28 March 17 - Are you booking safe inflatables for your events?

It's that time of year again where we are busy preparing for the upcoming season. We're checking we have enough equipment for multiple events, PAT Testing all the electrical equipment on the hire fleet and checking over the inflatables. Some of you may know that inflatables have to have an Annual Safety Inspection which is carried out to BS EN14960:2013. This is very much like a car MOT where the inflatables have to be inflated and checked for things such as:

  • Seam integrity

  • Structural design

  • Anchor Tie down condition

  • Correct labelling

  • Correct inflation pressures

  • Safety Step sizes etc.

The inspection is a 48 point inspection which is carried out by a qualified RPII Inspector. We're lucky at InHouse Ents to be the only event hire company in Wales to have two fully qualified inspectors "in-house". This for us as a company is amazing as it means that we can always ensure that the equipment is constantly kept safe, and we're always ahead of the game with new safety guidelines issued by the Health & Safety Executive.

As a company we use the PIPA Tagging scheme for all of our inflatables that are bounced on, slid down or played upon such as assault courses, slides and bouncy castles. Each of these units has a unique ID Tag fixed to the front of the inflatable. If you ever see one of these tags you can easily check that the equipment has a valid test certificate by inputting this number into the PIPA website 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. The Government have only just made this facility available for cars but PIPA have been doing it for inflatables for ages.

Now this all sounds great but the reason we are writing about it is there are many operators out there that don't have annual tests at all and are actually operating inflatables that the Health & Safety Executive would consider unsafe. Some operators don't even have any insurance.
If you are booking equipment with us, or anyone else we've prepared a brief checklist to ensure that you are getting the very safest inflatables for your event. Heres what you should look for:

  1. Check that whichever company you are booking has Public Liability Insurance - We actually hold £5,000,000 as this is the standard when operating within many Local Authority venues/land.

  2. Check that the equipment you are booking has an Annual Inspection Certificate issued by a suitably competent person - We choose to use the PIPA Scheme which has a full online logging system with tests carried out by our fully qualified RPII Inspectors. All our inspections are carried out in line with BS EN14960:2013. Do not accept that the operator has been going for a number of years so must be competent as this is not accepted by The Health & Safety Executive.

  3. Check that the company is able to supply you with a correct Risk Assessment for the activity that you are booking - All of our bookings come with a Written Risk Assessment as standard. Quite often we will even perform a site specific Risk Assessment before the event for larger bookings.

  4. Check that the company is able to provide you with a Written Method Statement for each activity you are booking - this is standard with all bookings placed with us!

  5. Staff Training - Check that the company you are booking has suitably trained staff - As standard all of our staff undergo a rigorous mentoring programme before they are allowed to run an event on their own. We also have training records available for inspection. As well as this we also run a day long pre season refresher for all staff to ensure that they are kept up to date with any industry changes. This is all carried out by our RPII Registered Trainer.

  6. Ensure that you are getting a correct Invoice for the event taking place and equipment hired - Quite often people will want Cash in Hand on the day. This is not the way we operate as we ensure that events are prepaid and that there is a contract in place to ensure that we know exactly what is happening before the day. Be very wary if an operator does not give you a proper invoice/receipt for your payment as they may be pocketing the cash which could in turn leave you liable for any tax which may be due.

The list above is by no means an exhaustive list of what is required but it gives you an idea of what to look for. Obviously ensuing that all our equipment is tested, being fully insured and keeping our staff up to date with all the latest industry developments in operational safety does in fact cost us extra money. This is why quite often you may find someone out there offering a cheaper service than us.

There is a good chance however its not a comparable service as they are unlikely to have all the correct documentation, policies and test certificates in place! If you do ever compare quotes with other companies be sure to ask for the above. They should have no problem sending them over to you. Copies of all our documentation is available on request, and as standard on booking.

If you do have any questions about a forthcoming event and would like us to take a look at putting together a detailed event quotation for you then do get in touch. We absolutely love making new friends and would welcome the opportunity to work with you.

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