In 2016, three girls were seriously injured after falling more than 40 feet from a Ferris wheel. The incident occurred when rivets on a gondola carrying the girls came loose. The loose rivets led the bottom plate to drop down and catch on the frame of the Ferris wheel. It then tipped over, dumping the girls out and causing body and head injuries. As a result of this incident, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) has made a few changes. One is to hire additional inspectors for fairs across the state to ensure ride safety.
This year, Tennessee has new safety compliance officers in east, middle and west Tennessee. Next year, they will be certified to oversee the ride inspection process.
Tennessee will also be requiring ride operators to display colored decals on each ride. These decals indicate that rides have met all inspection and insurance requirements in the state.
How Safe Are the Rides at the Fair?
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says that 30,900 injuries caused by amusement park attractions led to hospitalization last year. Since 2010, 22 people have been killed by thrill rides, including the recent death at the Ohio State Fair.
Inspections are required for these rides to operate, but inspections can only do so much. These rides are subjected to repetitive unusual stress. Also, they are put up and taken down on a regular basis. Things loosen up, they break and inspectors might fail to notice defects. When a catastrophic ride failure occurs, any number of parties might be responsible. Speak to an attorney if you are hurt in a thrill ride accident.