How Minnesota keeps amusement park rides safe

A death on a waterslide in Kansas, and a traumatic brain injury from a Ferris wheel fall in Tennessee are prompting national discussion over ride safety.

In Minnesota, state law requires mechanical rides to be inspected once a year and the results sent to the Department of Labor and Industry. Ride owners are also required to do daily inspections and keep a log.

Fulfilling inspection responsibilities is put in the hands of the owner.

“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 Dept. of Labor and Industry.

Waterslides fall under different rules, as they are inspected by the Department of Health. According to spokesperson Doug Schultz, state inspectors inspect waterslides once a year.

According to officials with the Minnesota State Fair, event organizers go beyond state safety requirements. Spokesperson Brienna Schuette said rides are rechecked at random throughout the duration of the event by a contracted licensed ride inspector, and the inspector is on-site 24 hours.

A spokesperson with Valley Fair wasn’t able to reach park operators Wednesday, and didn’t have inspection details available.

The Mall of America didn’t want to be involved in our story and declined to give any information regarding ride inspections.