Policy Analysis | February 2016

Inspection of Amusement Park Rides

Stephanie Noble

Industry background. Most amusement parks undergo independent inspection by insurance companies and private safety firms, in addition to government agencies. ASTM International (formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials) hosts a committee (F24) on voluntary consensus standards for amusement rides and devices, including within its scope: amusement ride testing, maintenance, operations and inspections. The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) formally supports state regulations based on these standards, and tracks relevant state and federal legislation. Saferparks, a consumer safety advocacy group, also participates in F24 standard setting, and offers some state-by-state information regarding regulatory oversight of amusement rides.

Federal background. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has regulatory oversight of traveling or portable amusement rides, such as those at carnivals, as well as inflatables and go-karts, but not permanent amusement rides, such as those at amusement parks, as they are not considered a consumer product. The CPSC serves as an information clearinghouse for state officials and assists state legislative efforts, particularly for traveling rides. It also tracks injury statistics and publishes a directory of state officials with oversight of amusement ride inspections.

States. Most states regulate amusement ride inspections, with the exception of Alabama, Mississippi, Nevada, South Dakota, Wyoming and Utah.

State Statute Agency Inspections*
Alabama § 40-12-47 (permanent)

§ 40-12-163 (traveling)

Department of Revenue Locally determined
Arkansas § 23-89-501 Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Amusement Ride Inspection Biannual inspection (permanent)

Inspection on set-up, some required biannual inspections (traveling)

Florida § 616.242 Department of Agriculture Bureau of Fair Ride Inspections Semiannual inspection (permanent)

Inspection on set-up (traveling)

Georgia § 25-15-56 (permanent)

§ 25-15-83 (traveling)

Safety Fire Commissioner Annual inspections by licensed private inspectors
Kentucky § 247.234

§ 247.235 (traveling)

Department of Agriculture, Division of Regulation and Inspection Annual inspections, inspection pre-opening
Louisiana § 1484.4 Department of Public Safety and Corrections, Office of the State Fire Marshal Annual inspections, inspection on set-up
Mississippi N/A Locally determined Locally determined
Missouri § 316.210 Department of Public Safety, Division of Fire Safety, Office of the State Fire Marshal Annual inspections, spot inspections
North Carolina § 95-111.5 Department of Labor, Elevator and Amusement Device Bureau Annual inspections, inspections pre-opening
Oklahoma 40 O.S. § 462 Department of Labor, Safety Standards Division Annual inspections, inspections on set-up, spot inspections
South Carolina § 41-18-80 Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Annual inspections, inspection pre-opening
Tennessee § 68-121-120 Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Division of Amusement Devices, Boiler and Elevator Safety Annual inspections, spot inspections
Texas O.C. § 2151 Department of Insurance Loss Control Regulation Annual inspections
Virginia § 36-98.3 Department of Housing and Community Development Inspections on set-up, inspection upon major modification, semi-annual inspections based on operating season
West Virginia § 21-10-6 Division of Labor, Safety Section Annual inspection, inspection pre-opening (permanent)

Annual inspection, inspections on set-up (traveling)

Spot inspections

Recent Developments. The North Carolina Department of Labor, Elevator and Amusement Device Bureau, inspects amusement rides and devices in accordance with the Amusement Device Safety Act of North Carolina. Last year, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed H39 into law, increasing civil penalties for illegal operation of amusement devices and rides, and knowing permission of illegal ride operation. It also called for the study of zip line operations. The Department of Labor issued its report on zip lines on February 5, 2016, distinguishing zip lines from amusement rides based on their active rather than passive participation, and recommending against new regulations.

*applies to both permanent and traveling unless otherwise noted