Pennsylvania Dept. of Agriculture

Jurisdiction: 
Pennsylvania
Agency: 
Dept. of Agriculture
Overview
Unless otherwise indicated, "devices covered" includes mechanical rides at amusement parks, carnivals and fairs.
Devices Covered: 

Includes inflatables, haunted houses, go-karts, waterslides, bungee jumps. Excludes waterslides if they're regulated by the Dept. of Health.

Inspection Program: 

Rides are inspected monthly or at every setup by state certified 3rd party inspectors hired by the ride owner. State officials perform unannounced spot checks on a frequent and random schedule.

Investigative Authority: 

The ride must be shut down after a reportable accident until it's been reinspected by a qualified inspector. If the accident involves a fatality or injury resulting in death, dismemberment, significant disfigurement or permanent loss of the use of a body organ, the re-inspection must be performed by a state inspector. If the accident involves a fatality, the insurance company has to provide written approval that the ride is safe before it can be reopened.

Reporting Criteria: 

An owner or lessee shall submit an accident report to the department for any accident which involves serious injury or illness or death to an individual or individuals as a result of the operation of an amusement ride or attraction. “Serious injury or illness” is an injury or illness that requires:
(1) offsite emergency first aid;
(2) offsite medical treatment, whether it is administered or recommended or may be required at a future date;
(3) observation by a licensed physician; or
(4) admission to a hospital.
The term also includes an injury or illness that results in death, dismemberment, significant disfigurement or permanent loss of the use of a body organ, member, function or system.

Patron Responsibility Law: 

Chapter 12 Title 4, Section 502-503
§ 501. Short title
This act shall be known and may be cited as the Amusement Rider Safety and
Liability Act.
§ 502. Definitions
The following words and phrases when used in this act shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
""Amusement park."" A tract or area used principally as a location for amusement structures or rides. The term includes only permanent amusement and water parks.
""Amusement ride."" Any device, including a water-based device, that carries or conveys passengers along, around or over a fixed or restricted route or course or within a defined area for the purpose of giving its passengers amusement, pleasure, thrills or excitement.
""Amusement ride operator."" Any person, firm or corporation that is engaged in operating for the public an amusement structure or ride at a permanent amusement or water park.
""Rider."" A person 14 years of age or older utilizing an amusement ride. The term includes any person who is an invitee, whether or not the person pays consideration.
§ 503. Rider's responsibility
(a) Responsibilities -- A rider is responsible for obeying the posted rules or oral instructions of amusement rides and shall abide by the following:
(1) A rider may not board or dismount from an amusement ride except at a designated area if one is provided.
(2) A rider may not throw or expel any object or matter from an amusement ride.
(3) A rider may not act in any manner contrary to posted and oral rules while boarding, riding on or dismounting from any amusement ride.
(4) A rider may not engage in any reckless act or activity which may tend to injure himself or others.
(5) While using amusement rides that require steering or control of himself or a car device, every rider shall maintain reasonable control of his speed and course at all times. A rider shall not steer the ride in such a manner as to intentionally harm another person.
(6) A rider may not disconnect, disable or attempt to disconnect or disable any safety device, seatbelt, harness or other restraining device before, during or after movement of the ride has started except at the express instruction of the operator.
(7) A rider may not disembark or attempt to disembark from any amusement ride before, during or after movement of a ride has started except upon the express instruction of the operator.
(8) A rider may not board or attempt to board any amusement ride if he is under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance as defined in the act of April
14, 1972 (P.L. 233, No. 64), known as The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, which impacts his ability to safely use the ride and abide by the posted and oral instructions. The operator may prevent a rider who is perceptibly or apparently under the influence of drugs or alcohol from riding on an amusement ride. An operator who prevents a rider from boarding a ride in accordance with this paragraph shall not be criminally or civilly liable in any manner or to any extent whatsoever if the operator has a reasonable basis for believing that the rider is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
(9) A rider may not alter or enhance the intended speed, course or direction of a ride by using any unauthorized device, instrument or method.
(10) A rider 14 years of age or older embarking on a ride after failing to pay appropriate consideration for its use, when required by amusement park rules and regulations, shall be considered to be a trespasser.
(11) A rider shall not attempt to gain access to controls of an amusement ride designed solely tobe operated by employees of amusement parks.
(b) Exceptions.-- Subsection (a) shall not apply to an individual who because of deafness, blindness, mental limitation or a language barrier is not capable of understanding the posted rules or oral instructions.
(c) Definitions.-- As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:
""Blindness."" A condition such that an individual has 3/60 or 10/200 or less normal vision.
""Deafness."" A condition such that an individual is totally deaf or whose hearing is so impaired that he is unable to understand or communicate the spoken English language.
§ 504. Actions against amusement ride operators
It shall be the duty of each rider to heed all posted and oral warnings and to refrain from acting in a manner which may knowingly cause or contribute to the injury of himself or others or in a manner contrary to prohibited acts for riders set forth in section
3. Notice of these prohibited acts shall be displayed as set forth in section 5. Proof that a rider sustained an injury in the course of knowingly acting contrary to section 3 shall be evidence of comparative negligence in a suit against an operator by that rider.
§ 505. Posting of notice
Every operator shall post the safety responsibilities of riders based upon standards set forth by the American Society for Testing Materials, Department of Agriculture regulations and as set forth in section 3 in a conspicuous place at each ride. The language and symbols used shall be the same as designated by the American Society for Testing Materials.
§ 506. Report of incident
(a) Reporting.-- A rider shall report in writing to the operator all of the details of any incident as soon as possible. The report shall include the rider's name and address, a brief description of the incident and injuries claimed, including the location, date, time and alleged cause, the name and address of the ride operator, others involved and witnesses, if any.
(b) Applicability.-- This section shall have no effect on a rider's right to commence a civil action.
§ 507. Nonapplicability
Nothing contained in this section shall be construed as limiting or otherwise affecting the liability and responsibilities of an amusement park operator under the act of June 18, 1984 (P.L. 384, No. 81), known as the Amusement Ride Inspection Act, or as preventing the maintenance of an action against an amusement operator for negligent construction, maintenance or operation of an amusement ride. In addition, nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting or otherwise affecting the responsibility and liability of an amusement park operator to provide reasonable supervision for riders.

Special Conditions: 

Waterslides may be regulated by the Dept. of Health.

Date of last update: 
April 9, 2017