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How does Pennsylvania address the safety of amusement rides?

The state of Pennsylvania provides an Amusement Ride Safety Division within the Department of Agriculture. This division is responsible for inspecting, approving and registering all amusement attractions in the state. Owners of these attractions also play a role; they are required to register each attraction with the Department and to submit affidavits of inspection before the attraction begins operating.

The Department of Agriculture takes amusement ride safety seriously. A good way to see how safety is addressed is by reviewing the manual issued to attraction operators and attendants. Some of the important safety points contained in this manual include the following:

-- Check all safety equipment before starting the ride including safety straps, bars and chains.

-- Be watchful of the rides gauges and do not exceed specified readings for speed and other factors.

-- Make sure the ride is properly balanced before starting it.

-- Watch for improper guest behavior (throwing items, lack of shirts or shoes, etc.)

-- Never put too many people into the attraction.

-- Perform daily ride inspections before the attraction is opened to the public.

-- By law, operators must perform one full cycle of the attraction before opening. The cycle must be documented, with a copy of the documentation kept on site.

You should remember that safety is everyone's goal. The state of Pennsylvania and owners of amusement attractions want happy and satisfied guests. Owners know that a lapse in safety could lead to a premises liability action on behalf of any injured parties.

In the event you or a loved one does suffer injuries on an amusement attraction, a personal injury attorney can help you decide if you have grounds to pursue compensation through a premises liability lawsuit.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, "Operators’ & Attendants’ Manual for Amusement Rides & Attractions," accessed Feb. 17, 2017

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