Statewide changes to begin this fall for fairs, amusements parks

GREENE COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – Rides officially opened Tuesday at the Greene County Fairgrounds.

This is the first time rides have been operating at the fair since a tragic Ferris wheel accident left three girls injured last year.

State officials said they are confident the rides are safe this year.

Belle City Amusements brought in the rides and had an inspector look at each one.

Then the fair board hired two additional inspectors to look over everything as well.

News Channel 11 had an inspector walk us through the inspection process.

John Dodson said he has been an inspector for nearly 30 years.

He said the first step during an inspection is to turn off the power to the ride.

He then inspects all seats and restraints to make sure they are working.

Inspectors also look for any sharp edges someone may come in contact with and checks to see if bolts and pins are tightly in place.

Those are the major changes at this fair.

But state wide, there will be more changes beginning this fall.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner, Burns Phillips, was at the fairgrounds on Tuesday.

The unit oversees the permitting of amusement operators in the state.

He said there are three safety compliance officers who look for operators who may not be permitted to operate in the state.

Next year, they will be certified to oversee the inspection process.

Beginning this fall, the state will have brightly colored decals that will be displayed on rides to show it meets requirements.

“We needed to bring it a little more into the 21st century. So really these things started before the incident last yea,” Phillips said.

The state will also have an online portal where inspection reports can be submitted and a 24-hour hotline will be open for operators to report accidents after business hours.

Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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