Ohio amusement rides lack frequent inspections

Annual inspection required just once year
Posted at 4:54 PM, Jul 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-27 17:22:26-04

An exclusive 5 On Your Side Investigation into Ohio's amusement ride inspections reveals more than 3,000 amusement rides across the state are required to be inspected just once a year.

Amusements ride are inspected under a program operated by the Ohio Department of Agriculture that employs just nine inspectors for those 3,000 amusement rides. While Ohio's inspection program is generally regarded as one of the better programs in the country, we found some potential deficiencies. 

Fire Ball: What we know about the ride that malfunctioned at the Ohio State Fair, killing one

Annual inspections are required once a year — usually at the beginning of the season — but additional inspections are performed only on a need to inspect or random basis for the remainder of the year.

Plus, our investigation found amusements rides are not required to be inspected every day before you climb on, nor are they required to be inspected after being taken down, driven to the next town, and placed back into operation.

The ride that failed Wednesday at the Ohio State Fair, known as "The Fire Ball" was inspected just that morning and passed.

Inspectors review four key areas including:

  • Location and Installation
  • Structural
  • Tub & Vehicle
  • Electrical

in all, there are 37 components that are reviewed before a ride can pass inspection successfully.

In addition, maintenance logs supplied by Amusements of America, the ride owner, show three components were replaced in May — including a swing drive.

In a statement issued Thursday, the company said "it is committed to working with state and local experts in trying to determine the cause of this tragic accident".

The company said the ride "was inspected by our staff as well as independent inspectors prior to the opening" of the Ohio State Fair.

Meanwhile, the Netherlands company that manufactures "The Fire Ball" also issued a statement saying "we are currently gathering information on the accident and investigating the cause".