An inside look at fair ride inspections – New York News

It’s the start of summer carnival season, and parents bringing their children to this week’s Saratoga County Fair or any other fair through the fall have reasonable assurances that the big Ferris wheels, spinning Wave Swingers and giant slides are safe to ride.


The kind of portable amusement rides that move from fair to fair by the truckload, tearing down in one town Sunday night and ready for business Tuesday morning, must pass a state Department of Labor safety inspection each time they are set up at a new location. 

Amusements of America was setting up Monday at the Saratoga County Fair, which opens Tuesday in Ballston Spa.

Department of Labor spokesman Cullen Burnell said inspections involve a three-step process: As rides are brought into a fair or festival location, each individual part and component of each individual ride is inspected for defects; the ride is inspected again after assembly; and the operator is required to run the ride, and it is then inspected again. The person operating the ride is also observed to be sure they are operating it correctly.

The inspector places inspection tags on each ride after it has passed inspection. No ride that fails an inspection is permitted to operate, but these tags allow families to see plainly that the ride has been inspected and deemed safe. Information on the tag includes the name of the ride and the name of the inspector, the date it was inspected and whether it passed or failed, Burnell said.

Inspectors typically work solo, except at large events like the New York State Fair, Burnell said.

In 2016, the Department of Labor performed nearly…

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