SPRINGFIELD—With summer just around the corner, the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) is reminding families on how to stay safe while enjoying rides and attractions at amusement parks, festivals, street fairs and carnivals across the state.
“As carnival season kicks off and millions of families and children make their way to theme parks and carnivals throughout the state, we will continue to conduct safety inspections and permit only those rides and attractions that meet established safety guidelines,” said Dir. Joseph Costigan. “We also encourage patrons to follow instructions and heed posted signs to ensure a safe and fun experience.”
IDOL enforces the Carnival and Amusement Rides Safety Act to regulate amusement rides and attractions open to the public in Illinois. The Department inspects nearly 5,000 rides each year at stationary parks, go-kart tracks, inflatable jump facilities, traveling carnivals and fairs, to determine if they meet safety requirements under state law and manufacturers’ standards -- before issuing permits to operate. Rides and attractions include mechanical rides, inflatable attractions, carousels, trains, trams, ski lifts, rope tows, go-kart tracks, dry slides, mobile climbing walls and power trampolines.
IDOL is offering the following guidelines for fair-goers:
• Amusement rides or attractions should not be operated for public use without a current (2012) permit sticker issued by IDOL. Make sure every ride and attraction has a permit sticker affixed to it. View a copy of the Department’s permit at http://state.il.us/agency/idol/facts/permit.htm
• Read and follow all posted rules -- observe age, height and weight restrictions.
• Follow all instructions given to you by the ride operator.
• Do not run near or around rides.
• Use provided safety equipment, such as seat belts, shoulder harnesses and lap bars.
• Keep head, hands, arms and feet inside the ride at all times.
• Stay seated in the ride until it comes to a full and complete stop.
• Do not assume a ride is safe for small children if you hold on to them.
• Talk to your children so they know what to expect of the ride.
• If a child or friend is afraid of the ride, never force them to ride.
• Observe the ride in operation before riding it. If something looks wrong, don’t ride it.
• Report unsafe conditions, accidents or rides operating without state permits to local law enforcement and IDOL at 217-782-9347.
Illinois law prohibits convicted sex offenders and others convicted of violent crimes from operating rides and attractions, and requires owners and operators to conduct criminal background and sex offender registry checks on operators prior to hiring them. The law also requires owners to implement a substance-abuse policy for operators, which includes random drug testing.
Anyone who operates amusement rides or amusement attractions that are open to the public -- without having obtained the required 2012 State of Illinois permit from IDOL -- is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor and may face fines of up to $2,500.