Selected THRILL Lab papers related to ride accident data:

Woodcock, K., 2022. Safety evaluation of amusement rides using accumulated accident data: Accident data framework. Journal of Themed Experience and Attractions Studies 2, 40-53.

Amusement rides and devices are a popular form of recreation and important component of the tourism industry. Injury-producing accidents are rare, and the viability of the industry relies on perceived safety of the activity. Some existing metrics use accumulated accident reports. Several metrics tabulate the number of injuries, but none collect enough information about the context of accidents to analyse the accumulated data to deduce patterns. This paper describes an Accident Data Framework for a minimal set of variables from reports of amusement device accident, and the structure for a useful narrative to aid reporters and recorders to avoid introducing bias. A pilot test with 125 industry practitioners supported the general feasibility of this approach. A review of requirements confirms the framework supports compliance with ASTM F770, a major international standard. Refinements made in response to a pilot test of the Accident Framework were incorporated into the classification rules, provided in an Annex to the paper.

Link to the article

Woodcock, K., 2019, Global incidence of theme park and amusement ride accidents, Safety Science 113, 171-179.

This study describes worldwide occurrence of accidents involving amusement rides. The study compiled and classified reports in international media coverage for a one-year period, analysing event type, ride type, operation type, and regional location. Media reports provided limited detail and almost certainly omitted some events but remain the only publicly available data on a global scale.

Over the year, 182 accident events were reported, from 38 countries, of which 51 events involved a fatality. Mechanical rides and roller coasters were involved in 87 events. Fixed-site rides (amusement and theme parks), mobile rides, and waterparks were involved with a similar number of cases. The most common event type with fixed-site and mobile rides was ride malfunction (63 cases). In waterparks, drowning or near-miss of drowning was most common (27 cases). Just 11 reports involved improper rider action, 12 involved failure of reasonable action, and 11 involved medical conditions or reactions.

Occurrence as a proportion of attendance was highest in Latin America, predominantly involving mechanical non-tracked rides; water attractions predominated in North America. Lower prevalence of malfunctions in North America suggests value of professional development for mechanics and inspectors and strong regulation to promote international safety standards.

Link to the article

Woodcock, K., 2014. Amusement ride injury data in the United States. Safety Science 62, 466-474.

Amusement ride injuries are generally understood to be infrequent, but are notable when they occur. Quantitative and qualitative assessment of amusement safety is in the public interest and important for continuous improvement. This paper reports on an analysis of the amusement injury data collected by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) for 2010. Inflatable sides and bounces are involved with at least 42% of amusement injuries, 56% of injured patrons are aged 15 or under, and females sustain 57% of injuries treated, predominating at all ages above 5. Relative risks for user categories or device types cannot be computed, as exposure data is inadequate. The source data also largely lacks adequate information about the injury producing events and specific equipment involved, which interferes with development of strategic safety improvement priorities. Improvements are needed at the point of data collection either through the existing system or development of a new data collection mechanism, or both.

Link to the article

For a review of publicly available data sources, see this page.

Other papers from the THRILL Lab will be added here.