When a company, organisation or individual makes available any equipment in return for payment, they become subject to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This act places a duty of care on everyone involved in the transaction. This means that the operator, the operator's employees, the hirer, the hirer's employees as well as the owner or manager of the premises should do everything possible to ensure the safe use of the equipment.
In addition the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) require that all work equipment, and that includes inflatable play, must be tested by a competent person at suitable intervals (usually once a year).
PIPA helps operators conform with the law by defining a 'competent person' as one who has passed a specialised examination and is registered with the Register of Play Inspectors International (RPII).
Inspection by a competent person prior to first use and annually thereafter provides fundamental confidence in the equipment itself.
PIPA is one of only two inspection schemes recognised by the HSE (the other is ADIPS).
Operators using other testing schemes or methods may be required to demonstrate how such procedures equal or better the accepted best practice. Testers with no formal qualifications, however well experienced, would probably not be able to satisfy a court of their competence.
BS EN 14960
The European standard for inflatable play equipment is BS EN 14960.
The published standard is subject to copyright so cannot be made available from this site. It can be purchased here.
The PIPA scheme is designed to help you meet your obligations under Health and Safety legislation. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and subsequent Regulations require all inflatable play equipment that is "designed to be used by members of the public for entertainment purposes either as a slide or for bouncing upon" to be tested at suitable intervals by a competent person.
Bouncy castles, inflatable slides and obstacle courses are covered by the scheme, but bungee runs, and rodeo bulls are not.
Other types of device not covered by PIPA include:
- Devices classified as toys
- Devices designed for use in pools
- Privately owned devices which users do not pay to use