H. B. 2532
(By Delegates Staggers, L. Phillips, Hall, Martin,
Perry, Moore, Morgan, Mahan, Moye, Pino and Williams)
[Passed March 12, 2011; in effect ninety days from passage.]
AN ACT to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by
adding thereto a new article, designated §21-15-1, §21-15-2,
§21-15-3, §21-15-4, §21-15-5, §21-15-6, §21-15-7, §21-15-8,
§21-15-9, §21-15-10, §21-15-11, §21-15-12, §21-15-13 and §21-
15-14, all relating to zipline and canopy tour regulation;
establishing legislative purpose; defining terms; setting
forth duties of zipline and canopy tour operators; requiring
liability insurance; establishing responsibilities of
participants; defining liability of zipline and canopy tour
operators; authorizing the Division of Labor to regulate
ziplines and canopy tours; authorizing the Division of Labor
to propose rules for Legislative approval; requiring permits
and inspections; authorizing the Division of Labor to charge
inspection and permit fees; authorizing the Division of Labor
to hire or contract with inspectors; authorizing the Division
of Labor to certify professional inspectors; requiring notice
of serious physical injury or fatality; requiring investigations of serious physical injuries or fatalities;
providing for service of process; authorizing the temporary
cessation of operations; providing for insurance or bond
requirements; and providing for regulation of ziplines and
canopy tours by cities and counties.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended
by adding thereto a new article, designated §21-15-1, §21-15-2,
§21-15-3, §21-15-4, §21-15-5, §21-15-6, §21-15-7, §21-15-8, §21-15-
9, §21-15-10, §21-15-11, §21-15-12, §21-15-13 and §21-15-14 to read
ARTICLE 15. ZIPLINE AND CANOPY TOUR RESPONSIBILITY ACT.
§21-15-1. Legislative purpose.
The Legislature finds that:
(1) The sport of ziplining and canopy touring is practiced by
a large number of citizens of West Virginia and also attracts to
West Virginia a large number of nonresidents, significantly
contributing to the economy of West Virginia; and
(2) There are inherent risks in the sport of ziplining and
canopy touring which should be understood by each participant and
which are essentially impossible to eliminate by the zipline or
canopy tour operator.
As used in this article:
(1) "ACCT" means the Association for Challenge Course Technology;
(2) "Canopy tours" means a facility not located in an
amusement park or carnival which is a supervised or guided
educational or recreational activity including, but not limited to,
beams, bridges, cable traverses, climbing walls, nets, platforms,
ropes, swings, towers and ziplines, which may be installed on or in
trees, poles, portable structures or buildings, or be part of self-
(3) "Challenge course standards" means the Challenge Course
Standards: Association for Challenge Course Technology, Seventh
Edition (2008), or substantially equivalent standards.
(4) "Division" means the West Virginia Division of Labor.
(5) "Employee" means an officer, agent, employee, servant, or
volunteer, whether compensated or not, whether full time or not,
who is authorized to act and is acting within the scope of his or
her employment or duties with the zipline operator.
(6) "Operator" means any person, partnership, corporation or
other commercial entity and their agents, officers, employees or
representatives, who has operational responsibility for any zipline
or canopy tour.
(7) "Participant" means any person who engages in activities
on a zipline or canopy tour individually or in a group activity
supervised by a zipline or canopy tour operator.
(8) "Special inspector" means a professional inspector who
meets the qualifications set forth in ACCT or substantially
equivalent standards and is certified by the division pursuant to section eight;
(9) "Zipline" means a commercial recreational activity where
participants, by the use of a permanent cable or rope line
suspended between support structures, enables a participant
attached to a pulley to traverse from one point to another, for the
purpose of giving the participants amusement, pleasure, thrills or
§21-15-3. Duties of a zipline or canopy tour operators.
Every operator shall:
(1) Construct, install, maintain and operate all ziplines and
canopy tours in accordance with ACCT challenge course standards or
substantially equivalent standards;
(2) Ensure that ziplines and canopy tours are inspected at
least annually by the Division or a special inspector;
(3) Train employees operating ziplines and canopy tours in
accordance with national standards associated with their
(4) Procure and maintain commercial general liability
insurance against claims for personal injury, death and property
damages occurring upon, in or about the zipline or canopy tour
which affords protection to the limit of not less than $1 million
for injury or death of a single person, to the limit of $2 million
in the aggregate, and to the limit of not less than $50,000 for
property damage; and
(5) Maintain records for a period of at least three years from
the date of the creation of the record of:
(A) Proof of insurance;
(B) Inspection reports;
(C) Maintenance records; and
(D) Participant acknowledgment of risks and duties.
§21-15-4. Responsibilities of participants; prohibited acts.
(a) It is the duty of each participant to participate as
instructed by the operator.
(b) Participants have a duty to act as would a reasonably
prudent person when engaging in the sport of ziplining or canopy
touring offered by a operator.
(c) No participant may:
(1) Use a zipline or canopy tour without the authority,
supervision and guidance of the zipline operator;
(2) Drop, throw or expel any object from a zipline or canopy
tour except as authorized by the operator;
(3) Perform any act which interferes with the running or
operation of a zipline or canopy tour; or
(4) Engage in any harmful conduct, or willfully or negligently
engage in any type of conduct with contributes to cause injury to
§21-15-5. Liability of zipline operators.
(a) A zipline operator shall be liable for injury, loss or
damage caused by failure to follow the duties and standard of care
set forth in section three of this article where the violation of
duty is causally related to the injury, loss or damage suffered.
(b) A zipline operator is not liable for any injury, loss or damage caused by the negligence of any person who is not an agent
or employee of the operator.
The division shall promulgate rules for the safe installation,
repair, maintenance, use, operation and inspection of all ziplines
and canopy tours consistent with ACCT Challenge Course Standards.
The rules shall be in addition to any existing applicable safety
orders and shall be concerned with the installation, repair,
maintenance, use, operation and inspection of ziplines and canopy
tours consistent with ACCT Challenge Course Standards. The rules
shall be promulgated and designed for the purpose of developing
ziplines and canopy tours as a recreational activity and additional
tourist attraction in West Virginia. All rules shall be
promulgated in accordance with the provisions of article three,
chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.
§21-15-7. Inspection and permit fees.
(a) The Division shall charge inspection and permit fees. The
annual permit fee is $100.00 for each zipline or canopy tour.
(1) The annual inspection fee, if an inspection is to be done
by the Division, is $100.00 for each zipline or canopy tour.
(2) The annual inspection fee, if an inspection is to be done
by the Division, is due at the time of application for the annual
(3) The Division shall waive the inspection fee for a zipline
or canopy tour whose operator provides proof of nonprofit business
status or for any zipline or canopy tour whose operator provides proof that an inspection has been completed within the last year by
a certified special inspector as provided in section nine of this
(b) The Division may charge additional inspection fees equal
to the annual inspection fee for additional inspections required as
the result of the condemnation of a device for safety standards
violations and for inspections required as a result of accidents
involving serious or fatal injury. If any operator requires an
inspection as the result of a violation of the permitting
requirements of section nine of this article, the Division shall
charge the operator $75.00 per hour in addition to the established
inspection fee, including travel time.
(c) All fees received shall be deposited in a special revenue
account in the State Treasury known as the "Amusement Rides and
Amusement Attractions Safety Fund". The Division may use moneys
from the fund for the purpose of enforcement of the provisions of
this article. Expenditures are not authorized from collections,
but are to be made only in accordance with appropriation by the
Legislature and in accordance with the provisions of article three,
chapter twelve of this code and upon fulfillment of the provisions
of article two, chapter eleven-b of this code.
(d) No inspection fee may be charged public agencies.
(a) The Division may hire or contract with inspectors to
inspect zipline or canopy tours. The Division is responsible for
oversight and review of the activities of special inspectors and may hire or contract with inspectors to review the activities of
(b) The Division shall certify all special inspectors. The
Division may suspend or revoke any certification of a special
inspector upon a showing of good cause. The Division shall propose
rules for legislative approval in accordance with the provisions of
article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code providing an
application process and minimum qualifications for certification of
special inspectors. The Division may charge an annual certification
fee not to exceed $50.00.
§21-15-9. Permits; application; annual inspection.
(a) No operator may knowingly permit the operation of a
zipline or canopy tour without a permit issued by the Division.
(b) Each year and at least fifteen days before the first time
the zipline or canopy tour is made available in this state for
public use, an operator shall apply for a permit to the Division on
a form furnished by the Division and containing any information the
Division may require.
(c) The Division shall, upon application and within ten days
of the first time the zipline or canopy tour is made available in
this state for public use, inspect the zipline or canopy tour.
(d) The Division shall inspect all zipline or canopy tours at
least once every year.
(e) The Division may conduct inspections at any
reasonable time without prior notice: Provided, That in lieu of
performing its own inspection, the Division shall accept inspection reports from special inspectors certified by the Division.
§21-15-10. Issuance of permit; certificate of inspection;
availability to public.
If, after inspection, a zipline or canopy tour, is found to
comply with the rules of the division, the division shall issue a
permit to operate. The permit shall be in the form of a certificate
of inspection and shall be kept in the records of any operator for
a three-year period and shall be readily accessible to the public
for inspection at any reasonable time at the zipline location. A
copy of the certificate, showing the last date of inspection, shall
be affixed to the zipline upon issuance, or at any other location
designated by the commissioner of the division.
§21-15-11. Notice of serious physical injury or fatality;
investigations; records available to public.
An operator of a zipline or canopy tour shall notify the
division not later than twenty-four hours after any fatality or
accident occurring as a result of the operation of the zipline or
canopy tour that results in a serious physical injury to any person
requiring medical treatment or results in a loss of consciousness
to any person. Notice to the division may be oral, written or by
electronic means, but this notice requirement in no way limits the
an operators responsibility to notify emergency or law enforcement
personnel of the incident as soon as is reasonably practicable. The
division shall investigate each fatality or accident and any
safety-related complaint involving a zipline or canopy tour in this state about which the division receives notice. Every operator of
a zipline or canopy tour shall keep a record of each accident or
fatality and the record shall be kept with the certificate of
inspection required by this article and shall be readily accessible
to the public for inspection at any reasonable time at the place
where the zipline or canopy tour is located.
§21-15-12. Service of process.
Any person, firm or corporation operating a zipline
may be served with civil process in the same manner as if the owner
or operator was a domestic or foreign corporation.
§21-15-13. Temporary cessation of the operation of a zipline or
canopy tour determined to be unsafe.
The division may order, in writing, a temporary cessation of
operation of a zipline if it has been determined after inspection
to be hazardous or unsafe. Operation may not resume until the
conditions are corrected to the satisfaction of the division.
§21-15-14. Regulation of ziplines by cities and counties.
Nothing contained in this article prevents cities and counties
from regulating a zipline or canopy tour with regard to any aspect
not relating to installation, repair, maintenance, use, operation
and inspection of a zipline or canopy tour.