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State inspects all Oklahoma State Fair rides for safety

About a week before the beginning of the Oklahoma State Fair, the Oklahoma Department of Labor opens a temporary office at State Fair Park so it can inspect every ride on the Midway.

“Our inspectors get out there when the rides start to go up and they are there a full week (before) the fair starts,” said Christina Foss, a spokeswoman for the Labor Department.

While amusement park rides in some states are largely unregulated, or only inspected by the operators, the Department of Labor inspects all park rides in the state on an annual basis.

“We don't let a ride go into operation unless it's inspected and meets the state standards and manufacturer's standards,” Foss said.

The main vendor for Oklahoma State Fair rides is Livonia, Mich.-based Wade Shows Inc.

The company inspects its rides daily, the company said.

“The safety of our patrons is the prime concern of the Wade Shows. We have a qualified staff of managers, inspectors and ride operators who inspect the equipment before opening each day,” the company said in a statement on its website.

Wade Shows said that about 80 percent of amusement ride accidents are because of patron errors like rocking ride seats or throwing objects out of a ride.

“It is important that each customer obey the posted rules for each ride that can be found on our ride signs,” the company said.

Brianna Bailey

Brianna Bailey joined The Oklahoman in January 2013 as a business writer. During her time at The Oklahoman, she has walked across Oklahoma City twice, once north-to-south down Western Avenue, and once east-to-west, tracing the old U.S. Route 66.... Read more ›