Baton Rouge hosts conference for ride safety inspectors

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - For the first time ever, the State of Louisiana hosted a ride safety conference at the Blue Bayou Water Park and Dixie Landin' park in Baton Rouge.

The rides served as a template for ride safety inspectors from all over the world to update their certifications and learn new techniques.

The National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials (NAARSO) holds this conference every year, and this year, they decided on Baton Rouge. A big topic was a horrific accident at a park in Ohio in August of 2017 that killed one person and injured seven others. Officials determined that excessive corrosion led to the accident.

"We've really concentrated on comprehensive corrosion inspections, non-destructive testing inspections, which we've always had schools for that and classes for that, so this year we expanded those quite a bit just to try to encompass some of the issues that we have learned about through that unfortunate incident that happened this year in August," said Jonathan Brooks, president of NAARSO.

"Even with all of the controls in place, we can still have accidents," said State Fire Marshal Butch Browning. "Today is the day to understand how we can have the highest level of safety to prevent accidents, but when there is an accident, reduce the severity of the accident."

Inspectors came from all over the world, including Asia. Winson Lee is a safety inspector from Singapore, who says he learned a lot from the conference. "Our market is quite small as compared to what you have in Louisiana," Lee said. "It's more complex here, you have more complex and exciting rides, so I think it's worth learning from because it's that expanding market."

Browning says it took a five-year effort to get the conference to Baton Rouge. He hopes they can host it again in the future.

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