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Humans May be the Weak Link in Amusement Park Accidents


When we go to amusement parks and ride the attractions, like the roller coasters or the rides that fly us everywhere at crazy speeds, we often give thought to whether the ride is safe. We may ask ourselves how the ride was put together, whether the ride is serviced and maintained properly and carefully.

But even in the safest ride, there is one weak link that no amount of checking and double checking can prevent: human error.

Humans at the Helm

It doesn’t matter how safe the ride is, or what safety features it has, or how state of the art it is, or how many times it is physically inspected. If the humans operating the ride, and watching over the patrons, are asleep at the wheel, a potentially disastrous result can occur.

The humans that operate the ride are the last guardians of safety when people get on a ride. They make sure that the safety features of the ride are actually being used properly, such as the proper fastening of harnesses and braces. They make sure that the people riding are of the correct height and weight to safely ride.

Disasters After Human Error

Nowhere was the failing of human error more apparent, than the 2023 accident at Orlando’s Icon Park.

The victim was strapped into a ride; it isn’t clear whether he was improperly strapped but one thing is well known: the boy was much larger than the ride could tolerate. A young high school boy, the victim was also a football player, and was significantly larger than other kids of his age and grade.

A lawsuit alleged that because of human error, the operator of the ride did not stop the boy from riding, even though he was visually obviously bigger than the ride’s stated limitations.

It’s not just the size of riders that missed; many times ride operators fail to notice riders’ physical limitations, which could affect safety. For example, riders who have lost limbs or part of limbs, may not be able to be properly strapped in by a ride’s harnesses.

Icon Park isn’t the only amusement park ride tragedy allegedly caused by human error. In Wisconsin in 2010, in a ride where riders were to fall into a net waiting below, park operators failed to actually deploy the net itself.

Almost no Oversight of Park Workers

It isn’t hard for ride operators to make mistakes. In smaller, temporary carnivals, park operators may be underpaid and overworked. In some areas, ride operators may be young, even minors, who may not have the responsibility or attention needed to ensure safety on rides.

There is no law that sets any minimum age for carnival or amusement park workers, other than the same child labor laws that apply to every business. And there are no laws that require any kind of minimum training.

Injured at an amusement park or by an amusement park ride? Contact the Tampa personal injury lawyers at Barbas, Nunez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian and schedule a consultation today.


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