Topics explained – Inflatable amusement devices

Bouncy castles and inflatable slides can be a lot of fun, however injuries or even fatalities can happen if they are incorrectly set up, anchored, operated or supervised.

The health and safety of the community and anyone in the vicinity must not be put at risk by the operation of an inflatable amusement device.

Plant registration

Land-borne inflatable amusement devices do not require plant registration with us unless the device:

  • relies on a continuous supply of air pressure to maintain its shape (such as a fan attachment), and
  • has a platform height of 3 metres or more.

The platform height of an inflatable amusement device is measured without anyone on the device, and from the surface supporting the device to the highest point designed to support a person.

PCBU responsibilities

PCBUs such as owners, operators or managers of inflatable amusement devices must ensure that:

  • risks are identified and managed appropriately before set-up, such as checking for
    • overhead or underground power lines
    • location of gas pipelines
    • overhanging trees
    • sloping ground
    • poor drainage
  • inspections for continued safe use are carried out by a competent person
  • annual inspections are carried out in the absence of any other manufacturer information
  • daily checks, routine maintenance, repairs and regular scheduled inspections are carried out and recorded in a log book. Amusement device log books need to be kept at site, made accessible and available for inspection at all times
  • electrical equipment (such as motors, electrical leads, generators, residual current devices) is inspected annually by a competent person
  • a site emergency plan is prepared, including emergency access, and workers are trained in what to do in an emergency
  • fire extinguishing equipment is provided and inspected and tagged in date
  • workers have been provided with information, training and instruction, such as safe operating procedures, for set-up, use and dismantling
  • devices are secured and anchored as per the manufacturer’s or engineer’s instructions
  • anchor pegs/stakes/weights and guy ropes do not pose a tripping hazard
  • fencing and other control barriers are sufficient to guide patrons and prevent public access to ‘no go’ zones
  • devices are not deployed over water
  • impact mats are installed in areas where patrons could fall off the device (such as at entrances and exits)
  • condition checks for faults, such as wear or rips in the fabric, are conducted during dismantling and any faults recorded and repairs made before next use.

Regular checks

You should conduct regular checks of inflatable amusement devices to ensure that:

  • daily inspections are recorded in the log book
  • maintenance and repairs have been carried out and recorded in the log book
  • anchor stakes/pegs/weights are adequately securing the device and are suitably protected to prevent trips, impalement and traffic damage
  • fall zone impact mats are in place and free of obstacles
  • guarding on electrical equipment, such as those to protect fingers from being caught, is in place and effective.

During operation

When inflatable amusement devices are in operation you must ensure that:

  • supervision is provided at all times by persons who are able to operate the device safely and know what to do in an emergency, such as in case of inclement weather
  • operators or supervisors are not under the influence of or adversely affected by sleep deprivation, alcohol, narcotics or medication
  • only the recommended maximum number of patrons and only those of a similar size and weight are on the device at the same time
  • patrons are instructed in safe use of the equipment
  • patrons are informed that some behaviour (such as somersaults, flips) may put their safety and that of others at risk
  • devices are evacuated then deflated when wind gusts exceed the manufacturer’s guidelines or when wind gusts exceed 40 km per hour, whichever is the lower.

Further information

Amusement devices guidance material – Safe Work Australia

Amusement ride hire checklists – Work Safe Victoria

Land-borne inflatable amusement devices – Work Safe Victoria