It's the stuff nightmares are made of: a rollercoaster screeching to a halt at a jaw-dropping height, a safety harness coming loose, a rider thrown from a ride at speed.
But WorkSafe says the threat is all too real for a few dodgy operators whose facilities just aren't up to scratch. The watchdog inspects most rides before they open to the public but does admit there is a degree of reliance on the public to dob in danger.
According to figures published by News Corp on Monday, 32 improvement notices were handed out to operators in 2016 and early 2017 across the state including at the St Kilda Festival, Rosebud Carnival, Warrnambool Showgrounds and Springvale's Luna Festival, which is a popular Chinese New Year event.
Some of the findings include:
- Riders on the Cha-Cha were at risk of being ejected while in motion due to an easily accessible restraint system
- The hardwood and plywood used to hold up the Alpine Express Ride is in "poor condition" and could slip while the ride is in operation
- The belt guard on the tractor merry go-round was exposed, meaning riders could become caught in the machinery
- The Zipper Ride posed a risk to thrill-seekers due to a gap in the cage large enough for patrons to reach through and touch metal structures at speed
- The Free Fall Ride took its name a little too seriously: its restraint system is at risk of failure due to "unacceptable" wear and tear and changed material characteristics, meaning riders could be thrown out;
- One Ferris wheel's gate can be pried open by fingers, putting riders at risk of falling out
News Corp says other problems include electrical cables not working, emergency trip features not working, inexperienced staff or maintenance and fall hazards.
WorkSafe says it inspects most rides before shows started but could also be examined during the event, especially in the event of a public complaint.
Last October four people were killed in a horror tragedy on the Thunder River Rapids Ride at Dreamworld in Queensland, which saw the raft flip on a conveyor belt.