The Professional Inflatable Play Association (PIPA) is an inspection scheme set up by the inflatable play industry to ensure that children’s inflatable play equipment conforms to recognised standards. The scheme features an online database of safe inflatables that can be accessed by scanning a unique QR code located on any PIPA inspected inflatable.
The PIPA scheme is supported by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) who were consulted at every stage of its development.
Why do we need a scheme?
While inflatable play equipment is normally a very safe and pleasurable way for children to exercise whilst having fun, poorly designed or badly worn equipment can increase the risk of injury to its users.
Under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, manufacturers, hirers, operators and users have a responsibility to ensure minimum risk. Clearly that risk is much more easily managed if the equipment conforms to accepted standards and has been regularly inspected. The PIPA scheme provides a means for everyone in the supply chain to know that the equipment itself is safe, both on initial use and thereafter through a scheme of annual inspections.
BS EN 14960 is the European standard to which inflatable play equipment is inspected through the PIPA scheme. British Standards are not strictly defined by UK law but following them is regarded as ‘best practice’ and would usually be sufficient to demonstrate compliance with the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.
These standards, despite not being law, are what have and would be used to prosecute operators in the event of an incident, which has led to operator imprisonment.
How does the scheme work?
Each piece of conforming equipment supplied by a reputable manufacturer or importer is ‘tagged’ with a unique number which is attached to the inflatable throughout its life. This tag is linked to an online database of safe inflatables that can be accessed by scanning a unique QR code located on any PIPA tested inflatable.
This central database is where the results of the inflatables’ initial test and subsequent annual tests are recorded. In addition, a report is issued with each inspection and can be viewed online at any time.
All users, operators and members of the public have access to the PIPA database via the Internet (www.pipa.org.uk) and can therefore check on the inspection status of any tagged equipment.