A total of 13 rides at the Dreamworld theme park in Australia were declared unfit during a safety inspection four years ago.
Four people tragically lost their life on the Thunder River Rapids ride this week when a conveyor belt is believed to have malfunctioned, tipping over a raft and crushing its occupants.
Two men and two women lost their lives, including a mum whose children watched as she died.
Now, in safety documents unveiled by the workplace regulator of Queensland, it has emerged that air compressors on 13 rides, including Thunder River, were labelled as “not fit for service”.
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has now launched an in-depth investigation into how the accident happened. It will be asked probing questions about how Dreamworld maintained its rides throughout the park.
Following the accident, a spokeswoman for Dreamworld said the park had completed a full safety audit, including at the Rapids ride, at the end of September.
But union officials said this awful tragedy followed early concerns about safety and maintenance. Ben Swan, who is the secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union, said that he had been approached with worries over the last year and a half about maintenance issues at Dreamworld.
He said that specifics of issues were not entered into, but that a number of issues had been highlighted about Dreamworld rides “from a very general point of view”.
The documents, which have been made public by the Queensland Office of Industrial Relations, listed a raft of complaints, some of which led to inspectors being sent to the park.
At the end of 2012, inspectors looked at the air receivers on 13 rides. These are part of air compression systems which store compressed air. They’re integral for the operation of many rides, particularly those where carriages or cars are sent at speed, for example on a rollercoaster.
Air compressors can explode and cause either serious injuries or even death if they aren’t properly looked after or if they aren’t operated properly.
Inspectors said they issued a list of actions which needed to be taken to correct compressors which were not fit for service.
Dreamworld engineers are believed to have said at the time that their air compressors were exempt from any requirements because they formed part of the park. They produced no evidence that they had a quality management system in place or kept records of any previous inspection reports.

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He is a freelance journalist who has actively worked on various environmental issues. He had covered the Clean Water Act amendments and the Superfund legislation which ultimately became the basis for the Clean Air Act which was promulgated in 1990. After that, he also covered the Food Quality Protection Act which was promulgated in 1996. As a freelance environmental reporter he also delved into the oil issue in North Dakota which altered the energy portfolio of the nation. He is also passionate about the various climate changes occurring around us and has reported about the harmful effects of global warming on the environment.