Amusement Park Inspectors Liable for Faulty Inspections in North and South Carolina

The Washington Post reports that a South Carolina inspector had issued only one citation in more than three years of inspecting amusement park rides. This inspector was fired for falsifying a report that led to the death of a 6-year-old boy on a children’s train ride.

Our personal injury lawyers in Spartanburg and elsewhere are appalled at this inspector’s blatant disregard for safety.

State records show that this inspector had issued only one violation in more than three years of inspecting amusement park rides. He had been employed by South Carolina’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation for 20 years, and from 2008 to 2011, he performed well over 140 inspections. In 2010, he issued no violations and denied no permits for 36 rides he inspected. Seven other inspectors issued 54 violations and denied 10 permits for 212 inspections. In 2011, he inspected 16 rides and again issued no violations while 10 other inspectors issued 38 violations during 150 ride inspections. The inspector has refused to speak publicly and state officials are making changes to the licensing department.

“We are taking precautions to make sure that they realize this is not just a check of a box. This is a life,” Gov. Nikki Haley said Friday. “It was a senseless situation that shouldn’t have happened. But it is also a reminder of what we can do to fix it to make sure that it never happens again.”

We had previously posted to our North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog about this accident back in April.

State officials fired the inspector when they learned he had falsified his inspection report of the miniature train ride at Spartanburg’s Cleveland Park. On the day of the inspection, the train’s battery was dead, so the ride could not be tested. The inspector OK’d the ride anyway. The train derailed on opening day of the park, injuring 28 people and killing a 6-year-old boy.

County officials are blaming the crash on excessive speed. Witnesses stated they saw the train accelerate suddenly just prior to the crash. And in the ambulance ride to the hospital, the train’s operator made the comment that he was going too fast. County prosecutors will review the case and decide if anyone will be criminally charged.

ABC news reported that 7,000 people go to the hospital every year due to injuries at carnivals. They feel the problem is a lack of federal oversight on how carnivals are set up and maintained. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) only has jurisdiction over rides transported from location to location (mobile amusement rides).

CPSC Inspection criteria includes:

North Carolina:
-Semi-annual inspection of stationary rides.
-Unannounced inspection.
-All mobile rides inspected at each set-up.
-Follow-up inspection to ensure compliance.
-Ski lifts, rope tows, water slides and go-carts (28 mph limit) are also regulated and inspected.

South Carolina:
-Yearly and unannounced inspections.
-Operators are also inspected.
-$500,000 liability insurance, manuals, daily check sheets and maintenance records are required.

If you or a family member is injured as a guest on someone’s property, or on a business property, contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices P.A. today for a free and confidential appointment. To discuss your rights, call 1-800-887-1965 representing both North and South Carolina.

More Blog Entries:

One Person Killed, Another Injured, After Fall from Greensboro Carnival Ride, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, May 28, 2011

New law to take effect for adult ATV riders in North Carolina, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, May 11, 2011

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