This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Commercial Bungee Jumping Safety Act."
As used in this article:
"Bungee jumping" means a commercial recreational activity where participants jump off a platform or other area, whether natural or man-made with a cord or other elastic device attached or otherwise affixed or connected to the jumper in order to prevent the jumper from striking the ground or earth below the jump platform, and which activity is engaged in for the purpose of giving the jumpers amusement, pleasure, thrills or excitement.
The Division of Labor shall promulgate rules for the safe installation, repair, maintenance, use, operation and inspection of all commercial bungee jumping activities. The rules shall be in addition to any existing applicable safety orders and shall be concerned with the elasticity of cords relative to a jumper's weight; loss of cord elasticity after repetitive jumps; clear area in which the cord and jumper may swing following a jump; risks of falling off of a jump platform, both by customers and employees, equipment quality; engineering force stresses, safety devices and preventative maintenance. The rules shall be promulgated and designed for the purpose of developing commercial bungee jumping 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.
The division shall determine a schedule of inspection and permit fees, which fees shall not exceed $100 per commercial bungee jumping site per year. All fees received shall be deposited in the General Revenue Fund. No fees may be charged to public agencies.
The division may hire or contract with inspectors to inspect bungee jumping sites.
(a) An operator or owner shall not knowingly permit the operation of a commercial bungee jumping event without a permit issued by the division.
(b) Commercial bungee jumping sites will be inspected at intervals to be determined by the Division of Labor, but in no event, shall a commercial bungee jumping site be inspected less frequently than once per year.
If, after inspection, a commercial bungee jumping site, together with the jump platform and equipment, 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 or owner for a three-year period and shall be readily accessible to the public for inspection at any reasonable time at the commercial bungee jumping site or where a commercial bungee jump is located. A copy of certificate, showing the last date of inspection, shall be affixed to the bungee jumping platform upon issuance, or at any other location designated by the commissioner of the Division of Labor: Provided, That the division shall take final action upon all completed permit applications within thirty days of receipt if the application is uncontested, or within ninety days if the application is contested.
An owner or operator of a commercial bungee jumping site shall notify the division not later than twenty-four hours after any fatality or accident occurring as a result of the operation of the commercial bungee jumping site that results in a serious physical injury requiring medical treatment or results in a loss of consciousness. The notice may be oral or written. The division shall investigate each fatality or accident and any safety related complaint involving a commercial bungee jumping site in this state about which the division receives notice. Every owner or operator of a commercial bungee jumping site 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 commercial bungee jumping site or where the attraction is located.
Any person, firm or corporation operating a commercial bungee jumping site may be served with civil process in the same manner as if the owner or operator was a domestic or foreign corporation.
The division may order, in writing, a temporary cessation of operation of a commercial bungee jumping site if it has been determined after inspection to be hazardous or unsafe. Operation shall not resume until the conditions are corrected to the satisfaction of the division.
No person may operate a commercial bungee jumping site unless at the time there is in existence (a) a policy of insurance approved by the division and obtained from an insurer authorized to do business in this state in an amount of not less than $300,000 per person and $1 million in the aggregate for each commercial bungee jumping site or jump platform location insuring the owner or operator against liability for injury suffered by persons jumping from the jump platform or by persons in, on, under or near the jump platform or commercial bungee jumping site, or (b) a bond in a like amount, as approved by the division: Provided, That the aggregate liability of the surety under any bond shall not exceed the face amount thereof, or (c) cash or other security acceptable to the division. Satisfactory evidence of insurance, bond or other security shall accompany the permit application.
Nothing contained in this article prevents cities and counties from regulating commercial bungee jumping sites or events with regard to any aspect not relating to installation, repair, maintenance, use, operation and inspection of the commercial bungee jump site, jump platforms or equipment.
Any operator or owner who knowingly permits the operation of a commercial bungee jumping site or event in violation of the provisions of section six of this article is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $1,000, imprisoned in the county jail not more than twelve months, or both fined and imprisoned.