Broken ride at Ohio State Fair highlights amusement park dangers

Every year, millions of people go on rides at carnivals, fairs and amusement parks. Considering the fact that only a small fraction of ride attendees are injured, the risk may seem minimal. However, the risk of serious injury or death still exists with rides in Ohio and elsewhere, especially with temporary attractions that may involve less strenuous safety standards and employees without sufficient training.

This past summer, the tragic death of a high school senior at the Ohio State Fair made national news. Reportedly, a spinning ride broke apart and sent a seating compartment flying, injuring seven other riders in addition to the fatality. Recently, authorities decided not to fine the ride’s operators, Amusements of America, despite the operators failing to file a report of the accident to state officials within the mandated 24 hours.

About 12 children each day are treated in hospital emergency rooms across the country for injuries resulting from amusement park rides. Rides are considered safer at permanent locations, such as Disneyland and Six Flags; however, officials warn that there is a greater risk with rides located at fairs and carnivals. Many workers who assemble and operate carnival rides work under poor conditions and may lack the training necessary to ensure riders’ safety. Riders failing to observe safety precautions, such as age and height restrictions, may also contribute to injuries.

Most rides are regularly inspected for signs of wear and damage. Additionally, regulations help improve rider safety. However, many regulations vary from state to state, which might lead to less safe conditions at some temporary attractions.

Source: Dayton Daily News, "Ohio State Fair ride tragedy: State decides not to fine, sanction Fire Ball operator," Dec. 1, 2017

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