27 Investigates: A look at the inspection process for Ohio fair rides

Before anyone can set foot on a ride in Ohio, it has to pass rigorous state inspection

ferris wheel fair generic

LISBON, Ohio (WKBN) – Fair boards all across the Valley have a message for patrons — don’t let the accident in Columbus keep you from having a good time.

Governor John Kasich halted all of the rides at the Ohio State Fair after the Fire Ball fell apart in the air on Wednesday, killing one and injuring seven.

But what impact will that have on other rides throughout Ohio?

“The rides are safe,” said Columbiana Fair Board President John Wolf. “They are mechanical pieces of equipment and there are issues, just like there would be with your car, but the inspectors work diligently with us to make sure everyone is safe.”

Before anyone can set foot on a ride in Ohio, it has to pass rigorous state inspection. Everything from mechanical rides and roller coasters, to go-karts, water rides, and inflatable devices, are checked out.

The Columbiana Fair Board uses a company from Utica, New York. Inspectors spend lots of time going over the rides, checking maintenance logs and safety records.

“They will do initial inspections here since this is the first time these rides will be in Ohio. It’s a very thorough process,” Wolf said.

The Canfield Fair Board uses a company that travels all through Ohio. Every time the rides are moved, the state comes out and inspects them for issues.

“These rides, they are not the first time they’ve gone to a fairgrounds this year,” George Roman said. “They are inspected on a weekly basis, as ours is here at the fair.”

Extra inspectors were called down to Columbus, which had some worried that fairs like the one in Columbiana County could be delayed.

“They are working extremely hard in Columbus to make sure that everything is taken care of there, as it is the state fair. But our inspectors are still on schedule for the first of the week here,” Wolf said.

Workers know how to shut down the rides in a crisis. Both fairgrounds also have EMS workers on hand to help out in an emergency.

“You don’t look for those to happen, you don’t anticipate those happening. You just hope you are prepared when they do happen,” Roman said.

The Canfield Fair Board said their rides will be inspected several times leading up to fair week.


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