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Self-regulated safety on zipline's.

Unlike amusement parks, white water rafting or other adventure sports with heavy government oversight, zip line companies are mostly self-regulated. But the thrill of zip lining does come with some risk.  In the last year, accidents at least a half-dozen according to government reports. But don’t jump to the conclusion the government is keeping track. "We're looking to educate the entire industry,” says James Borishade. He’s the Executive Director for the Association for Challenge Course Technology, often referred to as ACCT.

The trade group sets “minimum standards” for zip line companies when it comes to construction. "The equipment should be inspected daily,” Borishade explains. “Then monthly.  A more thorough inspection. And then annually it should be inspected by a third party." “The majority of the standards have to deal with the building of the course, the design of the zip line. But there is no standard that says you have to have two trolleys, full body harness and there's no standard that says you have to have a helmet." Knott says he opted to include these more expensive safety features at the recommendation of the company who built his zip line course. Some looking into a guide wire system to keep people tethered to the zip line the entire time.  

This company inspects twice a year, more than the ACCT recommendations, and his staff is always available to instruct guests.  Another park purposefully doesn’t use helmets because they provide a false sense of security and would likely not prevent injuries associated with zip lines. The last set of ACCT safety standards were released in 2008. Due to the rapid growth of the zip line industry and improving technologies, ACCT will be releasing a new set of safety recommendations in the next month. 

 

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