The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

October 23, 2013

State to post ride inspections online

HARRISBURG — The Department of Agriculture is pledging to have an online database of carnival ride inspections up and running in time for the 2014 carnival season.

This follows an investigation by PublicSource, a Pittsburgh-based group, that found lapses in documentation of inspections at Pennsylvania amusement parks. A Tribune-Democrat investigation revealed similar lapses at carnivals and county fairs.

The $50,000 ride inspection website will debut by June and will include a map with icons for every fair and amusement park in the state, said Michael Pechart, executive deputy secretary of the Department of Agriculture.

By clicking on the icon, citizens will be able to see the latest inspection report.

The website will replace the existing outdated system of record-keeping for ride inspections.

Some ride operators submit paper reports. Others submit inspection reports online or by email.

“Because of the outdated databases, and the many ways we receive data, we must search at least three separate locations – two electronic databases and one paper file – to ensure we have all the information regarding a particular site, ride, inspector or event,” Pechart told the House agriculture committee. “We have concluded that bureau’s current database cannot be repaired … so we must completely redesign the system.”

Pechart said the state had planned to create such a database before the media reports about the documentation problems. The Agriculture Department has similar online inspection databases for restaurant inspections and dog kennels.

The Department of Agriculture’s ability to track inspection reports is complicated because the state relies heavily on inspections completed by employees of the amusement parks or carnival operators.

There are 2,100 private inspectors in Pennsylvania. Their efforts are reviewed by four quality assurance inspectors in the Department of Agriculture. Ohio and Maryland each have seven state-employed amusement ride inspectors, officials in those states said Wednesday. Neither state has ride inspection reports posted on its website.

Carnival ride operators in Pennsylvania defend the use of industry inspectors.

Lloyd Serfass, president of the Pennsylvania State Showmen’s Association, said that he believes his employees conduct more rigorous inspections than state inspectors they encounter in other parts of the country.

In Maryland, state inspectors conducted 5,064 inspections of 1,690 different rides in 2013, said Maureen O’Connor, a spokeswoman with the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. In Pennsylvania, there were 24,082 ride inspections conducted in 2013, mostly by the industry-hired inspectors.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • WilliamsA ‘I thought I was going to die’

    Hornerstown resident Robert “Bobby” Williams said he endured two hours of surgery, suffered a heart attack and fears he may never again be able to fully use his right arm.

    April 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • JFD traing Firefighters practice river rescues

    Johnstown Fire Department members lift a “victim” out of the rescue basket during training Wednesday along the Stonycreek River flood-control wall

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Home is Where The Tribune-Democrat is Delivered!

    Here are the names of the 10 entrants that were chosen today-April 22, 2014.  If you see your name, call the Circulation Department at 814-532-5000 (#1) or 1-866-307-0905 to verify your information.

    April 22, 2014

  • sewer meeting map Sewer work will tie up traffic

    Brace yourselves.
    This summer’s sewer main replacement project will delay traffic with detours, closed streets and lane restrictions through one of Johnstown’s notoriously snarled neighborhoods.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • USS Somerset USS Somerset arrives at San Diego homeport

    The USS Somerset is home.
    The amphibious transport dock ship named in honor of the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 arrived at its new homeport of Naval Base San Diego on Monday.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jablonski, Stephen Charges filed in courthouse bomb threat

    A Johnstown man was charged by Ebensburg Borough police Wednesday with threatening to blow up the Cambria County Courthouse, a call he admitted to Ebensburg police he made Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vizza, Peter Vizza voted deputy mayor

    The top vote-getter in last year’s Johnstown City Council election is now also the city’s deputy mayor.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Conemaugh Township rezoning opens business possibilities

    A portion of South Main Street in Davidsville will be rezoned to give greater allowances to the businesses along the road.

    April 23, 2014

  • Sculptor’s work to be raffled off

    The work of a local sculptor will be raffled off during the Art in Bloom show.

    April 23, 2014

  • Katie and Gary Lamer Birthday remembrance bash provides aid to region

    It’s been four years since Johnstown resident Gary Lamer died of complications from pneumonia, but his memory lives on through an annual party that gives back in a big way.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads