This post is dedicated to one of the most influential and important safety organizations in the world: the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM). Specifically, we will focus on the F24 Committee on Amusement Rides and Devices. This committee is solely responsible for making sure you feel confident getting on that wild ride!

Beginning with the Pennsylvania Railroad, the largest corporation of the 19th century, the quest for standard specifications was led by Charles Dudley, who became the driving force behind ASTM. The organization was founded in1898 with a commitment to building a consensus on standards for industrial material. [1]

ASTM Committee F24 on Amusement Rides and Devices was formed in 1978. The Committee is broken down into 12 subcommittees. ASTM F24 uses “living standards” which are continuously updated, meaning they can react fast on new products in the industry. The Committee currently has approximately 800 members and has jurisdiction of 19 standards. Committee F24 ensures that guests only need to worry about lines and tickets. [2]

ASTM helps engineers create safe rides by providing standards and guidelines on how to design an experience. How much acceleration is too much? What type of restraint do I need to use? What documentation do I need to provide? All of these questions have clear answers in official ASTM standards.

One purpose of these standards is to create a unified level of safety in the amusement industry. Guests, park operators, maintenance workers, and everyone involved in the attraction can feel confident that the ride is “designed to ASTM standards” and meets the highest level of safety in the industry. The standards provide a basic checklist for engineers so that the safety of an attraction does not depend on the design considerations of a single company. Instead, the safety of an attraction can be bolstered by decades of experience from the members of ASTM and their expert recommendations.

How do engineers trust that the standards are good enough?

Arguably the most valuable asset of ASTM is experience. Many of ASTM’s members include industry veterans that have built and installed hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of rides in their careers. Years of experience allows the members of ASTM to advise what works and what doesn’t when designing an amusement device. The younger members of ASTM can also add insight to new technologies and innovations that have been introduced to the industry, and how to make them safe to use. By combining the efforts of all ASTM members, the amusement industry and engineers can be confident that the safety standards of ASTM are the best the industry can offer and will stay up to date [2].

CAVU is proud to have several of our engineers involved and holding leadership positions in the ASTM F24 committee. In February, CAVU’s engineers attended the semiannual meeting of the Committee in New Orleans and had great updates to report. They attended meetings that ranged from Fall Protection to Loads & Strengths to AR/VR, all of which were very productive [2].

ASTM F24 is as crucial to amusement rides as seatbelts. The organization constantly strives to make the industry safer, and everyone involved benefits from their efforts. Want to get involved? Follow this link to become a member of ASTM (free for students!)

https://www.astm.org/MEMBERSHIP/MemTypes.htm

Hope you enjoyed this episode of Safety First! Be sure not to miss our next post topic that will surely be gripping: Restraints!

Sources

# Source
[1] The History of ASTM International https://www.astm.org/ABOUT/history_book.html
[2] Committee F24 on Amusement Rides and Devices https://www.astm.org/COMMITTEE/F24.htm
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