The collapse of a water ride at Big Splash Water Park in
Tulsa, Okla., has spurred state department officials and
politicians to begin inspecting all of Oklahoma?s
The move is in response to a June 8 incident when a
section of the park?s water coaster collapsed while
an 11-year-old girl was riding it. The girl was not
injured, but the accident set off a flurry of inspections.
The labor commissioner dispatched five inspectors to
evaluate Big Splash and the state?s largest park,
WhiteWater Bay Water Park.
Tom Monroe, the state?s safety standards
director and chief amusement ride inspector, said the
inspections modeled after ASTM International
criteria would be the first of many.
Previously, no inspections were conducted. Water-ride
inspections are spotty at best nationwide, though no good
In Oklahoma, the six certified amusement-ride inspectors
will conduct evaluations of the state?s waterparks
two to three times during the summer and once or twice
during the off-season. Currently, there are 25 to 30 parks
on the agency?s list.
State Rep. Randy Terrill pointed out that while
waterparks pay independent engineering companies to inspect
their rides for insurance purposes, a state inspection
would be different. ?Department of Labor employees
would have safety at the front of their minds,?
Along with state Rep. Ron Peterson, Terrill is laying
the groundwork for a bill that would change the
state?s definition of ?amusement
ride.? It would give the Labor Department clear
authority to inspect all aspects of a waterpark, from
slides to water quality, the latter of which is currently
the duty of the Health Department.
Amber Beck, Big Splash Water Park?s manager,
said that she is glad to have another set of eyes inspect
the rides and welcomes the move.