The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) estimates that around 335 million people attend fixed-ride amusement parks, such as Six Flags, annually. Additionally, millions of people are enjoying mobile rides at other venues, such as fairs, carnivals and festivals. Needless to say, with tens of millions of people flocking to amusement rides, safety is a major concern.
Industry Enforcement of Amusement Park Safety Standards
In July of this year, one person was killed and seven were injured when a ride malfunctioned at the Ohio State Fair. This incident, along with others, has raised the question about amusement park safety standards. In this particular instance, about 70 rides at the fair had been inspected, and the ride that malfunctioned was not one of the four that failed to pass. The ride in question, the Fire Ball, had been examined, and no red flags were reported.
There are organizations working to ensure safety of amusement rides. For example, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is responsible for overseeing the regulation of portable amusement parks, such as the one at the Ohio State Fair. However, the responsibility of the inspection of rides varies from state to state.
IAAPA works with ASTM International, which sets amusement park safety standards. Design, manufacturing, maintenance, quality assurance, testing, operation and other standards are set by a committee of various stakeholders. Because technologies are constantly changing, safety standards are reviewed frequently.
Florida’s Amusement Park Regulations
There is no federal entity overseeing the regulations for safe amusement park rides. Each state must do that independently. Most states do have regulations, and Florida is one that does. The Florida Department of Agriculture regulates the mechanical rides at amusement parks, carnivals and fairs. Amusement parks with over 1,000 employees and trade shows are exempt from the state safety regulation.
Florida has a program requiring annual inspection of non-exempt rides. These inspections are performed by qualified inspectors or professional engineers. The ride must be certified as meeting the state standards, and the non-destructive testing (NDT) needs to be current. Inspectors such as those at American Testing Services, Ltd. are called upon to provide the rigorous examinations, to ensure safe operation of the rides.
Safety Beyond the Regulations
The amusement park industry has organizations committed to ensuring the public is safe, as far as operation of the equipment goes. Even with the regulations and inspections, there will be accidents. However, not all accidents involving amusement park rides have to do with mechanical failure. Many accidents have to do with riders or visitors not obeying safety rules.
The safety rules and regulations posted at rides are there to keep people safe. If they are not followed, the chances for injury increase significantly. It’s important to follow the rules, even when a little disobedience may be alluring. While breaking a rule may make the ride a bit more enjoyable, it could also make it deadly.
The law firm of Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A., is committed to serving the residents of the Port Charlotte, North Port and Englewood areas with excellence, in personal injury issues. If you or a loved one has suffered from injury caused by another party, please contact us for a complimentary consultation. Trust the attorneys who care with your personal injury concerns.