Tennessee prepares to add oversight to amusement ride inspections

NASHVILLE (WATE)- Nearly a year after three children fell from a Ferris wheel in Greene County, Tennessee lawmakers are proposing a bill that would address growing safety concerns with amusement rides in the state.

The bill still hasn’t been signed into law, but Chris Cannon, Director of Communications for the Department of Labor and Workforce, the state is already making preparations. Five safety compliance officers were hired.

Chris Cannon, Director of Communications for the Department of Labor and Workforce

“Most laws wait until July 1 before they begin,” said Cannon. “We wanted this law to start immediately because we’re getting into the high season and the very busy season for amusement devices here in Tennessee.”

The safety compliance officers will oversee third-party inspectors, hired by the state to oversee the inspectors work. Cannon said three of the safety compliance officers will cover the east, middle and west Tennessee territories and the remaining two will fill management and administration duties in within Nashville offices.

While Cannon said the state does not have inspectors who can go out and perform inspections at this time. Inspectors must work on-the-job service before they can even take and exam and become certified.

Once the state has qualified inspectors on their payroll, the law will allow them to send their own inspectors to an accident. Ride inspections are required to be done at least yearly.

“The actual inspection of these safety devices in the state of Tennessee will be done by third party inspectors,” said Cannon. “Once our safety compliance officers are certified to inspect safety devices they’ll act as an oversight in each area of the state.”

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