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The Ohio State Fair returns with rides this year for the first time under Tyler's Law

 Inspectors from the Ohio Department of Agriculture demonstrate a routine check on the Mega Drop.
WOSU/Tyler Thompson
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Inspectors from the Ohio Department of Agriculture demonstrate a routine check on the Mega Drop.

The Ohio State Fair returns Wednesday. It is the first time the fair has opened with thrill rides under Tyler’s Law, which mandates proper inspections of rides at amusement parks.

The law passed in 2019 two years after Tyler Jarrell died after he was thrown from the Fire Ball ride at the state fair. It broke due to corrosion.

 The Mega Drop at the State Fair stands at 120 feet. It is one of 68 rides at this years event.
WOSU/Tyler Thompson
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The Mega Drop at the State Fair stands at 120 feet. It is one of 68 rides at this years event.

Ride owners will now do inspections to look for fatigue, corrosion, electrical connections and struts. Any issues must be resolved with the manufacturer or a third-party engineer.

A staff of nine inspectors from the Ohio Department of Agriculture will check rides every day before they open to fairgoers. Owners must provide documentation of the initial inspection.

Dave Miran is chief of amusement ride safety for the fair. He says inspections will happen daily.

"So even if we do an inspection that morning, the ride company themselves are required to do inspection of their own," he said.

Inspections will happen in two phases. At first, workers will check for manufacturer specifications like any missing bolts while the ride is static. The second phase will inspect the ride while in motion. Inspectors will check operational functions like breaks.

Miran says this year, ODA has seen a decrease in corrosion and fatigue from amusement rides.

“And what that tells me, is that our ride companies are understanding these requirements,” he said. “They’re doing the homework that they need to be doing in order to become operational and meet our requirements.”

Any ride out of compliance will shutdown until its fixed. About 68 rides will entertain fairgoers this year. The fair opens to the public July 27 and ends Aug. 7.

Copyright 2022 WOSU 89.7 NPR News. To see more, visit WOSU 89.7 NPR News.

Tyler Thompson