The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) today announced that safety inspections of amusement rides statewide have been underway as the peak of fair season approaches. With the Great New York State Fair starting on August 24th, NYSDOL inspectors have been on site performing pre-inspections. Commissioner Roberta Reardon and other NYSDOL staff will also be meeting with vendors prior to Opening Day to go over safety precautions.
“Fair season is a cherished tradition for family fun in every community across New York State,” said New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon. “Our inspectors conduct very thorough inspections of every piece of equipment to ensure that every ride is safe for all New Yorkers. If you are wondering if your ride is safe, just keep an eye out for the NYSDOL inspection tag.”
NYSDOL 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 at a new location. A ride cannot legally operate without a permit from NYSDOL. Rides at the New York State Fair are inspected three times prior and during their use. In 2021, the department performed 4,532 inspections on 1,661 amusement devices and issued 1,388 orders to correct violations.
NYSDOL 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 are properly secured.
- 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.
NYSDOL places dated 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, the name of the inspector, the date it was inspected, and whether it passed or failed.
Ride safety experts have 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 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Avoid horseplay; it’s dangerous.
- Never attempt to unlock or loosen a restraining device until instructed by the operator.
A list of the events that have been inspected and the businesses that own them, broken down by region, is available online. 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.
To report an unsafe ride, contact NYSDOL at 1-888-4-NYSDOL.