The UK's inspection scheme for inflatable play equipment

Scheme Update

Launch of PIPA Training, Examinations & Qualifications Scheme Update

As you may already be aware through previous press releases, we are pleased to officially inform you that PIPA has made significant headway in the development of its inspector training and examination programme that was developed with input from The Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

As of 24th November 2021, The PIPA Inspection Scheme started moving away from the existing training and examination format to develop, implement and deliver our own training courses and examinations.

Due to this, there is no longer a requirement for PIPA Inspection Bodies to be registered with any other examination provider. However, although no longer necessary, PIPA IBs may wish to continue to be registered with an alternative examination body and this does not breach the PIPA Scheme Rules.

The new scheme ensures that PIPA Inspectors and their customers receive better protection and much greater accountability. PIPA, together with HSE, has put together a comprehensive training programme with clear, concise and up to date information that will be available to all new inspectors and Inspection bodies (IBs) with clear guidance from the PIPA Leadership Group (PLG).

What does that mean for hire companies and operators?

In the short term, your annual inspections can still be carried out by your existing PIPA Inspection Body. All existing inspectors will be able to continue to inspect to BS EN 14960-1:2019 under their existing qualification until PIPA have assessed and examined all current inspectors for competency in the future.

The Benefits

The new PIPA scheme offers a robust complaints procedure and a set of directives ensuring all inspectors are following the same guidance, completing reports in the same manner and interpreting the standard in the same way. This guidance will be freely available to all facets of our industry (including manufacturers) to increase professionalism and, most importantly, improve safety.

The new scheme aims to address issues highlighted by HSE, surrounding the quality of reports, consistency of tests, audit trails and inspector support whilst offering protection & support to its IB’s. It will be supported with a catalogue of up-to-date guidance notes/technical bulletins produced by PIPA and the PLG with HSE guidance. It will raise standards for companies, end users and the wider industry.

This guidance will be freely available to all manufacturers, hire companies, operators, inspectors, and end users in order to offer clear and concise guidance to the whole industry. We aim to iron out any potential issues before manufacture and offer an independent arbitration service to help fully investigate and settle any disputes.

Expanding beyond BS EN14960 & what the future holds

The new training scheme will be fully expandable and in future set the framework for PIPA and it’s inspectors to progress into testing inflatables falling outside the scope of BS EN 14960. There will be a tiered qualification system for IB’s who choose to progress.

The PIPA auditing and mentoring programs have highlighted our progress in raising standards within the remit of inspecting and certifying inflatables. The PIPA CPD day in September 2021 demonstrated the benefit of a clear, concise & consistent approach to inspection methods which is something to be expanded upon.

As of 24th November 2021, The Amusement Device Inspection Procedures Scheme (ADIPS) and the PIPA scheme (which will now include our training and examination scheme) are currently the ONLY HSE supported registration schemes in the inflatable play industry.

PIPA & The PIPA Leadership Group

PIPA is a non-profit organisation whose sole purpose is to ‘raise safety standards in inflatable play’.

The scheme is registered as a non-profit organisation and has been since 31st August 2018. The scheme is run purely by volunteers with the support of an independent administration company.

PIPA is a 'not for profit' organisation and any surplus funds are used to develop the PIPA scheme further, to promote professionalism and safety within the inflatable play industry.

Development of the PIPA Training Scheme

PIPA is now more than an inspection scheme and is expanding the training scheme at pace. 2023, and beyond, will see the development of several courses and training events.

These include:

  • A list item.
  • Controllers
  • Operators
  • Continual Professional Development (CPD) events
  • BSEN 14960-2:2019
  • BSEN 14960-3:2019
  • Non Ride On games – games where participants do not get onto or into the game e.g. basketball shoot, football shoot, darts etc
  • Ride On games – games where participants do get onto or into the game e.g. gladiator joust, pillow bash, etc
  • PIPA Registered Trainer – PIPA will be developing its own pool of registered trainers and training centres to deliver PIPA courses.

As part of the development of the training element of PIPA the PLG Training and Development Group are looking at a number of ways of giving ‘added value’ to training courses. The first step is that PIPA is now registered with the CPDUK Accreditation service and is listed as a ‘Training Provider’ on their website.

Image TextYou can find the PIPA listing here.

The next step is to have each training course and training event independently assessed and once approved will carry an additional CPD accreditation mark. This is a major step forward for PIPA and the industry.

In addition, PIPA members will be able to log all their CPD certificates within the ‘MyPortal’ base within the CPDUK website for FREE.

PIPA is also working with a further training provider which will provide several FREE online courses for PIPA members. Future developments are being investigated and all are designed to enhance PIPA as the UK’s number 1 provider for the inflatable play industry.

Can you help make a difference?

We welcome constructive feedback from the industry going forward and we need your help in developing the systems and procedures to keep up with our ever-evolving industry at a much faster pace than we are used to. PIPA is not a closed group, it’s an open forum, and your opinions do matter.

Finally, if anyone in the industry feels they have the skills to help develop the PIPA systems, we would love to welcome you onto the PLG and urge you to contact the administration team on the details mentioned below.

• Email: info@pipa.org.uk
• Telephone: 0333 050 5327 • Address: PIPA, 301 Tea Factory, St Peters Square, Liverpool, L1 4DQ

Sign up HERE to receive relevant news and updates from PIPA.

Regards PIPA & the PLG