After Ohio, Minnesota State Fair ride inspectors take extra precautions

Two days from the start of the Minnesota State Fair, ride inspectors are redoubling their safety checks.

This comes after a deadly accident last month at the Ohio State Fair, where a teenager died when one of the rides broke apart.

On Tuesday, ride inspector Joe Bixler of International Leisure Consulting tested the safety harness, should the ride accidentally power down.

“So now I have customers, and I can lift up my seats, and I can get my customers out," he said as he demonstrated the ride’s functions. 

Inspections start as the rides are actually taken off the truck and continue through every day of the fair.

“During the course of the fair, our staff is our moving across the Midway, watching operations,” said Deputy General Manager Jim Sinclair.

The inspections are all in an effort to prevent what happened in Ohio, which was caused by hidden corrosion on an interior pipe.

Inspectors are looking for similar problems in Minnesota rides.

“Same thing when we take this sheet metal off,” Bixler said. “We open it back up…we’re looking at the locking system, but we’re also looking at what the steel looks like: is there any blistering, is there any corrosion, any issues we have to worry about?”

So far, all the inspected rides passed the tests, and Sinclair said they’ll all be ready by Thursday.

Bixler said what makes the Minnesota State Fair different is that independent contractors provide the rides, and each one only owns 4 to 5 rides. That way, they tend to be newer and better maintained.

“Safety is our number one priority here at the fair,” Bixler said. “Not only at the Midway and the Kidway and the ride areas, but for everyone on the fairgrounds."