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What Regulations Prevent PA Amusement Park Accidents?

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It’s summer: time for carnivals, county fairs and amusement parks.  However, a day that starts out with thrill seeking fun can end with deadly disaster in the event of an amusement park accident.

More than 1,000 amusement park injuries are reported each year, according to a New York Daily News  article. The editorial suggests a lack of government regulation makes it difficult to assess the risk of amusement park accidents and prevent ride injuries.

Amusement park rides are regulated on a state-by-state basis. Some states have more safety regulation than others.  Strict regulations are in place to prevent Pennsylvania amusement park accidents.

“Pennsylvania is a leader in ride safety across America,” says Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolf.

The Amusement Ride Safety Act of 1984 granted the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture the responsibility to oversee the inspection and registration of Pennsylvania amusement rides and ensure all rides meet the commonwealth’s stringent requirements.

PA Law requires amusement companies to register all equipment annually with the Bureau of Ride Safety.  Only rides that are approved by the Bureau’s advisory board are allowed to operate.  Amusement operators are required to keep the bureau informed of all activity and inspections.  PA rides and attractions must be inspected daily.

Ride operators are required to undergo a statewide training, testing and certification program. This ensures that all operators receive the same safety training.  The state government partners with the industry to provide an extensive safety inspection experience.  In addition to the primary ride safety inspection, unannounced inspections are conducted to ensure credibility.

As proof that a ride meets the state’s safety requirements, a commonwealth plate is mounted to the ride.  In addition, inspection reports are displayed in public notice signs.

Millions of people visit Pennsylvania’s 700+ amusement operations each year.  The potential for a serious amusement park accident may be rare, but it is still possible.

The Department of Agriculture asks that visitors to do their part in preventing amusement ride injuries.  The department’s Ride Safety Brochure  suggests visitors follow ride operator instructions and use required safety equipment. The flyer also provides tips to help parents determine whether a ride is right for their child.

To learn more about Pennsylvania amusement ride regulations or how to prevent amusement park accidents, please visit the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

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