On March 22, in a surprise move, the ASTM F24 Amusement Rides and Devices Committee’s Evolution Task Group initiated a ballot on the revision of ASTM F2959-18 regarding the scope of the standard. The aim of the scope revision is to eliminate the exclusions for educational, therapeutic, physical fitness, teambuilding, and other “non-commercial” operations.
The main change was the addition of a section under “Scope” that reads, “Scope of this practice does not specifically address all human factors, particularly those intrinsic in certain educational curriculum; physical fitness, therapeutic, training and team and confidence building programs; and organized competitive events.”
The ballot is an important one. In an email to voting members, F2959 chairman Jared Krupa said, “To clarify, if this ballot is supported, it will replace the original scope revision document and move forward to publication, and if it is rejected, then the task group will consider both the original and new drafts and decide how to move forward.” The ballot will be taken up at the ASTM F24 Committee meetings in San Diego in mid-October 2019.
The surprise was in the timing. Last year, the Evolution Task Group, headed by Jeff Borba of Precisioneering, had proposed eliminating the exclusion of many “non-commercial” aerial operations from the F2959 standard. After members of ACCT and PRCA raised objections to the change at the ASTM F24 Committee meetings in October, the F2959 task group agreed to table the proposal for a year. At the same time, it assigned a smaller task group, including members of the aerial adventure park world, to come up with language that would be acceptable.
However, that task group had made little apparent progress by mid-February, when the ASTM F24 Committee met in Houston, Tex. So, following comments on the scope revision at the meeting, Borba drafted new language intended to reflect those comments, and submitted it to ballot. The voting period runs through April 22.
One irony in the timing: PRCA president Mike Barker, the industry lead for the scope revision, had conducted a working session on the scope language at the PRCA conference in early March. He told Adventure Park Insider that his task group discussed several possible language options, which he planned to describe in his ballot.
Though the balloted language was quite different than that his group was pursuing, Barker suggested the ballot language might be acceptable, if it referenced the ANSI/ACCT and ANSI/PRCA standards for the activities cited in the language of the proposed scope.
What to Do
In a letter to its members, ACCT encouraged members to respond in a thoughtful manner. ACCT said that the current ballot “is intended to allow sufficient time for meaningful conversation on this issue.” The letter advised, “If you are a voting ASTM member, please read this ballot item carefully. ACCT strongly encourages you to evaluate how this change could affect the industry and respond as directed in the ballot. If you are not a voting ASTM member, talk to your Professional Vendor Member and ask them about the ballot and ask them to share your written feedback and concerns as part of their ballot.”
It’s important to note that several other task groups are working on revisions to F2959, regarding braking, wire rope, geotechnical requirements, updates to the F1193 standard, SARC test, via ferrata testing, and auditing requirements. The revisions being considered for braking and emergency brakes could be among the most significant for those operations currently excluded from the F2959 standard, and are aimed at making the standard more practical for all types of aerial operations.
Krupa, Barker, and ACCT policy director Scott Andrews urged interested non-members to become registered ASTM members and participate in the current ballot and future deliberations of the F24 committee and the F2959 task groups. For general questions about ASTM International/F24 and membership contact Katerina Koperna at[email protected].