical book, or an electronic version. If it is stored in electronic format, it must be able to be accessed directly from where the amusement device is located.

The log book must:

  • be kept with the amusement device (along with operating and maintenance manuals)
  • contain the most recent updated records including daily checks and unplanned device stoppages.

For all other devices, it is recommended that you keep a log book so that you have evidence to demonstrate how the device is being maintained in a safe condition.

All maintenance, inspections and testing of the device must be carried out by a competent person.

Changes to Work Health and Safety Regulations – Amusement devices

On 25 December 2023 amendments relating to amusement devices under the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 (the Regulations) will come into effect.

The new regulations have been adopted from the model work health and safety regulations provided by Safe Work Australia. The regulations introduce new provisions for improved record keeping and operator training for amusement devices and passenger ropeways.

If your business provides amusement devices that people use as entertainment, like carnival rides or devices, you need to be aware of the new requirements.

Summary of changes to WHS Regulations

Operation of amusement devices and passenger ropeways

If you own an amusement device, you are the person with management or control of the amusement device. As the owner, you are required to ensure that the device or ropeway is operated only by a person who has been provided with instruction and training in its proper operation.

The new provisions clarify that this instruction and training must include how to carry out the daily checks and how to operate the device without passengers under sub regulation 238(2) of the Regulations.

Log books for amusement devices

The new regulations require more detail to be included in amusement device log books, including complete histories of notices issued by work health and safety inspectors, full operational dates, maintenance history, faults, storage details, the operators’ history, and identification.

The new provisions require that a log book be kept with the amusement device and be made available to anyone in control of the device. The log book must record details of:

  • the erection or storage of the device including the relevant dates of erection
  • the maintenance of the device
  • the operation of the device, including:
    • the number of hours the device operates for on any given day, and
    • the total number of hours the device has been operated since it was first commissioned
  • details of any faults, or other matters relevant to the safety of the device identified during its operation
  • each person who operates the device, including:
    • the person’s name
    • whether the person has been provided with instruction and training to check and operate the device properly
      • the date and a summary of any instruction and training the person was provided as well as qualifications of the instructor or trainer and
  • any statutory notices. For example, improvement notices, prohibitions notices or infringement notices by any regulator for the device, including:
    • the date each notice was issued
    • the reasons why each notice was issued,
    • any action taken in response to the notice; and
    • the location of the device when the notice was issued.

Operators must also be able to produce any information within the logbook upon request and failure to do so is an offence.

The aim of the new regulations is to ensure a full comprehensive record of amusement devices is available to regulators as devices travel across Australia.

Design registration

Before purchasing a device check to see if the supplier has the proper design registration.

Minimum standards

Designs must comply with the Approved Codes of Practice (the Australian Standard AS 3533 series published prior to 1 January 2013 are considered an Approved Codes of Practice). Older devices may have been designed to previous standards must be assessed against the Code and design verified that it achieves an equivalent or better level of safety.

The WHS legislation may prescribe additional minimum levels of safety that are not detailed in the Code, or overrule the Code. You need to review both sources of information to be sure that your device fully complies in South Australia.

Device suppliers

Australian suppliers must obtain design registration for a device before they can sell it to you. They must also provide you with evidence of the design registration.

If you import a device directly from an overseas supplier, it is your responsibility to obtain all information about the device from that supplier. You should always check with the overseas supplier prior to signing a contract of sale that they will provide you with all the documentation you require to support an application for design registration in Australia.

International design registration or design verification documents are not recognised in Australia. Such documents may be included with an application for design registration as supporting material.

If you are unable to obtain all the required information, you will need to engage the services of a suitably competent person in Australia to provide the necessary documents.

Second-hand devices

Before purchasing a device second-hand check to see if it has design registration. Design registration is mandatory in South Australia and is a pre-requisite to plant registration.

To register the design of a second-hand device you need to be able to accurately demonstrate knowledge relating to the original design, or evidence that there have not been any design alterations to the device over its life, or when (or if) major inspection occurred.

If the item does not have evidence of plant design registration you will need to apply for the registration yourself. In these instances, collect as much information as you can on the device (designer/manufacturer etc), it’s design history (such as alterations) and any inspection or maintenance records to support the design registration application.

While the regulator has powers to grant exemptions from design registration, limits and conditions usually come with this exemption. An item of plant where the designer/manufacturer is unknown is unlikely to be granted such an exemption.

Design registration number issued to another person

If you have an identical device as someone else, you may use their design registration number if they give you written authorisation that you can. You must have this written authorisation for the design number to be valid.

The design of your device must be confirmed by the registration holder as fully compliant to their registered design. If they cannot give you that certification in writing, then you cannot use or reference their registration number.

You cannot quote a design registration number without satisfactory knowledge of the exact design to which it applies, including any subsequent design modifications to that device.

Compressed air

The complexity of an amusement device can vary and there can be different energy sources used to produce motion of the device. Where the device incorporates a plant item listed in the WHS Regulations as high risk plant, you must ensure that this is design registered accordingly.

For example, your device may use compressed air to either provide motion to patrons while on the ride, operate the patron restraint system, or control other safety related functions that have a direct effect on patron safety.

Compressed air delivery will utilise an air receiver after the compressor which must be assessed to determine if it meets the criteria for design registration. If it does, then the air receiver would be registered separately to the amusement device design registration. For guidance only, air receivers with a capacity of 100 litres or greater will require design registration.

Design verification

Any part of the device which could affect the safety of a patron, operator, attendant or spectator must be approved by a design verifier. This includes during set-up, dismantling, inspection, operation and transport of the device. Most amusement devices will have at least one critical component which if it failed to an unsafe condition (i.e. has no redundancy), there is risk of injury to a person.

Design verification must be in line with Australian Standards.

The task of verifying a design can be complex and the design verifier is held accountable for the method and process they used to verify the design. The design verification should only be conducted by a person who is competent to do so.

A design verifier cannot be someone who was involved in the original production of the design. If you were involved with the designer or manufacturer in stipulating specific design changes or additional features to the function of the device, then it could be viewed that you assisted in the production of the design.


You must notify us (or the regulator from whom you received plant registration) if an alteration made to the amusement device may affect the health and safety of a person. When making an alteration you will also need to review the risk control measures.

The design registration holder must also lodge an application for alteration to design.

For example, if you want to change the method that a patron is restrained or increase the speed that a patron travels, then this is an alteration affecting the health and safety of a patron.

An alteration to the aesthetics of your device, or replacing low voltage lighting with extra low voltage LED lighting does not require notification.

You should never alter the design of an amusement device without first consulting with the designer, manufacturer, or a competent person.


You must have your amusement device inspected regularly to ensure you are complying with the minimum level of safety as prescribed by the Approved Code of Practice, Australian Standards AS 3533.2:2009 – Amusement rides and devices – Operation and Maintenance and AS 3533.3:2003 – Amusement rides and devices – In-service inspection.

You must have a quality system in place that either:

  • conforms to recognised Standards and is audited on a regular basis, or
  • is subject to regular reviews and check inspections carried out by an independent competent person so as to verify the performance on any in-house personnel.

Inspections must be completed by a independent competent person. The competent person must check the device and confirm that it:

  • is manufactured to the registered design
  • complies with the WHS Act & Regulations
  • is safe to operate.

This process will require the competent person to inspect the device in a fully assembled and operational state. The competent person must:

  • check all mechanical, structural, electrical and electronic aspects, where applicable
  • assess any critical components
  • document all activities associated with the commissioning process (if a new device)
  • provide you with a signed declaration summarising what they did and that the device is safe to operate.

The competent person may also need to:

  • observe the erecting and disassembly stages, or for transport and storage
  • undertake or observe specific performance testing to validate compliance.

Annual inspections

Your device must undergo an annual inspection completed by a competent person no later than 12 months after the last inspection. Device owners who are involved in the regular operation and maintenance of their device are ineligible to act as the competent person for inspection of that device.

You cannot continue to operate the device beyond 12 months following the last annual inspection, or if the inspection identifies safety related issues requiring immediate attention.

When your devices passes the annual inspection, the competent person inspecting your device will give you a signed statement that your device has been inspected and is safe to operate.


SafeWork SA may extend the date for an inspection by up to 35 days if an inspection is scheduled to coincide with the same event each year (e.g. Royal Show).

Extensions are granted as a one-off extension to avoid clashing with the annual reoccurring event.

You should plan for the next inspection to occur earlier than 12 months to avoid it coinciding with that event in the future.

Major inspections

A major inspection is a thorough inspection of the device to establish the prospective remaining life of the device. Electrical systems and components are included in this activity.

Major inspections must be performed:

  • at the end of design life (if known), or
  • in accordance with manufacturer recommendations (or that of a competent person), or
  • at every 10 years (if design life unknown), or
  • after any significant mechanical or structural failure, or
  • after rebuild or recommissioning.

Further information

Amusement Device National Audit Tool – Webinar recording

The webinar by SafeWork NSW highlights some of the key aspects of the National Audit Tool, and how it is utilised by WHS Inspectors.