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When did the practice of restraint checks by employees start


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Long, Long ago in a galaxy far, far away, I one time heard that people weren't so sue happy and incompetent that'd parks would have to pay people to tug on their restraints. This makes me wonder about a couple things with restraint checks. When did the whole commonly practiced rule of having an employee tug (or barely touch if you're at SFMM) your restraint to see if it is closed, start? Why can't people compatently close their restraints to a secure place on their own (excluding rides like B&M Flyers where you do need assistance)?

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How do you know if it's down far enough? How do you know it's latched properly? How do you know the supposedly invincible teenager is actually wearing a seatbelt? How do you know the restraints are continuing to operate normally throughout the day?

 

All problems that are easily fixed by having an employee check restraints. Especially as restraints can be more complicated (see X2) or difficult (RMC Lapbars) and the employees still need to be there to keep the like moving, the ride running, and fragile people out of the way of the 8 ton steel train coming in.

 

 

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Also, it's good peace of mind to know that they're aware of whether my restraint is locked or unlocked before sending the train out onto the track, regardless of whether (or if) a computer tells them it is or isn't. Rides these days get more and more wild, so it's especially welcome on those airtime machines.

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Why can't people compatently close their restraints to a secure place on their own?

You can say this for a lot of things. The bottom line is that the majority of the population should be able to secure their restraints just fine, but you have at least two outliers. 1: People who have mistakenly ineffectively secured their restraints. 2: Deviants who intentionally ineffectively secure their restraints.

 

To answer your original question of 'when' this took effect, I would venture to guess that the first restraint checks happened sometime after the first rider was injured or killed.

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It's just one of the many things that make the amusement industry as safe as it is now. Just like in aviation, you used to be able to smoke on a plane and cockpit doors weren't bullet proof.

 

I am not sure when or where the standard of double checking restraints started, but safety critical positions are not the place to give your guests 100% of your trusts and I'm thankful for that standard being in place.

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Long, Long ago in a galaxy far, far away, I one time heard that people weren't so sue happy and incompetent that'd parks would have to pay people to tug on their restraints. This makes me wonder about a couple things with restraint checks. When did the whole commonly practiced rule of having an employee tug (or barely touch if you're at SFMM) your restraint to see if it is closed, start? Why can't people compatently close their restraints to a secure place on their own (excluding rides like B&M Flyers where you do need assistance)?

Because, people leave their brains at home when they go on vacation, and that includes the parts that keep them responsible for their own safety.

 

Also, your definition of "the restraint being down far enough" may not match the standard set by the manufacturer or the park. They set the rules - how "safe" or "unsafe" you want to feel during a ride is NOT your decision to make. If you don't like it, you shouldn't be there.

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I would guess it started the same time roller coasters did?

 

I mean if you're a park/ride owner, wouldn't the guests safety be somewhat of a concern? Not only for liability, but also for your own reputation?

 

I've worked in the amusement park industry and know how safe things are and how irrelevant restraint checks can be on certain rides (Arrows and B&Ms and S&S drop towers with OTSR's are pretty much stupid proof) which is why at the aforementioned SFMM the ride ops pretty much just "tap" the restraint, because believe me, once it's down that thing is locked and NOT going anywhere until the train returns to the station. But I think at this point it's more of a formality, a way for an employee of the park to visually check that the guest isn't doing something stupid.

 

Also, people freak out when certain rides move (Radiator Springs Racers) before their restraints have been checked, so it's also a comfortability thing for guests these days for sure. Most people when they enter a theme park have absolutely no idea what is going on or how much thought and technology has been put into the attraction beforehand, some people also don't understand the actual inherent danger in doing something stupid that could cause them their lives.

 

All in all, can't really blame stupid people on this one, it's just an extra extra extra step to make sure you're riding safely. And even with all that, some people from time to time are still dumb enough to screw it all up not only for themselves, but for the rest of us.

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My first amusement ride was in the mid-80's and they had checkers.

 

I worked a few summers at Wild Waves and can tell you there are multiple reasons not to leave it to the GP. It's not because they are stupid but rather ignorant and why wouldn't they be? There a lot of little we check for. Sound of the clicks. The way it feels when we tug on it. Things you can never expect the GP to know.

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Interesting topic. Here's another question to add to the discussion...

 

Is Disney the only park where the ride ops DO NOT TOUCH the restraints themselves, but instead the operators tell each guest to check their own restraint while they watch?

 

Does anyone else think this is actually way more efficient and safer/more comfortable for the guests besides me?

 

And if yes to that last question, why aren't other parks adopting this system????

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I guess it is out of fear. I like a ride op to check my restrain on bigger rides, to reassure me that it is down far enough. If they push it down further, I know there is a reason, if they don't I can enjoy the ride without a tight restraint nor having to hold on thinking I may fall out (Sky Scream on my first ride, before I realized the next click was miles away).

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Interesting topic. Here's another question to add to the discussion...

 

Is Disney the only park where the ride ops DO NOT TOUCH the restraints themselves, but instead the operators tell each guest to check their own restraint while they watch?

 

Does anyone else think this is actually way more efficient and safer/more comfortable for the guests besides me?

 

And if yes to that last question, why aren't other parks adopting this system????

 

How is it that I've never noticed that before? Now that you mention it it does make more sense.

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Interesting topic. Here's another question to add to the discussion...

 

Is Disney the only park where the ride ops DO NOT TOUCH the restraints themselves, but instead the operators tell each guest to check their own restraint while they watch?

 

Does anyone else think this is actually way more efficient and safer/more comfortable for the guests besides me?

 

And if yes to that last question, why aren't other parks adopting this system????

 

I've only seen that at Disney, so far.

 

I feel like it might be something of a balancing act. It definitely seems safer; not so much in a are-the-restraints-secure way but in that it minimizes contact with the guests. People being the way they are these days, especially in this country, all it takes is someone leaning the wrong way at the wrong time, or a ride op misjudging a few inches of distance, and a shoulder harness check turns into a sexual assault lawsuit. Needless to say some in the media would just LOVE a chance to toss something like that around if it happened at The Happiest Place On Earth. Of course, it's definitely more efficient, too.

 

On the other hand, having guests tug the yellow strap seems like it probably isn't quite as effective for making sure the harness is down as tightly as a park might want, etc. This may be less of an issue for Disney where the majority of their rides aren't quite so extreme. At other parks with monster airtime machines and truly crazy flats, maybe they find it more important to personally check the restraints.

 

There's probably a lot more to it than that, of course. Something to ask a park manager next time I get the chance, maybe!

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Interesting topic. Here's another question to add to the discussion...

 

Is Disney the only park where the ride ops DO NOT TOUCH the restraints themselves, but instead the operators tell each guest to check their own restraint while they watch?

 

Does anyone else think this is actually way more efficient and safer/more comfortable for the guests besides me?

 

And if yes to that last question, why aren't other parks adopting this system????

 

Don't quote me on this being fact, but the urban legend I always hear is that Disney always lists themselves as the manufacturer of their rides. If that's the case, they can make their own rules. Other parks are bound by what the manufacturers themselves say has to be done.

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Interesting topic. Here's another question to add to the discussion...

 

Is Disney the only park where the ride ops DO NOT TOUCH the restraints themselves, but instead the operators tell each guest to check their own restraint while they watch?

 

Does anyone else think this is actually way more efficient and safer/more comfortable for the guests besides me?

 

And if yes to that last question, why aren't other parks adopting this system????

 

I've seen it on a few individual rides in a few parks, but nothing park wide like DIsney.

 

Alton Towers used to get guests to raise their own lap bars on the Runaway Mine Train up until about 7 years ago. Now they perform hands on checks and given the unfortunate recent history I can't see that policy changing. It's a shame because it worked just fine, and it cut half a minute off the dispatch time which really adds up on busy days.

 

The ride op didn't check my restraint on the Gerstlauer bobsled at Klotten, but this happened for every train as they trust people enough not to be stupid.

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^Yes. She was sitting on top of the restraints. That is supposedly why Six Flags then added those giant handle bars on on of their Arrow style restraints.

 

Your comment covers part of the story, but it's misleading. The accident was not a result of "the ride attendant NOT making sure the woman was properly secured", as Jason Maier asked, but rather due to the lack of any kind of "emergency stop" control function at the time (though I'd argue it's primarily due to social Darwinism). She boarded the train after the operator had started the dispatch, which could not be stopped once the motor was in motion. Though the large handles were added for that reason, the more prevalent safety modifications were to control systems on rides throughout the park, adding additional safety features like the “enable dispatch” buttons for both ride attendants and ride operators we know today.

 

Read more here.

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Interesting topic. Here's another question to add to the discussion...

 

Is Disney the only park where the ride ops DO NOT TOUCH the restraints themselves, but instead the operators tell each guest to check their own restraint while they watch?

 

Does anyone else think this is actually way more efficient and safer/more comfortable for the guests besides me?

 

And if yes to that last question, why aren't other parks adopting this system????

 

Jurassic Park Team Members at Universal Studios Hollywood do not physically check the restraints either, they simply ask guests to push up on the lap-bar.

 

Its the only ride outside of a Disney park that I can think of that a employee does not physically check the restraints.

 

 

On a side note, Maliboomer when it was operating was one of the very few Disney attractions where a Cast Member would physically check your restraint and seatbelt.

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Interesting topic. Here's another question to add to the discussion...

 

Is Disney the only park where the ride ops DO NOT TOUCH the restraints themselves, but instead the operators tell each guest to check their own restraint while they watch?

 

Does anyone else think this is actually way more efficient and safer/more comfortable for the guests besides me?

 

And if yes to that last question, why aren't other parks adopting this system????

 

Don't quote me on this being fact, but the urban legend I always hear is that Disney always lists themselves as the manufacturer of their rides. If that's the case, they can make their own rules. Other parks are bound by what the manufacturers themselves say has to be done.

 

If that were the case, then we'd see the same alterations across all rides instead of on a park-to-park or chain basis and the same exact safety procedures everywhere in the world. See also: Cedar Fair & Seat belts, European parks use of "self restraint check".

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The main thing that I don't understand is why don't they actually put some effort into it if they're going to insist on checking/pushing down your restraint. I've seen countless times at Magic Mountain alone where they don't even push or pull on your restraint, they just lightly touch it, and then don't allow you to assist any further. Like when I was on Tatsu and the guy didn't even push on my restraint and I asked him to please click it till it felt snug, and he rudely replied: You're fine. Then when I asked again a bit more forcefully, he said: YOU'RE FINE!!!

 

The main question that I did have with the start of this thread however, was, when did this whole idea start? Does anyone know of a major incident that happened that started the whole concept of having an employee check your restraint

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On the other hand, having guests tug the yellow strap seems like it probably isn't quite as effective for making sure the harness is down as tightly as a park might want, etc.

The "tug the yellow strap" is only for rides that have seat belts to confirm that the seat belt is fastened properly. Other rides that have lap bars, like Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain, or Expedition Everest, you have to push up on the bar to show that it's locked.

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Interesting topic. Here's another question to add to the discussion...

 

Is Disney the only park where the ride ops DO NOT TOUCH the restraints themselves, but instead the operators tell each guest to check their own restraint while they watch?

 

Does anyone else think this is actually way more efficient and safer/more comfortable for the guests besides me?

 

And if yes to that last question, why aren't other parks adopting this system????

 

Don't quote me on this being fact, but the urban legend I always hear is that Disney always lists themselves as the manufacturer of their rides. If that's the case, they can make their own rules. Other parks are bound by what the manufacturers themselves say has to be done.

 

If that were the case, then we'd see the same alterations across all rides instead of on a park-to-park or chain basis and the same exact safety procedures everywhere in the world. See also: Cedar Fair & Seat belts, European parks use of "self restraint check".

On the topic of. Cedar fair... Why did they add seat belts i their htpera while SF (the one who had the accident that likely caused it) does not?

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Does Disney check the restraints on the two loopers in the US, California Screamin' and Rock "n" Roller Coaster? If they have, I honestly didn't even notice.

 

If I remember correctly from my trip last month, they don't check the restraints on Rock n Roller Coaster. Like the other rides, they just have you push up on the restraint yourself.

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