By Wendy Osher
Companion bills seeking the regulation of zipline and canopy tours in Hawaii are scheduled to be heard by respective committees today.
The bills acknowledge the economic contribution of the industry, but also identify inherent risks associated with the tours.
Both versions of the bill seek the establishment of standards and regulations, requiring operators to obtain annual inspection permits from the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.
The legislation comes on the heels of a zipling accident that claimed the life of a Lahaina man and critically injured a co-worker last year on the Big Island. Both men were employed by a company that builds and maintains zipline courses and were testing a course in Hilo when the accident occurred.
Senate Bill 2433 and House Bill 2060 would require operators to construct, install, maintain and operate all ziplines and canopy tours in accordance with challenge course standards.
Under the bills, operators would be required to have the tours inspected at least annually by the department of Labor and Industrial Relations, or a qualified challenge course professional inspector that is certified by the department.
Employers must also procure and maintain commercial general liability insurance against claims for personal injury, death and property damages that affords protection of no less than $1 million for the injury or death of an individual, and $2 million in the aggregate, as well as $50,000 for property damage.
Under the proposed legislation, an operator must also maintain five years of records including proof of insurance, inspection reports, maintenance records, and participant acknowledgement of risks and duties.
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