|Popular Adventure Activities Are Governed by a New StandardThe Professional Ropes Course Association Announces ANSI Approved American National Standards for Ziplines, Rope Challenge Courses, Canopy Tours and Aerial Adventure Parks.
Professional Ropes Course Association (PRCA)
Contacts: Steven Gustafson, President of the PRCA, (815) 637-2969(815) 637-2969
Michael Barker, Vice President of the PRCA, (203) 464-9784(203) 464-9784
March 17, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Popular Adventures: Ziplines, Canopy Tours, Ropes Courses and Aerial Adventure Parks are Now governed by a new ANSI National Standard
THE AMERICAN NATIONAL STANDARDS INSTITUTE (ANSI) APPROVES AMERICAN NATIONAL STANDARDS FOR ZIPLINES, CANOPY TOURS, AERIAL ADVENTURE PARKS AND ROPE CHALLENGE COURSES DEVELOPED AND MANAGED BY THE PROFESSIONAL ROPES COURSE ASSOCIATION (PRCA)
ANSI APPROVED National Standards Provide much needed Safety Guidance for the Largely Self-Regulated Industry
The standard Enables course owners and managers to conduct in-house training and Certify their own staff
On March 7, 2014 the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) announced (pg 17) their approval of the first consensus-based American National Standard for construction, inspection, maintenance and employee training/certification governing the Zipline, Canopy Tour, Ropes Challenge Course and Aerial Adventure Parks industry. The Professional Ropes Course Association (PRCA), the ANSI Accredited Standards Developer, will manage the new ANSI-PRCA Standards as Secretariat.
Says Mike Barker, Vice President of the PRCA Board of Directors: “This new ANSI Standard provides a consistent reference and much needed safety guidance for State Regulators, Inspectors, Insurers and Industry Professionals.” He adds, “Moreover, this standard enables course and tour owners/managers to conduct their own in-house training, certify their own staff and designate qualified persons to conduct course inspections – expensive services that previously required performance by a limited national vendor pool that couldn’t adequately service the entire industry.”
Steve Gustafson, President of the PRCA adds: “ANSI standards are subjected to an extensive vetting process, including consensus involvement by materially affected parties in the standards development process.” He adds, “The Professional Ropes Course Association (PRCA) is the Accredited Standards Developer and Secretariat of the ANSI approved Standards. Having worked for the past nine years to develop the standard, I’m proud of this accomplishment. The positive contributions that this standard brings to benefit safety for the public and for our industry are huge!”
The PRCA became the first ANSI Accredited Standards Developer (pg 17) for Ropes Courses, Ziplines, Canopy Tours and Aerial Adventure Parks in 2005. This accreditation ensures that the PRCA’s process for the development of the new standard was in compliance with ANSI Essential Requirements (E.R.) which include openness, lack of dominance, balance of industry representation, coordination and harmonization, transparency, public input, and avoid conflict or duplication of other previously announced candidate or published ANS.
Based on ANSI findings that no other candidate standards or ANS had been published to date for the industry, the PRCA Project Initiation Notification (PINS) was accepted and published by ANSI (pg 14). Since that time, the PRCA Candidate ANS underwent one informal and three (including the changes review) formal public review periods. Hundreds of volunteers presented over one thousand comments for consideration and review. During this process, the PRCA Consensus Body harmonized the Candidate ANS with European Standards, Australia/NZ Standards, ASTM, and other standards and regulations as needed. To further foster harmonization and balance, the PRCA offered the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) the opportunity to join with the PRCA and publish a joint standard, with fifty/fifty shared roles and profit sharing splits in addition to three voting positions on the PRCA Consensus Body, and one voting position on the continuous Standards Management Committee. On repeated occasions ACCT refused all offers of participation in the process.
It is the PRCA’s understanding that ACCT has chosen to file an appeal with ANSI per the appeal process afforded to all persons who have completed a standard developer’s appeal process. ACCT must show proof that ANSI did not follow their own procedures when approving the American National Standard. Further, ACCT states that they filed a successful appeal last July with the PRCA. This is partly true, yet disingenuous. While the ACCT appeal was granted on one out of three issues, this only meant that the PRCA had to clarify the fee structure for the PRCA appeal process, allowing interested parties an opportunity to file their appeals for a second time. This was conducted and no appeals were filed. In two previously filed appeals, both independent appeals panels found in favor of the PRCA stating that the procedures had been followed. This then cleared the way for the PRCA to submit the candidate standard for consideration this year, which was ultimately approved by ANSI as the American National Standard for the industry.
While the ACCT and others have the right to appeal and make accusations of an inability to participate, facts point to numerous invitations and public notices placed on industry listservs, the PRCA website, emails to the ACCT’s leadership and all of the ACCT PVM’s, emails to other materially affected Associations (BSA, ACA, GSA, etc), and published in the ANSI Standards Action Newsletter, to review and comment on the candidate standard, participate on the Consensus Body, and serve on the Standards management Committee or even participate in a joint standard. These facts go directly to an October 2006 decision by ANSI, whereas ANSI instructed the PRCA to view the ACCT as a materially affected Association and for both associations to make good faith efforts to harmonize with the ACCT in cooperative standard development. The PRCA did honor and respect ANSI’s decision by offering to share in a joint standard and serve on the PRCA Consensus Body, the ultimate gesture of goodwill and harmonization. Now, the ACCT must explain to ANSI why it has barred the PRCA from their process and other of their actions; and perhaps they will have to address their industry controlling actions of years past.
Meanwhile, the ANSI/ PRCA 1.0-.3 – 2014 stands as the ANSI approved American National Standards while any ACCT ANSI level appeal is conducted. This is now between ACCT and ANSI.
If you want more information on the American National Standard, what it is, the processes involved, how it applies, how it relates to the old PRCA and ACCT standards and how it saves you money go to www.prcainfo.org and click on Frequently Asked Questions on the
American National Standard ANSI/PRCA 1.0-.03 – 2014
If your materially affected association would like to serve on the PRCA Standards management Committee or if you just want more information, please contact us at info