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A & E

State inspectors add safety to summer fun

It's finally summer and carnival and fair season is nearing its peak.

That means lots of fun for people and lots of work for the amusement ride safety inspectors of the Illinois Department of Labor.

Follow these safety tips for amusement rides

Read and follow all posted rules, height and age restrictions.

Explain why children should not stand up, unlock or loosen restraints or exit a ride while it is in motion.

Don't pressure friends and children into going on a ride if they are afraid.

Listen to the ride operator's instructions.

Use the safety equipment provided such as seat belts, lap bars and shoulder harnesses.

Keep hands, arms, legs, feet and head inside the ride at all times and hold onto provided handles.

Stay seated until the ride comes to a complete stop.

Look for the ride or attraction's current permit-to-operate sticker issued by the Illinois Department of Labor

Report unsafe conditions, accidents or rides and attractions without operating permits by calling the Illinois Department of Labor at 217-782-9347.

Background

Beginning in 1985, largely in response to some tragic and high-profile mishaps involving amusement rides in Illinois, the state began regulating and inspecting all amusement rides and attractions that are open to the public.

That includes everything from roller coasters to mobile climbing walls to bounce houses.

People are often surprised the Department of Labor oversees such a program, but Director Michael Kleinik says an important mission of the department is safety.

Approximately 630 companies operate various rides and amusement attractions throughout Illinois.

People may question why something seemingly as tame as a bounce house needs to be inspected. Tom Coe, chief ride inspector, said nationwide statistics indicate bounce houses pose a significant injury rate compared to other amusement attractions.

Visit labor.illinois.gov.

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