Crunch time: Inspectors work to make sure rides are safe ahead of NC State Fair opening

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The North Carolina State Fairgrounds are swarming with ride inspectors. They’re trying to make sure every moving apparatus is safe.

This is crunch time for the inspectors, who are trying to make sure all 95 rides on the midway are inspected before gates open Thursday.

Once laborers assemble the ride the way it’s supposed to be, the amusement device inspectors from the Department of Labors’s elevator division move in.

“You look at every nut, bolt screw, and washer,” said bureau chief Tom Petty. “We look at anything that has to do with that ride being in the air and staying in the air.”

One ride, a Ferris wheel called the Itsy-Bitsy Spider, is new to the fair this year. It gets the same inspection as any other ride.

“Just because it’s new does not mean it was designed to go over the road or built to go over the roads,” Petty said. “When rides travel, that’s when the biggest damage to rides is done — moving them across country.”

If a ride doesn’t pass inspection, it’ll need to be repaired and re-inspected.

The inspectors don’t leave once the fair opens. They keep an eye on things daily.

“We’re constantly patrolling the midway,” Petty said.

He said they are on duty in case an issue comes up with a ride or if inspectors observe something they don’t like.

Making sure those rides are safe is a job that can keep inspectors up at night.

“When you inspect a ride, you go home at night and think about, did I cover everything?” Petty said.

It’s not just the rides that get inspected. The training records of operators are examined, as well as maintenance records are reviewed.

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