Massachusetts official calls for sweeping changes to regulate fair rides

Posted Wednesday, February 23, 2005 11:33 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Massachusetts State Public Safety Commissioner Thomas Gatzunis will call today for sweeping changes in the amusement ride industry in response to the September death of a disabled man who tumbled from a ride at a church festival in Shrewsbury. The new regulations would require that all rides be inspected by the state each time they are set up, not just once a year; that all maintenance workers be nationally certified and perform daily inspections of all rides; that operators be trained on specific rides; and that amusement ride companies increase their insurance coverage from a minimum of $1 million to $5 million.

Read more from The Boston Globe.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005 1:58 PM
Seems reasonable enough...
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Wednesday, February 23, 2005 2:03 PM
It's nice in theory, but of course how it can be practically done is not the concern of the Commissioner. His job ends with the press conference and photo op with the family.

What if the funding for additional state inspectors doesn't come through? (Gee, an unfunded mandate-- Imagine that) I can hear it now-- sorry but we can't get anyone to come out and check your setup for at least three more weeks. I'm sure there'll be a multi-page application and fee required to get someone from the state to come out. These people may be surprised with all the fairs and festivals they'll be required to inspect on the same weekend, every weekend for four months. And 1.7 million dollars will hire all of 5 additional inspectors?

I didn't see any mention of how qualifications the additional state inspectors would need to be hired in the first place. Would they have to be certified as well, or just be the nephew or brother-in-law of some other bureaucrat? (And so I'm not called a chauvinist, niece or sister-in-law)

The MA regs will require that a person be certified before they can inspect rides. But a person who wants to be certified under NAARS needs three years experience inspecting rides before they can take the test to be certified to inspect rides. Now unless that person already has three years experience inspecting rides in MA, how do they gain that experience otherwise? Most professions requiring licensure or certification allow for some sort of training or working under a licensed person and to count toward that person's experience. The wording of the article says that the workers have to be certified to be able to inspect period. Unless that's just journalistic license.

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