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New York State Department of Labor

Commissioner Reardon Announces Amusement Ride Safety Inspections Underway

State Labor Department and Independent Investigators Verify Rides Have Passed Safety Inspection

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Albany, NY (June 22, 2018) -

State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon announced today that safety inspections of amusement rides around the state are underway in advance of the summer fair season.  The Commissioner also reminded the public to follow all safety guidelines when enjoying amusement rides.

“As the summer recreation season approaches, it’s important for the public to know that the amusement devices we all enjoy are safe for use,” said Commissioner Reardon. “I encourage concerned parents to utilize the various online resources available and keep a look out for the Department of Labor’s tags on the rides themselves to verify they’ve been inspected. Credit is due to the hardworking inspectors in the field who carefully examine each and every ride to make sure they’re safe for use.”

The New York State Department of Labor inspects all rides at stationary parks outside of New York City at least once a year and inspects rides at traveling carnivals or fairs every time the rides are set up in a new location. A ride cannot legally operate without a permit from the Department of Labor. In 2017, the Department of Labor performed 1,679 inspections on 8,418 amusement devices and issued 2784 orders to correct violations.

The Department of Labor inspections are 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 assembled and inspected again to ensure that all components have been assembled and secured properly.
  • The operator of the ride is required to run the ride, and it is inspected once more while operating. The person operating the ride is also observed to ensure that he or she is operating the ride correctly.

The Department of Labor 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.

Ride safety experts also issued a number of recommendations to make a day enjoying amusement rides as fun and safe as possible:

  • Read and follow all warnings and instructions.
  • Keep hands and feet inside the ride while it is moving.
  • Don't reach toward fences or barriers.
  • Secure loose clothing and long hair.
  • Don't drink and ride; you put yourself and others at risk.
  • Don't stand or attempt to leave a ride until it comes to a complete stop.
  • Check restraining devices to make sure they are properly latched. If the equipment does not work, exit the ride and immediately report the issue on the Department of Labor’s Safety Inspections of Amusement Rides web page.
  • Avoid horseplay; it's dangerous.
  • Never attempt to unlock or loosen a restraining device until instructed by the operator.

More safety tips for parents and children are available on the Ride Safe NY website.

For a list of the events that have been inspected and the businesses that own them, broken down by region, see the Department of Labor’s Amusement Parks and Event Inspection & Violations web page. Rides are inspected in the days leading up to each event, and the database is updated within two weeks of every event. If a ride is operating, it has passed inspection.

Anyone who wishes to report an unsafe ride is encouraged to contact the New York State Department of Labor at 1-888-4-NYSDOL.

See B-Roll footage of recent ride inspections at the Great Escape in Lake George, New York.

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