Safety Inspectors Busy Certifying Rides At Tulsa State Fair

Wednesday, September 25th 2013, 5:08 pm
By: News On 6

There will be about 30 new rides on the midway at the Tulsa State Fair this year.

But before anyone climbs on board, those rides go through a series of inspections.

Oklahoma Labor Department began looking at the rides over the weekend and will continue to until the fair is finished.

Inspectors say each ride must be certified before it carries its first passenger, then go through another test every day.

Workers are getting rides ready for Thursday's opening night.

"Safety is of paramount importance, not just to parents, but to the people who operate these rides," labor commissioner Mark Costello said.

"We make sure that all these lap bars work and make sure they don't come open," chief ride inspector Randy McGinnis said.

He says five full-time ride inspectors from the Department of Labor are at the Tulsa State Fair and will look at everything from the gates that surround the rides to the screws that hold them together.

"Any sweeps that might be bent, any pins that might be missing, any bolts that may be wore that need to be replaced," McGinnis said.

9/25/2013 Related Story: Police To Enforce On-Street Parking Ordinances During Tulsa State Fair

Each ride goes through a daily inspection and every ride operator has to be certified.

Costello said the rides in Tulsa are straight from Oklahoma City and the State Fair of Oklahoma where they achieved the highest safety ratings in the nation.

Costello said ride safety has been the top of everyone's mind since the tragedy at Six Flags in Arlington this summer.

A 52-year old woman died after falling out of her car onboard the Texas Giant.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has reported the woman weighed more than 200 pounds and investigators are looking to see if that prevented her from being properly secured.

Costello says Texas doesn't have any state inspectors and leaves ride safety up to the individual operator.

He also says it's important for riders to follow the posted guidelines before getting on board.

"These are thrilling machines, they're meant to be thrilling," he said. "But … they expect people to act in a prudent manner and follow the recommended standards."

Costello adds that 90 percent of ride accidents are because either the ride operator or rider did something wrong.

In addition to the state inspectors, the company that manages the rides has its own inspectors who look at each ride every day.