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How do State Fair Officials Guarantee Your Safety?

Posted by copeland on September 16, 2014

Fair or carnival ticket booth with Ferris Wheel ride in background

Earlier this week, the Oklahoma Department of Labor shut down the Turbo Jump ride at the Oklahoma State fair after a cable snapped, sending a woman to the hospital. The incident comes on the heels of another scare at the Colorado State Fair, where a harness on the Sky Fire ride broke, causing a 15-year-old rider to brace himself for an expected fall.

"First thought that ran through my head was, I'm going to die," Matt Landin told Pueblo, Colorado media reporters.

He didn’t, fortunately. But the accident did tear all of the muscles in the boy's shoulder.

While many fairgoers assume that rides at fairs and exhibitions are heavily regulated, the opposite is true. Fairs typically are subject to inspections by state safety inspectors and labor department officials, but because of the short duration of these events, inspections often happen on only a small percentage of the rides in operation. Assuming that the rides are set up and being operated correctly, many have redundancies, meaning that if one part fails, other measures are in place to protect riders from serious harm. An example is safety nets you'll see placed beneath certain types of rides.

Otherwise, fairs and similar events largely are self-regulated, with a primary focus being on meeting requirements for insurance coverage.

To help assure you and your children safely enjoy the next fair or carnival that comes to your town, personal injury and amusement park accidents attorneys with Orlando's Todd E. Copeland & Associates offer these tips:

  • Listen closely and follow all ride operators' instructions
  • Read and follow all posted warnings and instructions, including age, height and weight rules. Don't let a child who doesn't meet these rules cajole you into letting them ride anyway, and never assume that a ride is safe for a child if you simply hold onto him or her. 
  • Keep your hands and feet inside the ride and do not attempt to stand or exit a ride until it comes to a complete stop. 
  • Secure loose clothing and long hair. Should a loose item like a hat or purse fall, do not reach for it. 
  • Before a ride begins, check all restraining devices to assure that they are properly latched. 
  • Never encourage a child to ride a ride that frightens him. This increases the chance that your child will attempt to exit the ride when it's unsafe to do so. 
  • Walk - don't run- near rides and avoid horseplay.
  • Never drink and ride.

If you or your children are injured while visiting a fair, carnival or other exhibition, get medical attention immediately. Then, contact Todd E. Copeland & Associates at 407-999-8995 to help assure you get fair compensation for your injuries and losses.