Cableway installations - Yleistä
The laws governing cableway installations designed for carrying people were reformed in 2018. These kinds of cableway installations include, for example, ski lifts. Persons responsible for cableway installations must draw up safety reports and ensure that the installations are regularly inspected. All documents relating to the installations must also be retained.
If a cableway installation is used by members of staff, it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure their safety pursuant to separate laws.
Factors affecting the safety of cableway installations:
- the surrounding conditions
- the quality of the industrial goods supplied
- the way in which the goods are assembled
- the way in which the system is installed on-site
- the way in which the system is monitored during operation
Typical accidents involving cableway installations and underlying causes
Cableway installations may pose a risk of serious accidents due to reasons linked to
- the choice of site
- the system of transport itself
- the structures
- the way in which the system is operated, and
- the way in which the system is maintained.
Competence of cableway operators and the person responsible
There are various risks involved in the operation and maintenance of cableway installations. This is why cableway installations may only be operated by qualified and experienced personnel. It is the employer’s duty to appoint someone to be personally responsible for every cableway installation. Only individuals aged over 18 who are certified to operate cableway installations can be put in charge. All cableway operators certified under section 16, subsection 3 of the old Government Decree (253/2002) (in Finnish) must update their certification within five years of the entry into force of the new Government Decree (220/2018) on 21 April 2018. In other words, these cableway operators must get recertified by 21 April 2023 or they will no longer be able to act as a person responsible for a ski lift.
The Finnish Ski Area Association runs ski lift operator training courses (in Finnish) every autumn. Certification is provided by Inspecta Sertifiointi Oy (in Finnish).
Duties of persons responsible for cableway installations
It is the developer’s duty to appoint a specific person to be responsible for any new cableway installation. This person must carry out an analysis of the safety of the installation and record the findings in a safety report. The safety analysis must, among other things,
- ensure that the design and configuration of the cableway installation takes account of the local surroundings and the most adverse situations in order to ensure satisfactory safety conditions
- cover all safety aspects of the cableway installation
- make it possible to identify risks liable to occur during the operation of the cableway installation
- cover the safety devices and related subsystems and their effects on the cableway installation so as to ensure the operation of the safety devices in the event of a breakdown or a failure
- be used to draw up an inventory of risks and dangerous situations and to recommend the measures envisaged to deal with such risks, and
- be used to determine the list of subsystems and safety components to be incorporated into the cableway installation.
A comprehensive list of issues to be addressed in the course of a safety analysis is provided in Article 8 of Regulation (EU) No 2016/424.
The person responsible must also submit to the authority or body responsible for authorising the cableway installation
- the safety report
- an EU declaration of conformity and other documents relating to the conformity of subsystems and safety components
- documentation concerning the characteristics of the cableway installation
- a description of the necessary conditions, including any restrictions on operation, and
- full details for the servicing, supervision, adjustment and maintenance of the cableway installation.
Ski lift inspections and occupational safety
Ski lifts must undergo the following inspections:
- A commissioning inspection must be carried out when a new cableway installation is entered into service for the first time and whenever significant changes are introduced.
- Periodic inspections must be carried out once a year during the ski season; however, every fourth annual inspection must take place when there is no snow on the ground.
- Thorough periodic inspections are required if the installation is being operated close to the design limits specified by the manufacturer or, if these are not known, when 15 years have passed since the installation was first entered into service.
Cableway installations must not be used if the requisite commissioning or periodic inspections have not been carried out. The employer must also ensure that the condition of all cableway installations is tracked through at least monthly maintenance inspections and daily in-service inspections.
Other cableway installations
- Moving carpets and zip wires strung across bodies of water for leisure purposes are subject to the provisions of the Finnish Government Decree on the Safe Use and Inspection of Work Equipment (403/2008).
- Horizontal and vertical lifts are subject to the provisions of the Finnish Lift Safety Act (1134/2016) (in Finnish). Compliance with the Lift Safety Act is enforced by the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes).
A comprehensive list of installations to which the laws on cableway installations do not apply is provided in Article 2 of Regulation (EU) No 2016/424.