Department of Labor
The Illinois Department of Labor (the "Department") recently adopted amendments to regulations governing safety standards and guidelines for zip lines operating in the State of Illinois. 56 Ill. Adm. Code 6000. The amendments add multiple definitions, set forth safety requirements, and outline site plan and design report requirements. The statutory authority for these changes is the Carnival and Amusement Rides Safety Act, 430 ILCS 85. The new rules became effective March 27, 2013.
The Department included new definitions in the general definitions of Subpart 10. For example, a zipline is defined as "a system consisting of a pulley or trolley that is suspended on a cable mounted on an incline allowing a rider to travel from the departure point to an arrival point by holding on to, or attaching to, the pulley or trolley." 56 Ill. Adm. Code 6000.10. In this subpart, the Department also defined carabiners, Certified Arborists, Licensed Professional Engineer, and Licensed Structural Engineer. Id.
Further, the Department included new definitions in Subpart 350, which is specific to zip lines. For example, a mobile zip line means "a zip line that is designed or adapted to be moved from one location to another and is not fixed at a single location," and a canopy tour means "a guided exploration or transit of the forest canopy, most commonly by means of a series of zip lines or aerial walkways with platforms." 56 Ill. Adm. Code 6000.350(a).
All zip lines must have a design report and be reviewed and sealed by both a licensed professional engineer and a licensed structural engineer. 56 Ill. Adm. Code 6000.350(d)(1). The design report shall consider: static and dynamic loads on anchors and components; fatigue limits for structures; protection against metallic corrosion and wood rot; clearances and hazard analysis; platform, walkway, ladder and foundation size and load ratings; and an anchor and foundation analysis. 56 Ill. Adm. Code 6000.350(d)(1)(A)-(G). Fixed zip lines must be inspected annually by a third party, and the inspection results must be made available to the Department. 56 Ill. Adm. Code 6000.350(d)(2).
The amendments also include general compliance criteria for zip lines. 56 Ill. Adm. Code 6000.350(e). For example, zip lines must be composed of flexible steel wire rope, have no exposed wires or strands within reach of participants, and may not be spliced. 56 Ill. Adm. Code 6000.350(e)(1)(A). Safety requirements are also required for the zip line arrival point and the zip line departure platform. 56 Ill. Adm. Code 6000.350(e)(2)-(3).
Further, each site "shall have an operating manual for the safe operations of zip line activities on that site" that includes, at least, 17 enumerated items. 56 Ill. Adm. Code 6000.350(f)(3)(A)-(Q). Operators are prohibited from using the Department's approval "in any advertisement, brochures, commercials, TV or radio show, or newspaper, or in any other public manner." 56 Ill. Adm. Code 6000.350(i).