In the other, a woman zipped too quickly and hit a tree. That incident report stated that she was hospitalized for a shoulder injury.
The operator was not at fault in either of those instances, according to the Division of Labor.
West Virginia law states that zipline operators are liable for injuries or death caused by failure to follow specified duties. However, the law also says, "There are inherent risks in the sport ... which should be understood by each participant and are essentially impossible to eliminate by the zipline or canopy tour operator."
River Riders CEO Matt Knott said his resort sees about 10,000 zipliners each year, and although operators were required to follow ACCT standards prior to the legislation, the new rule acts as an extra safety net.
"Now the state has some government oversight, whereas before [operators] only faced legal recourse from a civil aspect if something happened. We always had outside inspectors coming in for insurance purposes, but now the state has the power to close your operation if they feel it is unsafe," Knott said. "This more clearly defines the roles of the participants and the operators and keeps just anyone from running backyard operations.
"Most states still have no specific regulations for ziplines. This is safer for everyone."
Operators also must submit an annual inspection report and application for permit renewal.
More than 1 million people are expected to ride ziplines in the United States this year, according to Borishade. He said his group "stresses the importance of having well-trained staff, annual inspections and updating operating manuals and procedures."
"Division of Labor compliance officers conduct random inspections at least once a year to confirm the operations are able to document compliance with permits, inspections, employee training and other requirements," said Catherine Zacchi, spokeswoman for the West Virginia Department of Commerce.
"The permits and certificates of inspection show they comply with safety standards," she said. "That is good for the adventurous tourist, the individual business and for the industry as a whole across the state."
Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.m...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5100.