A look at Minnesota amusement ride safety protocol

A freak accident at an Ohio fairground is prompting questions nationwide about ride safety.

18-year-old Tyler Jarrell was killed Wednesday when a ride at the Ohio State Fair malfunctioned. Seven others were injured.

According to Ohio state officials, the Ohio Department of Agriculture is in charge of inspecting fair rides. The Fire Ball ride was inspected multiple times before being cleared to open Wednesday.

While Minnesota law puts inspection requirements in place, unlike Ohio, safety inspections are the responsibility of the operator.

“The Minnesota legislature decided that it wanted the owners and operators and the insurance companies that insure these rides to be responsible for the safety of these rides,” said James Honerman with the Minnesota Dept. of Labor and Industry.

The Minnesota State Fair contracts with International Leisure Consulting Inc., a company based in Seattle, Washington for inspections. Four inspectors are hired for the event, all of whom arrive early in order to look over the assembly of every ride. Two of those inspectors stay throughout the duration of the fair and conduct daily safety checks.

The Minnesota State Fair said in a statement Thursday, “The ride involved in the incident at the Ohio State Fair was not scheduled to be a part of the 2017 Minnesota State Fair, nor has it been a part of the Might Midway in the past. The Minnesota State Fair has a rigorous ride inspection protocol where all rides are inspected prior to and daily during the fair.”

The Mall of America took one ride offline Thursday, in response to the incident in Ohio. While the Shredder’s Mutant Masher is from a different manufacturer than the Fire Ball ride in Ohio, it shares some design similarities. Out of diligence, a mall spokesperson said it would keep the ride out of service until additional inspections can be completed.