Tennessee Department Of Labor Outlines Safety Requirements For Zip Line Operations

Thursday, August 29, 2013
Lee Bentley
Lee Bentley

Sailing through forests at lightning speed is gaining popularity with thrill-seekers as zip lining becomes more and more common in Tennessee, and the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development aims to ensure the experience is safe for riders.

In October 2012 the TN Department of Labor established policies for zip line installation and operation, consistent with ACCT (Association for Challenge Course Technology) standards to inspect zip lines beginning in January 2013. All commercial zip line operators are required to inform the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development when they set up their businesses so they can be inspected and be granted a permit issued by the department.

“We inspect zip lines a minimum of once a year, the same frequency as we inspect amusement rides. We make sure operators have a certificate of insurance and all the paperwork to back up their daily inspections – showing that the operators inspected harnesses and platforms and other apparatus before riders used the equipment. They must also show they have met the requirement to have an annual ACCT-certified person inspect and re-certify their whole zip line system, making sure it follows industry standards,” said Lee Bentley, Amusement Device inspector manager. Before coming to the department, Mr. Bentley was the technical supervisor at Universal Studios in Orlando for 17 years where he set up Jurassic Park. He also worked for Dollywood in Sevierville for several years.

Mr. Bentley said if a zip line is found to be unsafe, it is red-tagged the same as any amusement ride, meaning it cannot be operated and the tag cannot be removed until he or someone from his division has re-inspected it. He helps the zip line businesses he inspects get up to speed and meet specifications before they re-open. He said sometimes they do not know about ACCT, so he educates them on how that association can guide them in making their operations safe.

ACCT has a book that deals with specifics such as how to attach to a tree, how to put on a cable, how to position a platform onto a tree, and how to make sure anchors are able to support weight loads. ACCT will even provide recommended vendors to set up the zip line operation.

 

Because of the increasing prevalence of commercial zip lines, the department has recently hired a second person to help inspect these amusement devices. Those interested in starting a zip line company or would like to have their existing zip line business inspected should call the Regulations and Compliance Division of the TN Department of Labor & Workforce Development at (615)741-2858.


Heartland Ranch To Fund Interactive Arcade At Orange Grove Center

Orange Grove Center, Heartland Ranch and UTC Department of Health Promotion and Human Performance announce the grand opening of the Heartland Arcade at Orange Grove Center, Isidore Tyber Building,  2325 Shady Ln.  on Friday from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Funded by the Heartland Ranch, the arcade will provide interactive kinetic video and arcade gaming opportunities for individuals ... (click for more)

'Cops For A Cause' In Support Of 2nd Annual Chattanooga Autism Awareness Walk

The 2nd Annual Chattanooga Autism Awareness Walk will take place on Saturday, Nov. 8 at Coolidge Park with a starting time of 10:45 a.m.,  with children’s activities available starting at 8 a.m. The route for the 2 miles total walk will start at Coolidge Park and continue over the pedestrian bridge, around the art district and then back to Coolidge Park. For this ... (click for more)

Chickamauga Lock To Reopen As Soon As Next Thursday

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District  plans to reopen Chickamauga Lock to all navigation traffic as early as next Thursday. An inspection of the upper gate anchorage and a repair plan were completed today. Chickamauga Lock closed on Monday after a routine inspection revealed a crack in the anchorage of the upper gate. Lt. Col. John Hudson, commander ... (click for more)

Downtown Chattanooga Apartment Complex That Brought $3 Million Profit Exempt From Most Taxes Until 2022 Under PILOT

A downtown Chattanooga apartment complex that recently was sold at a $3 million profit is exempt from most property taxes through 2022 under a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement.   No payment of school taxes was included in the deal for Walnut Commons at Walnut Street and Aquarium Way.   The only taxes due on the property for the next eight ... (click for more)

A Vote For Education Is Critical In Tennessee

In a state where just 28 percent of eighth graders are proficient in math and 33 percent are proficient in reading according to national assessments, education is deserving of more attention in 2014 elections. Across the country, more parents are making informed decisions about their child’s education, but for Volunteer State parents without resources, choices are difficult to come ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden In November

As the first day of November arrives today, it is cold enough in my garden to officially certify that fall has fell! There are even signs of ice on the ground but there is a bounty crop of acorns so, in keeping with our monthly tradition, some will get shiny acorns and others will get a chunk of cold ice: A SHINY ACORN for Patriots football coach Bill Belichick for scoffing at ... (click for more)