The US government delegates the oversight and regulation associated with the safety of amusement park rides to the individual states. Fortunately, it appears that Colorado lawmakers have implemented a fairly standardized and thorough set of operational guidelines geared toward prevention, inspection and enforcement of amusement ride safety. The Amusement Rides and Devices Program, which was last updated in 2015, is managed by The Colorado Division of Oil and Public Safety, a segment within the state's Department of Labor and Employment.
Colorado classifies amusement rides in one of two categories. Class A rides are those designed for children under the age of 12, commonly referred to as “kids rides”; and Class B rides which include all other types. All amusement rides must register with the state and receive a permit that indicates they have satisfactorily met the criteria and requirements. The application process for the Amusement and Rides Permit must be done on an annual basis and some of the key requirements are:
- The name of the manufacturer and the serial number of each ride.
- A historical summary of any known injuries associated with the ride.
- The date(s) and location(s) where the ride will be operating.
- The insurance provider and policy number covering the unit.
- A completed Certificate of Inspection, with the contact details of the inspecting party.
The inspection process for rides in Colorado is done annually, and must be conducted by an unaffiliated 3rd party. This process includes inspection of the ride operating “live”. During this time, the inspector will review and verify the daily inspection log, as well as the maintenance and training records for the ride. Colorado has the following requirements for liability insurance for each ride to cover liability in the case of an injury:
- For Class A rides: $100,000 per instance; with total of $300,000.
- For Class B rides: $1 million per instance
The process of enforcement in Colorado is in place to insure financial compliance and reasonable safety standards. If a ride is determined to be non-compliant with regulations, the operator is required to complete any repairs in accordance with the specifications of the product manufacturer. Next, the ride is subject to system performance testing and observations. During this enforcement process, the state has the authority to levy a fine of up to $1,000 for each day in which the ride is non-compliant.
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