Iowa State Fair Adds New Layer of Safety Inspections to Rides

DES MOINES, Iowa -- A tragic accident at the Ohio State Fair where a ride malfunctioned killing one person and injuring several others comes just weeks before our own state fair is set to start. The Iowa State Fair is obviously aware of this and are talking about the safety measures that go into all of their rides.

“You certainly don't want something like that to happen anywhere and our hearts and thoughts and prayers go out to the families and those victims. I've had contact with the Wisconsin State Fair and the Minnesota State Fair also in reviewing our process as we get ready to have our fair coming up in just two short weeks” said State Fair CEO Gary Slater.

While there will be no changes directly related to the accident in Ohio, this year the state fair is bringing in rides from several companies rather than contracting through just one. They say it'll make the Midway even better than in years past, but it also brings changes to how the rides are inspected.

The state fair will be using two different safety inspectors to make sure every bolt of every ride is in top shape. The state fair has hired an independent ride inspection company to go along with the state inspector.

“The independent ride operator does not have that authority to certify that ride, so the state inspection process has the final say so before that ride can operate” said Slater.

The fair brought in third party inspectors because of the multitude of companies who are contracted.  Part of the third party's duties will be to get each company on the same page in terms of safety requirements.

While the state fair has added an extra layer of safety, some Iowans are still hesitant to get on themselves.

“I don't trust the people that are running the rides always check to make sure the kids are the right height or that they're properly safely in place” said Mother Krystal Stanford.

“I don't go on the bigger rides because things have happened and I'm really cautions about things like that” said Shaddai Johnson, who says she still does slower rides like the Ferris Wheel.

Slater hopes that this accident in Ohio won’t discourage people from enjoying themselves at the state fair and says that the inspection process starts as soon as these rides are unloaded from their trucks.