Will the ASTM F2959 standard expand to include more traditional operations and programs? The F2959 Aerial Adventure Course Task Group, and the larger F24 Committee, are moving on several fronts to evolve the standard and accommodate the concerns of all members of the industry, and at the same time to raise the level of safety for consumers.
At its October 2018 meeting, the F2959 task group tabled the ballot item that would have removed the exclusions to the F2959-18 standard, for a period of one year. But F2959 will take up the exclusions language again at its next October meeting. Further, the F2959 task group continues its work to improve/revise sections on braking, containment/harness, wire rope, geotechnical and more. A separate effort, to explore the harmonization of the ASTM/ACCT/PRCA standards, is also underway.
Attention all traditional programs!
The exclusions decision “was based on feedback from the stakeholders that participated in the meetings, but comes with the caveat that these stakeholders should work to identify areas in F2959 that need to be revised, and submit those items to ballot during this timeframe,” said Jared Krupa, chair of the F2959 Aerial Adventure Course Task Group. “It is the responsibility of any member or interested stakeholder to identify these items and do the work to get a ballot item together.” The exclusions task group is headed by Jeff Borba of Precisioneering, with PRCA’s Mike Barker serving as stakeholder lead.
What language is acceptable?
ACCT policy director Scott Andrews is optimistic about the process. Andrews is a member of the F2959 task group and is working on the harmonization effort. ASTM, he said, recognized that some aspects of F2959 “don’t really work for the traditional portion of the industry. So how do we fix it so it works for everyone? It’s a good approach, as it could really make the ASTM standard more useful,” he added.
Krupa reminded Adventure Park Insider that any eventual changes to the standard will apply only to new or revised/updated equipment and installations. Most existing installations would be grandfathered. ASTM F2959 section 1.3.5 states that the standard only applies to aerial adventure courses installed after the standard’s publication date—as long as pre-existing designs are service proven or previously compliant.
Wait, there’s more!
The exclusions task group is one of several smaller focused task groups within the larger F2959 task group that are addressing specific sections of the standard, among them operations, maintenance, design, manufacturing, Authorities Having Jurisdiction, and third party inspectors. Each task group has four to six members. The groups hold working sessions as needed, and report regularly to the full F2959 task group.
The harmonization task group continues its efforts as well. This group was formed with representation from ACCT, PRCA, and F2959 to review the three standards and identify gaps, with the goal of having a list of differences and beginning the process of balloting needed revisions in order to fully harmonize them.
This effort could help the industry evolve. “I’m really excited about the work that’s being done,” said Andrews. “We’re getting a better view of the industry by evaluating three different systems. All address public safety, just from different viewpoints and mechanisms of addressing the risks. They all help us develop practical systems for increasing instructor judgment.”
The upcoming ASTM F24 meeting Feb. 13-16 at the Hyatt Regency Houston will show just how much progress has been made toward that and other goals.