The Oklahoma Department of Labor is in Tulsa to inspect the rides at the Tulsa State Fair, which opens Thursday.
The Department of Labor has seven state-employed inspectors who are responsible for inspecting the rides and all their components to ensure they meet the required safety standards, said Commissioner of Labor Melissa McLawhorn Houston at a news conference Tuesday.
The inspectors have been at the Tulsa State Fair since September 24 to inspect the rides, even as they were coming off the trucks and being set up by North American Midway Entertainment, which is this year's ride company.
"They were here as those rides came off the truck to see the construction of the rides from the ground up. They were looking at the struts, the belts, the cables, the bolts, all those different parts of the rides to make sure they meet the ASTM standards," she said.
With amusement ride safety and several incidents in the news this summer, the Department of Labor said it wants people to understand that there are only 30 states that regulate the amusement ride industry.
Oklahoma is one of the 30, and the state takes it even further in that Oklahoma adheres to the highest level of ride safety regulations, McLawhorn Houston
"Within those 30 states there are different levels of regulation that take place," McLawhorn Houston said. "In some states, it might just be turning in an insurance policy. In some states, it might be self-reporting and turning in inspections that they’ve had done."
And some states have no regulation at all, she said.
McLawhorn Houston said it’s important to remember that amusement ride safety is a partnership.
"The ride owners are doing their part, the ride operators will be expected to do their part, we are doing our part at the Oklahoma Department of Labor, but its important for the public to do their part as well," she said.
It's important for people to pay attention to ride requirements and restrictions listed at each ride, but it's especially important for parents to pay attention to the height requirements on the rides, McLawhorn Houston said.
"If a ride says you have to be this height to ride, that’s not a test of maturity, that’s an actual engineering schematic so its important that patrons follow those guidelines as well," she said. "Together, we can work in partnership to make sure we have a fun and safe fair season."