Tennessee Closes Zip Line Course After Employee Fall


State officials in Tennessee have suspended the operating permit for Wahoo Ziplines after an employee fell about 25 feet from a platform and sustained minor injuries on Aug. 3. The employee was apparently assisting a zip line rider to come to a stop at the end of the line. Company officials said that an investigation of the incident was ongoing.


Regulations mandate the closure of the park and require a new inspection of all of the equipment involved in the fall, according to Kim Jefferson, administrator of the state’s Workplace Regulations and Compliance Division.


That inspection will have to comply with the state’s newly amended policy that states inspections must now be performed by a “qualified third-party inspector.” State officials recently made the change to its adventure course inspection policy after a guest died in July as a result of a fall at Ijams Canopy Experience in Knoxville. (See related Park Brief, “Tennessee Mandates Third Party Park Inspections.”) The state began mandating annual inspections of amusement attractions, including adventure parks, this year.


Jefferson said that conflicts of interest can arise when inspections are performed by the same company that designed or built the attraction. Tennessee will now only accept inspections performed by third-party certified inspectors who have no connections to the attraction, but have experience with designing, building, or operating an adventure park. The state does not employ inspectors that specialize in aerial adventure parks.


According to the state, Wahoo Ziplines was issued its annual permit in July after a certified inspection by Edgy Design. Jefferson said the state would not accept an inspection from the same firm that conducted the annual inspection. Once complete, the state will review the new inspection, and determine whether an operating permit will be reissued.


About Author

Troy Hawks contributes to Adventure Park Insider, Ski Area Management, and a variety of other publications and websites. He has held editorial positions at business magazines serving outdoor sports and recreation as well as manufacturing and textiles. Most recently he was communications manager for the National Ski Areas Association and editor of the NSAA Journal. He also serves as a communications consultant for several clients. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, he now lives in Denver, Colo.

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