Utah adopts a government-run amusement ride safety committee

Mar 2, 2023, 7:00 AM | Updated: 5:25 pm
The Amusement Ride Safety Committee will implement their new regulations starting April 1st, affect...
The Amusement Ride Safety Committee will implement their new regulations starting April 1st, affecting the safety procedures of all mobile and amusement park rides in Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

FARMINGTON, Utah — The Utah Department of Transportation has created the Amusement Ride Safety Committee to establish safety standards for amusement rides in Utah. 

Utah was one of six states lacking government oversight of amusement ride safety before the creation of the committee. 

The organization will consist of 6 board members.

Each member is appointed by the governor and oversees state fairs, mobile ride operators, permanent ride operators, large amusement parks, the public at large, and nationally recognized amusement ride safety. 

What the new committee means for Lagoon

Now, each ride will require an annual inspection by a state-approved, qualified inspector, QSI, a permit by the state, at least one safety check per day, and ride insurance. 

As the only large-scale amusement park in Utah, Lagoon states that they support the creation of this new committee and its safety regulations.

Lagoon spokesperson Adam Leishman said that the park already has extensive safety measures, including rehab and refurbishment of rides during the winter. 

“That’s what we do all winter. That’s when we’re really really busy… it’s one of the reasons why Lagoon has so many older rides that are still working, because we’re able to actually do that type of maintenance,” said Leishman.

Every year, the park hires a third-party company to do safety inspection checks for each ride. If they find issues or have safety improvement suggestions, Lagoon will implement their suggestions before opening for business.

During Lagoon’s operational season, every ride goes through a minimum of three safety checks before the park opens in the morning. 

These safety checks are conducted by:

  • Lagoon’s maintenance department,
  • the ride supervisors,
  • and the ride operators

Each worker fills out, signs, and submits a list that details all the safety checks and procedures.

The White Rollercoaster, which is over 100 years old, has an additional safety check. A team of carpenters inspects the ride every morning to be sure the wood is safe for operation. 

Daily safety checks at Lagoon Amusement Park in Utah

If at any point there is a safety issue or concern, the ride will not operate until the concern has been resolved.

For Lagoon, the only thing the Amusement Ride Safety Committee changes is the park’s necessity for a state permit.

“As a guest, you are a partner with us on safety … We can keep guests safe as long as they are participating safely. Partnership and safety for everybody,” Leishman said. 

In addition to safety checks at Lagon, each ride at Lagoon is equipped with a health and safety sign.

The sign tells guests the operations of the ride and how to safely participate. There is also a recorded speech throughout the park on safety measures for guests. 

“We’re in the business of fun, but safety remains our first priority, forever,” he said. 

The amusement ride safety regulations required by the Amusement Ride Safety Committee will go into effect on April 1st. 

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Utah adopts a government-run amusement ride safety committee