I-Team finds new concerns about your safety on carnival rides

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The FOX 8 I-Team has found new safety concerns for you and your kids on carnival rides, and this is sparking new action by state inspectors.

New fallout from a deadly accident last year at the Ohio State Fair.

Big holiday weekend with the heart of the season getting underway for fairs, festivals and amusement parks, so the I-Team investigated what has changed this year with ride safety.

Last summer, a ride broke apart killing one man and leaving 7 people hurt.

We found state inspectors now are getting more bulletins from ride manufacturers -- safety alerts from the companies. The alerts warn specific parts of certain rides should get an extra look. And ride inspectors with the Ohio Dept. of Agriculture are paying special attention to those rides. Inspection reports show detailed notes about the parts in question.

The deadly accident last year was caused by corrosion on a support beam of the ride in that case.

What has not changed is the number of state inspectors. Ohio has just 8 inspectors for more than 4000 rides. Every ride needs an inspection before the first time it gets used for the season. But every ride does not get checked out by the state before every carnival.

At the Chagrin Valley Jaycees Blossom Time Festival, organizers put all rides through an extra set of inspections just to be safe.

Jim Smith from the Jaycees said, “We know every ride is safe at the beginning of the festival before we open up.”

And Jeff Poprik from the Jaycees said, “This is something we’ve done, not just since the Ohio state incident last year, something we do every year.”

State inspectors are also watching for industry experts to come up with new national standards for ride safety.

We found Rachel Gillespie watching her daughter on the merry-go-round. Gillespie said, “I give ride safety a lot of thought. You hear things on the news, and you see things. It always crosses my mind.”

Last summer, the I-Team revealed, the state could not tell us how many rides fail inspections. State records are not kept that way. Violations are documented on paper only, not put into any kind of computer database. But the Dept. of Agriculture says Ohio should finally move to an electronic system for keeping records on rides next year.

Continuing coverage.

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