Ohio Ag Department considers changes to amusement ride inspections

Ohio Ag Department considers changes to amusement ride inspections

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Changes could be coming to the inspection process for amusement rides in Ohio.

The Ohio Advisory Board on Amusement Ride Safety appointed a committee in January to review the inspection process, and the Ohio Department of Agriculture reports committee members made some recommendations at their most recent meeting.

ODA officials say those recommendations are currently making their way through the rule-making process.

Last July, tragedy struck the Ohio State Fair, when a ride called Fire Ball malfunctioned. One of the ride's swinging arms splintered, sending multiple riders into the air.

Tyler Jarrell was killed in the accident.

A report released by the ride manufacturer following an investigation ruled the accident happened as a result of corrosion. The Fire Ball was inspected multiple times before the accident, and it passed those inspections.

According to the Ohio Department of Agriculture website, there are eight inspectors who examine more than 4,500 rides across the state. Each ride must pass inspection every year before operation, and each ride is subject to random inspections while it's in use.

ODA's website says inspectors check the ride's structural integrity, hydraulic systems, and brakes. They do not inspect for corrosion.

In May, lawmakers introduced a bill to tighten requirements on ride inspection. It's called "Tyler's Law" after Tyler Jarrell, the man killed in last year's accident at the Ohio State Fair.

If the law is passed, it would mandate additional requirements for ride inspections, including some the industry voluntary adheres to, under ASTM International.

It would also require the state to hire additional inspectors, giving preference to those who have backgrounds in engineering.

Ride owners would have to keep much more detailed records of service and repairs for amusement rides, and they would face fines for failing to meet the new standards.

In a statement to Cleveland 19, ODA officials say their continuing conversations about possible changes to Ohio's amusement ride inspection process.

"The Department is working with national organizations (ASTM International) as discussions continue on potential changes to amusement ride safety standards. ODA will continue to be involved in these discussions and will move quickly to make modifications to our program as necessary. Additionally, several ride manufacturers have recently issued safety bulletins for ride owners to conduct Non-Destructive Testing on their portable rides. As they always have, our inspectors also receive these safety bulletins and confirm with ride owners that these tests have been completed when undergoing our inspection process."

If you have questions about a ride, you can ask the operator to see proof it has passed state inspection. You can also request an additional inspection on the ODA website.

Copyright 2018 WOIO. All rights reserved.