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Bouncy castles and other play inflatables: safety advice

Nov 04, 2023

Serious incidents have occurred where inflatables have collapsed or blown away in windy conditions.

These simple precautions can help you avoid serious incidents, whether you supply or buy bouncy castles and inflatables, are hiring one for an event, or operate them.

Health and safety law applies to the supply, hire and use of inflatables for commercial purposes. It does not apply to private, domestic buyers and users.

This guidance applies to inflatables devices that are covered by BS EN 14960, and that can be used both outside and inside.

HSE supports two industry inspection schemes for inflatables run by PIPA and ADiPs. Most play inflatables will therefore display either a numbered PIPA tag or an ADiPs declaration of compliance (DoC) to show they comply with British Standard BS EN 14960.

You can use their websites to check safety tests have been carried out and to find out what to do if the equipment has no PIPA tag or ADiPs DoC (you may be risking people's safety if the inflatable doesn't have one of these).

The PIPA scheme specifically covers inflatables devices that fall within the scope of the BS EN 14960, and they have guidance on the equipment PIPA inspect.

The ADiPs scheme covers a wider range of inflatable play equipment as well as more traditional fairground rides.

If you're buying or hiring any inflatable for private or public use you should make sure it also has instructions on how to operate it safely.

When setting up, carry out the following safety checks in line with the inflatable's operator manual:

Have a good look at the inflatable when it is blown up and before use. You should check:

There should be constant supervision by at least one suitably trained person.

Operating instructions must be supplied and should include the following:

As an owner or the person making it available for use, you are responsible for making sure the following tests are carried out.

A new inflatable should have an 'initial test' to confirm it complies with BS EN 14960.

Make sure an annual inspection is carried out by a competent person. They should identify the inflatable and blower by their serial numbers and look at any previous inspection reports and certificates. They should also inspect any part of the inflatable and its equipment that may affect its safe operation.

Owners can find out how to get their equipment tested from PIPA or ADIPS.

British Standard BS EN 14960: 2013 Inflatable play equipment. Safety requirements and test methods

Fairgrounds and amusement parks: Guidance on safe practice

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