Washington Dept. of Labor and Industries

Dept. of Labor and Industries
Overview of Amusement Ride Regulation
Regulation Type: 
Government officials inspect rides, but not authorized to investigate accidents
Inspection Program: 

By state law, all amusement rides must be inspected at least once a year for mechanical and electrical safety. In addition, electrical inspections are required each time an amusement ride is set up.

The annual safety inspections - mechanical and electrical - are done by third-party, amusement-ride inspectors hired by the ride operator or an insurance company. The inspectors examine for things such as metal fatigue, welds, worn parts, safety bars, hydraulic systems and electrical systems to assure overall integrity of the ride.

Onsite electrical inspections are done by certified L&I inspectors. They examine the power that feeds a ride - from the generator or other electrical source to the main point of power connection to the ride. These inspections must meet the criteria of the National Electrical Code. L&I's electrical-inspection jurisdiction applies to all locations throughout the state except in cities approved to perform their own electrical inspections.

Investigative Authority: 

Following an accident, Department of L&I may suspend operation of the ride until it is re-inspected, but state regulations do not allow government officials to investigate the accident. The state does not produce an independent report, simply files whatever explanation the operator supplies.

Reporting Criteria: 

Ride operators must report to the department within 24 hours: 1) any incident or accident where evacuation of a ride results from an electrical or mechanical malfunction or when emergency personnel are needed to assist in the evacuation; and 2) any incident or accident involving personal injury that requires medical treatment, other than ordinary first aid.

Patron Responsibility Law: 


Special Conditions: 

Waterslides are regulated by the Washington State Dept. of Health.

Date of last update: 
September 16, 2008