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Amusement ride inspections are working, says state audit

ALBANY – An audit of the State Department of Labor found its efforts to inspect amusement park rides were thorough, but that more work was needed to ensure safety and inspections at small, temporary festivals. As a result, DiNapoli is sending auditors to visit transient fairs and festivals through the rest of the summer to ensure rides are inspected.

“As families head out to county fairs and festivals, they should feel confident that the Department of Labor is aggressively inspecting amusement park rides and ensuring they are safe for New Yorkers,” DiNapoli said. “Even with inspections, injuries and fatalities still occur. That’s why my office will continue auditing inspections focusing on the temporary and transient carnival rides that present a higher risk throughout the summer. When it comes to public safety, there is no room for error.”

From 2011 through 2013, auditors found the department made 4,800 site visits to inspect rides and issued more than 5,000 permits. During 2013 alone, more than 9,000 individual rides were inspected and nearly 1,700 permits were issued. Inspection records are available for public review here: www.labor.ny.gov/ride-safety.

During the same three-year period, there were 24 injuries or mechanical failures recorded on rides. Two of these were fatalities. In every instance, the ride had been inspected within the previous year and inspectors made a timely response after each incident, including responding on the same day in 11 of 24 cases.