“Do I feel safe? … I don’t even know how to answer that question,” said Felix, 37, who is a new employee at the South Florida Fair, which runs thru this weekend.
Coming into this job, he did not have any concerns for his safety.
“It’s a hard one because I’ve only been here for a week. I would like to think that I am safe. I do feel safe, until, something happens. I guess.”
In preparation for the 105th year of the annual South Florida Fair, Vincent Redd, 54, was setting up the “Dutch Wheel” carnival ride for this year’s opening. As an employee of Powers Great American Midways, Redd was electrocuted on January 9. He was rushed to St. Mary’s Medical Center where he was pronounced dead that night.
This is not the first time someone associated with a fair died in the state of Florida. Just last year on April 6, an employee working for the Miami-Dade County Fair was inspecting the “Hurricane,” and was trapped inside. The individual also was killed on site.
When crowds first enter the fair, they are obligated to have their bags checked and go through metal detectors. These actions are done to ensure fairgoers’ safety. Before going on a ride, it is mandatory that there are posted rules and instructions, such as a height requirement.
Additionally, an employee who started working at the fair this year, who wished not to be identified, said it is also necessary for all employees to take safety classes.
At his first day on the job, this particular worker was informed about Redd’s death. When questioned about the incident, he could not comment on how such tragedy could have been prevented.
For the most part, workers at fairs said they feel safe working on site; however, they agreed more could be done to prevent accidents.
Established in 1980, Power Great American Midways claims today that safety is the company’s most important priority. To that end, it insists the number one goal is to employ certified welders, mechanics and ride computer technicians.
In Florida, the responsibility to inspect portable rides falls upon the Department of Agriculture Bureau of Fair Rides Inspections. State inspectors are required to enforce safety regulations at each setup.