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Ohio Amusement Industry Is Working Together To Move Forward Safely In 2018

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SOURCE Greater Ohio Showmen's Association

COLUMBUS, Ohio, June 12, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- As summer approaches, the Ohio amusement industry seeks to assure residents that every appropriate step has been taken to address amusement ride safety for the 2018 fair and festival season. Reaffirming best practices and instituting expanded inspection protocols has been the focus of the Greater Ohio Showmen's Association the past year.  Any ride accident is of concern to the industry. An accident resulting in injury or loss of life is totally unacceptable.

The tragic accident at last summer's Ohio State Fair prompted the Industry to aggressively engage with government regulators, national safety organizations, and amusement ride manufacturers to ensure a system of checks and balances is adhered to as it pertains to amusement ride safety. 

The accident at the Ohio State Fair involved a previously unknown and undetected corrosion problem with amusement rides constructed with steel tubing.  Following a rigorous examination, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) concluded that "excessive corrosion inside the gondola support beam was the cause of the accident, and that a visual inspection after the ride is in place would not detect corrosion thinning from internal walls."

With this information in-hand, the Ohio amusement industry moved decisively, advocating to ride manufacturers to issue service bulletins addressing the corrosion issue. Following already in-place protocols, ride owners will service rides as mandated by the bulletins, and the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Division of Amusement Ride Safety will inspect and verify the ride is compliant. The following four-point check and balance protocol is as follows:  

  • First: Per ASTM International (ASTM) Standards ride manufacturers will provide Service Bulletins addressing the corrosion issue with steel construction to ride owners.

  • Second: Ride owners perform a comprehensive inspection, as mandated by manufacturers, outlined in the service bulletins. Comprehensive inspection records must be maintained and include:
    • Details on which areas have been inspected
    • Type of inspection method and acceptance criteria
    • Date inspection was performed
    • Specific observations and findings during inspection
    • Identify who inspected the ride

  • Third: Ride owners will provide the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Division of Amusement Ride Safety the service bulletin along with service bulletin inspection records during the inspection process by Department of Agriculture ride inspectors.

  • Fourth: As part of the inspection process, the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Division of Amusement Ride Safety will verify that operators are compliant with any new bulletins or updates to manufacturer's specifications issued since the ride's last inspection.

These four steps will ensure rides identified as having possible corrosion problems will be thoroughly inspected and documented to be in compliance with ride manufacturer's specifications before operating this season.

As an owner of a ride manufacturer, A.R.M., and a carnival, Bates Brothers Amusement Co., Eric Bates states, "the confluence of ride manufacturers, ride owners and ride inspectors sharing information and working together makes this four-step process work quite effectively."

Moreover, the strict safety protocol advocated by Ohio's amusement industry will be further enhanced by revised standards soon to be released by ASTM. The organization is currently evaluating twenty-one new guidelines to address amusement ride corrosion as it pertains to manufacturing design, inspection standards and non-destructive testing protocol.  

"The Outdoor Amusement Business Association (OABA) and some 1000 technical experts who participate in setting ASTM F-24 Committee standards, are working diligently and quickly to review additional requirements that should be added to pertinent, existing amusement ride standards," notes Robert Johnson, president and CEO of the OABA.

"When unfortunate, tragic accidents occur," Johnson continues, "our industry's trade association and its members of the F-24 Committee, work with the CPSC, and involved stakeholders to gather information on ride failures and review it against existing ASTM standards, to improve ride safety." 

"This intensive effort on both an international and national basis," asserts David Drake, president of Greater Ohio Showmen's Association, "will produce better regulations, increased testing and specific inspections by Ohio Ride Safety inspectors, and enhanced amusement ride operations making Ohio fairs and festivals as safe as humanly possible."

"Our goal this festival season, and every festival season," Drake concludes, "is zero accidents, and complete public confidence in Ohio's amusement industry."

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