House of Tickets is Australia and New Zealand's foremost print, ticketing and access solutions specialist, servicing more than 2,000 clients and producing in excess of 40 million per tickets a…read more
Questions over zorb ball safety
A range of incidents around the world are leading regulatory and safety bodies to question the safety of zorb, hamster and water walking balls.
Reported incidents have seen clients asphyxiated while inside the giant sealed plastic balls – known by trade names including zorb, hamster and water walking balls, with the activity known as globe-riding, sphereing or orbing. In practice, after a person climbs into the big transparent plastic ball, it is inflated by a blower through an opening that is then closed shut, making it airtight. People then roll or walk across water and other surfaces, including ice and grass - like a hamster in a ball.
Pioneered in New Zealand by then business partners Dwayne van der Sluis, Andrew Akers and Craig Horrocks, Zorb Limited, the company founded by the trio, has developed the activity worldwide via a franchise system – with zorb balls becoming popular features at stand-alone attractions, amusement parks, carnivals, retail malls and special events.
While Zorb Limited has a track record of safety at their operations, van der Sluis and Akers have called for the development of an international standard for the activity, citing less reputable operators and the use of substandard materials in a growing number of operations.
However, in the USA, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has warned consumers against the activity because of the risk of suffocation and, when used on water, drowning.
Among the CPSC’s concerns is that oxygen can be depleted inside the ball, and dangerous carbon dioxide levels can accumulate in a matter of minutes. The Commission also warns that users with medical conditions, such as heart, lung or breathing issues, could be at higher risk for harm.
Furthermore, frequent lack of emergency exits - zorb balls can often only be unzipped only from the outside - means that people can become trapped within it, increasing the risk of injury or death. Also, because the ball contains no padding, impact injuries are possible if balls collide with each other or land on hard surfaces.
An infamous YouTube video exists of zorb ball running out of control down a ski-slope at the Russian ski-resort of Dombai, which caused the death of a rider.
Operators say there is no danger to users when zorb balls are used properly while Zorb Limited has called on all operators to sign on to the activity’s Code of Safe Operation, listed on the website www.globeriding.org.
The code, created by Zorb, offers a global standard of safety for anyone looking to set up a zorb, hamster and/or water walking ball activity.
In Australia, zorb balls are among a number of inflatable aquatic and related devices not covered by the interim Australian Standard for aquatic and waterborne inflatables or the Standard for land-borne inflatable devices
in 2010, workplace Health and Safety Queensland issued alert notices to the owners and operators of inflatable water balls of the possible risks with their use.
9th April 2015 - STANDARDS AUSTRALIA REVIVES WATERBORNE INFLATABLES GUIDANCE
2nd July 2008 - ZORB INVENTORS UNDER FIRE IN US
Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?
The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.
However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.
Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.
Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.
Click here to subscribe.
The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.
Hydrocare Pool Services Pty Ltd offer 25 years of experience in aquatic industry features, products and water treatment. Hydrocare Pools has undertaken water treatment for aquatic centres and…read more
Regupol Australia Pty Ltd offers a comprehensive range of recycled rubber fitness and leisure flooring surfaces. Their range of products include everroll rubber flooring, Regupol elastic…read more
Tim Batt Water Solutions are at the very forefront of the commercial aquatic business in Australia, with over 30 years specific experience supplying and installing chemical control and dosing…read more
Since 1989 Elite Pool Covers have designed and manufactured an extensive range of high quality affordable manual,semi-automatic and fully-automatic pool cover systems for the harsh Australian…read more
Hadley Australia and Series Australia Pty Ltd are the leading quality theatre chair manufacturers in the southern hemisphere. The businesses work closely with architects, interior designers and…read more
Technogym is the leading company in the Wellness and Fitness field all over the world. With 2,200 employees, 14 branches in Europe, U.S., South America, Asia and Australia, Technogym exports its…read more
Smart Connection Consultancy is a boutique sport and recreation consultancy who has become one of Australia’s leading advocates for the use of synthetic sports surfaces as a vehicle to grow…read more
get listed with our suppliers directory
Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!