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Inflatable operators and manufacturers call for Australia’s adoption of European Safety Standard
Standards Australia’s recent reviving of its interim Standard for aquatic and waterborne inflatables may have come too late for industry operators and manufacturers, with calls for Australia to adopt the European EN 15649 Standard for ‘Floating leisure articles for use on and in the water’ rather than to continue with the Australian Standard and its limited scope.
Launched with considerable fanfare back in 2012, Australian Standard 3533.4.5(Int) - 2012 Amusement rides and devices, Part 4.5: Specific requirements - Waterborne inflatables, expired in August last year, with waterborne inflatable suppliers and operators left in limbo.
As of 8th April, the Standard has been republished with a new expiry date of August 2016.
With industry calls for the scope of the Standard to be widened to include sealed and other units not covered by the interim Standard, a statement from Standards Australia explained “Standards Australia is conscious of the need for continued work on AS 3533.4.5 and remains committed to the openness and rigour of its standards development process.”
Given the growth in popularity of open water inflatable aquatic playgrounds in Australia over the past two years, it would seem appropriate that the previous narrow scope of the interim Australian Standard be broadened.
By contrast, the European EN 15649 Standard includes air mattress, swing rings, towables and inflatable water playground equipment, specifying safety requirements as well as testing methods related to material, safety, performance and consumer information for each group of inflatables used on water.
A group of independent test houses, manufacturers, consumer protection delegates as well as European Norm Committee developed the Standard, which is recognised by over 27 countries, since 2007.
Currently, a voting process is being undertaken for the EN 15649 Standard to become an International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO)-Standard worldwide.
Romann Rademacher, Chief Executive of leading inflatable water sports equipment supplier Wibit Sports is also Vice Chairman of the European Community Committee on safety for inflatables.
He explains that “it is the aim (of the EN Committee) to establish a worldwide standard for inflatables used on the water to make sure only safe products are used on the water.”
Insurers are also keen for the rapid adoption of a new Standard because of difficulties with the insurance of certain types of aquatic and waterborne inflatables.
Image used for illustrative purposes only. Courtesy of Aflex Technology.
9th April 2015 - STANDARDS AUSTRALIA REVIVES WATERBORNE INFLATABLES GUIDANCE
29th October 2014 - UNCERTAINTY SURROUNDS FUTURE OF INFLATABLE PLAY STANDARD
17th September 2014 - AMBITIOUS LOCATIONS LOOK TO LOW-COST INFLATABLE AQUATIC PLAYGROUNDS
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