Promises broken?: State Fair of LA safety - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Promises broken?: State Fair of LA safety

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SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -

Promises to upgrade safety standards during the State Fair of Louisiana are being called into question after ride operators are caught on camera reportedly not following the new rules put in place just two weeks ago.

Going into the start of the fair, State Fair officials stressed the importance of new levels of safety in the wake of last year's near fatal accident. Then 4-year-old S.J. Lewis became trapped underneath a kiddie ride moments after a ride operator walked away from the controls while the ride was still energized, or on.

Last year's amusement company responsible for supplying and operating the rides, Lowery, was not brought back by the State Fair. Crabtree Amusements was hired to work this year's fair. And in an KSLA News 12 report on October 25th, Crabtree's owner, Pat Crabtree, explained their new safety standards. Many rides would come with 'dead man switches', an extra step to operate the rides. And keys were to be taken out any time a ride operator left the controls. 

However a week ago, while Doug was at the fairgrounds, he noted roughly a dozen incidents where midway workers had left the key turned 'on' and unattended in the control box, ride operators texting, and other situations where no significantly detectible levels of a safety program was in place.

Doug showed his pictures and video to the general manager of the State Fair, Chris Giordano and Crabtree owner Pat Crabtree.

"Oh, that's a definite no no. There's no texting or cell phone use on the rides, " said Crabtree while watching video of a ride operator texting and paying little attention to the ride or the young passengers on the ride.

Added Crabtree, "Like any other employer, we're having a problem communicating the fact they have to take the key out."

To help remedy the problem, Crabtree said he was calling for an immediate safety meeting with his operators. He also showed Doug new stickers that would be placed on control boxes to remind ride operators to remove the key. Signs are also now posted encouraging fair goers to turn in ride operators who fail to remove the key.

"I think with a safety program, you'll always identify issues at different points in time that need to be addressed. And the fact of the matter is, we're addressing those, " said Giordano, who also points out he has 100% confidence in Crabtree Amusements.

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