The inspection process for local fairs


GRATZ, Pa. (WHTM) – At the Gratz Fair in northern Dauphin County, Bartelbaugh Amusements runs the rides, putting every piece of equipment goes through a thorough inspection every day.

Across the state, more than 1,300 certified ride inspectors have been trained and licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and continuing meeting education requirements based on their certification level.

“We check all safety belts, bars, and locks, all automatic and manual safety devices, safety pins and keys, the fencing, ride structure, tightness of nuts and bolts,” said Allen Bartlebaugh, manager and part-owner of Bartlebaugh Amusements. “If we find something that needs replacing, we replace it. If we find something that needs fixed [sic], we fix it.”

Bartlebaugh says an inspection sheet is filled out every day by one of five certified inspectors on staff.

“That’s what the guys are out there right now in the process. We get out here early, usually a half-hour to an hour before opening and go through the process,” Bartlebaugh said.

Local inspectors have to submit an affidavit to the Department of Agriculture when they move to a new location. Bartlebaugh says inspectors from the department typically look over their work once a week.

“Inspecting them is everybody that works here. It’s done by the operator. It’s done by the inspectors. It’s done by the managers, the foremen,” Bartlebaugh said.

At the York Fair, officials say the Ferris wheel was inspected before someone fell off Friday night, sending two people to the hospital. It’s still unclear how it happened.

“Ninety percent of the accidents today in the amusement industry are patron error,” Bartlebaugh said. “Don’t run. Hold on. Don’t jump in, don’t jump out.”

The Gratz Fair runs through Saturday while the investigation into the accident at the York Fair is ongoing.

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