Safety Corner - February 2023
Safety Corner - February 2023
Amusement Warehouse Magazine

Safety Corner is a monthly column published in's Amusement Warehouse Magazine written by Worldwide Safety Group's president, Avery Wheelock. Please consider a subscription to Amusement Warehouse Magazine to read this and more about the Carnival, Fair, and Amusement Park Industry.

This Month's issue is the Gibtown Special edition and since I was a kid our family always looked forward to packing up for a couple weeks of no school and traveling down to Florida from Syracuse, NY. and staying at my Grandparents property in Plant City. We had to do our homework that the teachers would give us so that we didn't fall behind because we were going to miss so many days, but it was always fun to get to go to Gibtown and see all the new rides and toys and new things.

One thing that wasn't fun was sitting in the big room with all the smoke while our parents caught up with friends that they hadn't seen since the previous Trade Show. I remember when the club got those big smoke eating machines in the ceiling and it became bearable to hang out in the building. Boy those were the days and the improvements that have been made to the club and to our industry over the last several decades are amazing.

The family property in Plant City has now become my home for the last 20 plus years and I get to come to the trade show every year. In recent years, I have been performing the safety inspections of the grounds prior to the Trade Show. Everyone knows that in our industry slips, trips, and falls are the number one claim we have and even at a trade show, put on by show people and for show people, there is potential to have those things happen. We try and reduce the potential by identifying the risks and taking actions to address the issues.

People travel from all over the country to come to the biggest gathering of show people and as they do so, we hope that they have safe travels whether it be by plane, train, or truck, please be careful traveling to and from the show. We have discussed safety-related issues since the start of this great magazine but one thing that I have not discussed is the transportation side of our business. The trucks that we have running up and down the interstates get plenty of inspections as they go through the various weight stations and DOT check points. Most large shows have full time truck mechanics and their only job is to maintain the rolling stock of the show. Small shows don't have that luxury, they have to rely on themselves or the local repair shops to make repairs and service the fleet.

When I was going to school I took Auto Mechanics in high school and then went on to a technical college for diesel mechanics so that I would be able to work on our own trucks when they broke down. I quickly learned, after graduating, that when a truck breaks down the show still must go on and you call a wrecker and switch out the truck. But what I gained in knowledge of mechanics has helped me in everything I do including the inspection work I have been doing the last 15 plus years.

Our industry is made up of families just like mine that maintain their own equipment, repair their own trucks, and do whatever it takes to make opening. So, I believe we are the most safety minded people in the world, and I am proud to be in this business.

Fairs have already started in Florida and Texas, and probably elsewhere in the warmer states, so it's time to start thinking about getting stuff back in operation. The shows that are open have new employees that need to be trained.  The returning employees need to have refresher training, and of course, these trainings must be documented. Remember if you don't document it, you didn't do it!

If you have a person in charge of training your employees make sure that before you open to the public that every operator has training and has signed off on being trained. This includes people that have been with the show for years.  You must have current training documents for everyone. If an incident happens on the first day of the season or the employees first week of work, you don't want to be trying to “create” documents to give to the State officials that are asking for the records.

The same goes for daily ride inspection sheets.  Make sure that whoever is performing the inspections has been trained on what to inspect, how to inspect it ,and have a document that says that they were trained on how to perform the daily inspections. Then make sure that they are filling them out as they perform the inspection, not at the office just checking off the boxes all at once.

There are different companies out there that can assist your company with creating training programs or reviewing your current program, and help you to have a better understanding of the importance of good record keeping. Please reach out to me or anyone else in the industry that might be able to point you in the right direction for whatever your needs may be.

Don't forget to issue new hard hats and high visibility shirts to the employees to make sure that the Personal Protective Equipment the employees need is available and is being used properly. Train the employees on when and where they must be wearing a hard hat or when they must be wearing fall protection. Have a procedure for protecting your employees from harming themselves or others. Maybe this year if you haven't been holding safety meetings, you will start having weekly safety meetings and record what was discussed and who attended.

Create a safety culture at your company, and your company will grow and become more efficient and the employees will be proud of their company and the safety record they will be helping to maintain. We all Say “Safety First”, let's make the 2023 season as safe as we possibly can.

I hope that everyone has a great experience coming to Florida for the Trade show, if you're from other parts of the country or world, hopefully we will have great weather for the week and you can enjoy a little bit of the Sunshine State. Remember to get a souvenir before going home, whether it be a new food trailer, a new ride, or a trailer load of teddy bears shipped to your barn. If those items aren't on the purchase list, maybe just a box of R- keys because just like eggs, they used to be cheaper in the country away from the city. Supplies from Showmen's or Galaxy are cheaper without the shipping and we always need R-keys and light bulbs to get open in the spring.

I hope that you gained one piece of information from this short piece on safety and can help make our industry safer and better every day. I can be reached via email  or at 813-505-3938 for any questions or comments, please feel free to provide feedback to help me better communicate these safety related messages. Remember “Our World Revolves Around Safety!”

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