Maryland Department of Labor Inspects Amusements at Maryland State Fair


State Inspectors Regulate Safe Maintenance, Set-up and Operation of 40 Rides
Maryland State Fair Open Friday through September 5

TIMONIUM, MD (August 25, 2011) – The Maryland Department Labor’s Amusement Ride Safety Unit deployed all ride safety inspectors to Timonium this week to inspect the amusement rides tens and thousands of Marylanders will enjoy at this year’s Maryland State Fair. The fair opens tomorrow and will run through Labor Day weekend.

“Families from across the state will celebrate Maryland at this year’s State Fair and the Maryland Department of Labor is committed to ensure that all families enjoy the fair safely. The Amusement Ride Safety Unit has inspected all 40 rides at the fair and will be on site through September 5 to oversee the safe operation of everyone’s favorite rides,” said Maryland Labor Secretary Alexander M. Sanchez. “As we prepare for our fair, we remember those who lost their lives at the Indiana State Fair earlier this month. Maryland is committed to safety and we are taking extra precautions to ensure that every visitor leaves the fair with a smile and plans to return next summer.”

Maryland fairs and amusement parks have a strong safety record. During FY11, the Amusement Ride Safety Unit inspected nearly 4,400 rides and identified just over 2,000 violations – more than 1,900 of which were corrected on-site. During that time, only one accident and four incidents were reported to the Unit. The safety record at the State Fair is even stronger. Over the last five years, only one non-mechanical accident was reported to the unit by the State Fair.

The Department of Labor is especially aware of safety concerns at the fair this year following the tragic stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair. While the Department is not required to inspect the construction and design of the concert stage that will host Selena Gomez, Blake Shelton and All Time Low, Maryland Labor Commissioner Ron DeJuliis, a former Operating Engineer, visited the fairgrounds earlier this week to meet with the project supervisors and inspect the work. Fair officials and the Department of Labor will also watch weather reports and make joint decisions to protect concertgoer and fair attendee safety.

The Maryland State Fair is an important tradition for many Maryland families and a great way to celebrate the end of summer. To ensure that all fairgoers enjoy the amusements safely, the Department of Labor offers the following safety tips:

Tips for amusement park riders:

  • Look for posted safety instructions, read and follow the rules.
  • Observe height and weight restrictions.
  • Follow instructions of the ride operator.
  • Check to see if the ride operator is properly identified (wearing a uniform or an identification badge).
  • Keep hands, arms and legs inside at all times.
  • Use safety equipment, including seat belts and shoulder harnesses.
  • Stay in the ride until it comes to a complete stop.

Tips for parents and fairgoers with children:

  • Watch while the ride is in progress to monitor your child’s safety.
  • Follow the instructions of the operator before, during and after the ride.
  • Explain appropriate and safe behavior to your child. Advise them to remain seated, keep hands and feet inside and follow the operator’s instructions.
  • Ask the operator to stop the ride if the child cries or is in distress.

If an amusement ride appears unsafe, or if the operator does not follow safety guidelines, notify an official at the park, carnival or fair immediately. If an unsafe or dangerous condition exists, you can also call, email or fax the Amusement Ride Safety Inspection Unit at (410) 767-2990, safe4u@dllr.state.md.us or fax (410) 333-7721.

The Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation protects and empowers Marylanders by safeguarding workers, protecting consumers, providing a safety net and cultivating a thriving workforce that can meet the demands of Maryland’s dynamic economy. Follow DLLR on Twitter (@MD_DLLR) and Facebook.