Safety and Inspection Requirements for Amusement Park Ride in the State of Florida
Amusement parks, theme parks, carnivals, and other events are places where a child and adult alike can have lots of fun. There is a certain excitement to walking down the midway and going on a ride. The cotton candy, hot dogs, and funnel cakes fill the air. On most days and evenings, a visit to an amusement park is filled with fun. Unfortunately, at times, a visit to an amusement park can also be filed with the stress, distress, pain, and suffering of being injured at the amusement park on the grounds OR on one of the amusement park rides. Since the nature of most rides are inherently dangerous by the force and speed of the ride, it is vital that the rides are inspected, operators are trained, and workers are alert to the ride and visitors to the amusement park. Otherwise, serious personal injuries can and do result.
In the State of Florida, the FDACS (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has the duty to inspect amusement park rides except those rides at a facility or park with more than 1,000 employees and who have full time inspectors on the staff. As such, Walt Disney World and Universal Studios are not inspected in the same manner as the local, traveling carnival or fair circuit that visits local communities. Rides are also inspected based on two general classifications: Temporary Amusement Rides and Permanent Facility Amusement Rides.
Temporary Amusement Rides. These rides are regularly relocated from place to place whether the ride is assembled each move or not. If a ride is considered a Temporary Amusement Ride, it is inspected each time that it is set up.
Permanent Facility Amusement Rides. These rides are not regular moved and are essentially a permanent or lasting part of the premises or the facility where the ride is located. If a ride is a Permanent Facility Amusement Ride, it is required to be inspected semi-annually.
FDACS requires that amusement park ride operators have the rides inspected annually by a qualified inspector or professional engineer. The rides are required to under testing for structural integrity as part of the inspection. In addition to amusement park rides, FDACS also inspects and regulates go-kart rides and tracks, water related / aquatic related rides, and zipline courses. Whenever there is an accident or incident involving an amusement park ride in the State of Florida, FDACS has the authority to step in and fine the operator / owner. FDACS can also shut down and impound the ride at issue for further investigation. Any ride that may be a danger to the general public (adults and children alike) may be shut down for further inspection, fines, remedial measures, and / or other actions.
FDACs acts upon the authority of the government for the State of Florida. If a person suffers injuries at an amusement park or theme park, the injury victim can pursue a civil action for damages and compensation if it can be established that there was some form of negligence or fault on behalf of the operators, management, ride attendants, manufacturer, and / or some other entity or person involved with the amusement park ride. Generally, a civil case can be pursued if four essential elements can be established through the facts / evidence: 1. Duty; 2. Breach of Duty; 3. Causation; and 4. Damages.
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