AN ACT TO REGULATE THE OPERATION OF COMMERCIAL AND NONCOMMERCIAL CHALLENGE COURSES.
Enacts Article 47A (Challenge Courses), GS Chapter 66.
Sets forth 24 defined terms. Defines challenge course to mean a facility or facilities consisting of one or more high elements including zip line tours, canopy tours, or aerial adventure trekking parks.
Defines the scope of the Article to include the design, construction, operation, repair, and maintenance of both commercial and noncommercial operators and operations of challenge courses located in the State by an individual, corporation, company, firm, partnership, association, or State or local government entity. Excludes challenge courses that are exclusively comprised of low elements or commercial climbing structures. Requires all operators and operations of both commercial and noncommercial challenge courses to adhere to the most current specified challenge course and canopy/zip line standards approved by the American National Standards Institute.
Makes the insurance requirements set forth in GS 66-456 (Zip Line and Challenge Course Financial Responsibility) apply to persons regulated under the Article, excluding State agencies.
Requires that all new construction and major modifications, as defined, of challenge courses be built by a qualified person, as defined, or a competent person supervised by a qualified person, and meet all applicable challenge course and canopy/zip line tour standards. Requires the operator to provide documentation in the form of an acceptance inspection performed by a professional inspector for verification prior to the commencement of operations of newly constructed challenge courses or major modifications to challenge courses. Requires the acceptance inspection to be submitted to the Department of Labor (Department). Excludes from the acceptance inspection requirement: (1) construction completed and operational prior to July 1, 2019, and (2) minor modifications, as defined.
Requires physical elements of all challenge courses to be annually inspected in accordance with the current version of the challenge course and canopy/zip line tour standards. Allows inspections as often as circumstances require, but no less than once every 12 months. Requires immediate corrective action and verification by a professional inspector that items identified in the inspection have been resolved prior to submittal of the application for registration to the Department pursuant to the Article.
Requires all operator staff who are directly responsible for participant safety to successfully complete training meeting current challenge course and canopy/zip line tour standards and follow all applicable manufacturer's specifications. Provides parameters for the training and requires operators to retain documentation verifying training of all applicable staff.
Requires all commercial and noncommercial operators of challenge courses to register annually with the Department, subject to an annual fee. Prohibits public opening or operation until the owner or operator of the challenge course has registered and obtained a permit for operation from the Department.
Provides for registration requirements for challenge course applications. Requires the Department to approve, register, and issue a permit to operate the challenge course within five business days of receipt of the application if the the Article's provisions and rules adopted thereunder have been met. Clarifies that a registration application does not guarantee registration. Requires the owner or operator to obtain a permit from the Department prior to opening any challenge course for use by participants.
Requires detailed record keeping by challenge course owners and operators relating to the construction, repair, and maintenance of course operation. Requires the records be available to the Department at reasonable times, as specified. Requires the records be kept for no less than three years.
Provides for a seven-member advisory commission to be created and members voted on, according to the specified membership requirements, by owners and operators that have received registration from the Department. Requires the commission to meet annually to provide recommendations to the Department.
Authorizes the Commissioner of Labor to adopt implementing rules. Makes conforming addition to GS 95-4.
Effective July 1, 2019.
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