Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Preparations are underway at the State Fairgrounds as dozens of workers assemble and inspect coasters, carousels, roundabouts, and more.
"That is one of our paramount concerns here and it always has been," General Manager Gary Goodman said.
Goodman said inspection is a multi-step process.
"Unless the state inspectors say that everything can go, we can't start the ride," he said.
North American Midway Entertainment supplies the rides and gives the first inspection. Next to inspect the rides is Mike Nicol.
"We check welds. We check for bolts being tightened and torqued correctly,” Nicol said.
Nicol is certified through the National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials. He works for LJM & Associates and independently verifies that everything including favorites like the swings and the slide are working the way they should.
"Anything that touches a body. We've got to make sure that's safe and everybody has a good time."
Then auditors from the state department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation follow up with their own check at random. Jim Knight is the deputy director. He said those concerned with "The Fireball" which malfunctioned in Ohio, killing one and injuring seven, this past summer shouldn't worry.
"We're not permitting The Fireball to operate in South Carolina this year,” he said.
If a ride were to malfunction Goodman said they'll repair it and restart the inspection process.
"It has to go back through both of those inspections, the state has to authorize it and then even after the state authorizes it, we won't start it up until our private inspector authorizes it also," Goodman said.
WLTX originally reported that Nicol worked for NAARSO. We have since clarified that he does not work for that organization. That information is now reflected in the article.