Rides inspected at last year’s Great Frederick Fair had few safety violations, according to state data. And the company that has long provided the rides for the fair, Reithoffer Shows Inc., is back again this year.
The most common violations last year were for fasteners and general safety, which Rob Gavel said are usually “slip, trip or fall hazards” — often wiring or holes in the ground that need to be covered up.
Gavel is amusement ride safety unit supervisor for the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.
Inspectors from his department visit the fair each year to ensure the rides are set up to their manufacturers’ specifications. In some cases, where they find bolts and pins without their securing fasteners, ride operators can correct that violation immediately.
In other cases, where a ride operator cannot correct a violation on the spot, the inspector issues a work order.
“The way that it’s judged, if it’s going to present an immediate hazard, we’ll ask [ride operators] to fix it before they open the ride,” Gavel said.
State inspectors found 24 safety violations on rides set up for the 2013 Great Frederick Fair and 19 safety violations at last year’s fair.
Of the safety violations at last year’s fair, 16 were corrected on the spot. Work orders were issued for the remaining three.
“Along with the rest of the amusement industry, they have an excellent safety record,” Gavel said of Reithoffer. The company has been providing most of the fair’s rides for the past 21 years, according to fair programs manager Karen Crum.
Gavel said Frederick’s annual fair is usually the second- or third-largest county fair in Maryland in terms of the number of rides offered.
Crum said the fairgrounds will have 43 rides this year.
The state fair has about 40 rides, Gavel said. State inspectors will return to inspect the rides for this year’s Great Frederick Fair.