Posted Friday, March 7, 2008 11:57 AM | Contributed by Jason Hammond
Kentucky lawmakers are taking steps aimed at improving the safety of amusement rides in the wake of a grisly accident last year that severed the feet of a girl at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville. A Senate committee approved legislation on Thursday that bars anyone younger than 18 or anyone under the influence of alcohol from operating amusement rides. The measure would also require amusement ride operators to perform self-inspections each day before opening for business.
Read more from AP via The Herald-Leader.
So, let me get this straight with alcohol. Are they saying that a person that has drank alcohol within a day / week / month can't work at an amusement park / carnival or are they saying that if they check you at the time you are working, than you can't run a ride? I hope it's the second one. There are people that are over 21 that they do work at amusement parks and carnivals that can drink legally.
I like that they now have inspections before every business day, but what about staffing, and time? Will they have enough 18 year olds, or not? 18 year olds are the college kids now. They don't have a schedule like high school kids. High school kids can be there late and early in the season. The problem with these regional parks is that they aren't year round (duh), and thus who wants a job for half the year, and than they have to find a new job.
I really hope if you work for an amusement park that you don't have to keep on interviewing every year. They know you from last year, and they just let you come back. Could someone tell me if they know that, or not? That would be such a pain.
NO CELL PHONE talking while operating a ride!
Edited for carrot correction.
*** This post was edited by Ensign Smith 3/7/2008 1:20:08 PM ***
All this does is make it slightly harder for Kentucky parks to staff rides. It doesn't compel them to train their employees any better, nor does it compel them to inspect their rides any better.
First is getting your drivers license. For better or for worse, this builds responsibility of driving a car and adding a whole lot more freedom and independence from when Mom drove you everywhere or you took your bike.
Second is getting your first job. Whether it be working at McDonald's, being a busboy at a restaurant, or being a cashier at a retail store, at age 16 most kids get their first experience at getting a job and that again adds a lot of responsibility.
Third is working on your ACT's and applying for college. This is another stage where kids face reality that they are growing up and going into the real world.
At age 16 you're still a sophomore in high school while at age 18 majority of kids are graduating and moving to a college dorm to live on their own. The independence factor and maturity grow greatly. The presence of Mommy and Daddy to the rescue decreases and you are even required to make your own decisions legally.
Driving a car is far different from operating a ride. Instead of you getting from point A to point B safely, you're dealing with thousands of people every hour at a repetitive task that can be grueling. Maturity and alertness are key and I believe that those key skills develop greatly in those two years.
I'm 19 right now and worked at CP for one year so far as a ride operator. CP requires you to be 18+ while KI requires 16+ and the differences are very evident when visiting the two parks and watching the employees.
Where alcohol and minors fall shouldn't really be related to this. It's a whole other issue that is being faced outside of the amusement parks.
What matters is that there is a difference between those ages. Are there exceptions, of course, but that's what interviews and job performance reviews are for. It's the employers duty to make sure they hire the best.
As for emergencies, they should be covered in training; again, a 16 or 17 year old is capable of memorizing those procedures. Response to anything outside of normal ride behavior can vary, but I know plenty of adults who have poor decision making ability.
I'm not trying to be argumentative, but after working at an amusement park for five years, I can safely say that I've met plenty of minors who I trust more than 18+ employees or even adults. Granted, there are plenty of immature kids out there, but I know of a few adults who have no problem coming into work with a hangover--why should we automatically trust them more?
As long as parks properly train and monitor their employees, there should be no problem with minors operating amusement rides. This was a knee-jerk reaction by state legislators which does not solve any of the issues encountered at Kentucky Kingdom.
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