By Eric Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Worn out rivet fasteners on a Ferris wheel are being blamed for an overturned gondola at an eastern Tennessee fair that earlier this week sent three girls plummeting more than 30 feet to the ground.
The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced late Friday that it has renewed permits for the ride’s owner, Family Attractions Amusement, to resume operations at other fairs around the state. But the Ferris wheel is excluded from the permit.
Inspectors hired by the company and the Greene County Fair found that rivets had worn out on the bottom of the tub carrying the girls, allowing a trim piece to come loose and get lodged in the frame of the wheel and tipping the gondola over.
“Ride NOT safe to operate at time of inspection,” Frank Guenthner, an inspector hired by ride owner Family Attractions Amusement, wrote in his report.
The Ferris wheel, which inspectors say was correctly assembled at the site, is being sent back to the manufacturer for repair.
Tennessee does not conduct its own inspections of fair or amusement park rides, instead relying on third-party inspectors. The company was allowed to operate in the state based on an inspection made in Indiana in June. Continue reading
By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Investigators have not yet determined how a Ferris wheel seat flipped over at a Tennessee county fair, sending three children plummeting 30 to 45 feet to the ground. But the accident that left a 6-year-old girl with a traumatic brain injury sharpened the focus Tuesday on how carnival ride operators are regulated.
After a 2014 audit found shortcomings in Tennessee’s regulatory program for rides at fairs and amusement parks, state officials decided to get out of the inspection business altogether. Now, the state relies on private inspectors hired by operators and other states’ regulators to determine whether roller coasters, zip lines and Ferris wheels are safe.
Authorities said the three youngsters fell from the ride at the Greene County Fair in eastern Tennessee on Monday night.
In a follow-up to the audit last year, the agency said Tennessee law does not require the state to hire its own inspectors. Funding for the Amusement Device Unit was requested for the budget year ending in June but was denied. Continue reading
With a prod from the federal government, the state Health Department has posted on its website thousands of pages of inspection reports on licensed nursing homes across the state, according to The Tennessean.
The posting marks the state’s effort to come into compliance with a little-known provision of the new federal health-care reform law, known formally as the Affordable Care Act. The law set a Jan. 1 date for states to come in to compliance.
Eventually, inspection reports for nursing homes, hospitals and other licensed facilities will be posted going back four years, said Health Department spokeswoman Shelley Walker.
While the inspection reports have been considered a matter of public record, obtaining copies of the reports previously required an individual request.
So far, one year of nursing home reports has been scanned in to the system.
Note: The reports are available HERE.