OKLAHOMA CITY — Roller coasters rumble as operators press the start button on this year’s state fair season.
The Oklahoma State Fair is set to open this Thursday but there is still much work to be done.
Tuesday, the carnival rides were under close inspection by the Oklahoma Department of Labor.
From the moment the rides arrive at the fair inspectors begin their job.
They check the coasters before, during and after setup to make sure the rides are properly functioning.
It’s all to make sure the people who crowd the fair grounds are safe.
“If it was an accident-free world, we wouldn’t be here,” Senior Ride Inspector Randy McGinnis said. “But it’s not and we do our best to make sure these rides are mechanically-sound.”
McGinnis has been checking carnival rides for 15 years now.
He hasn’t seen any major accidents at the Oklahoma State Fair but he has seen rides go wrong.
So from lap bars to the track, McGinnis and his team check for potential failures in an effort to protect future riders like Toni Harland and her son.
This will be her 4-year-old son’s first fair; the pair got a sneak peek at the rides as she looked for temporary work at the fair grounds.
“I have a lot of concerns,” Harland said. “You have to make sure the rides are safe and make sure the kids get on there right.”
Inspectors said accidents can happen on any ride, including something as simple as the merry-go-round and it’s important to follow the rules.
For instance, you have to meet the height requirements.
Also, McGinnis said to read the sign that explain what to expect on the ride in order to make sure you’re qualified.
“You can even go below a kiddie ride and say, an inflatable bounce. We cover more accidents on inflated bounces,” McGinnis said.
Meanwhile words of safety seen everywhere, on signs and backs of t-shirts, are reassuring to mothers like Harland.
“This is my first child so I’m going to be overprotective,” she said.
Starting Wednesday Health Department inspectors will be checking food vendors at the fair.
They have to pass certain tests to make sure their food is safely prepared.