1976 South Carolina Code of Laws
Unannotated
Updated through the end of the 2004 Session

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This statutory database is current through the 2004 Regular Session of the South Carolina General Assembly. Changes to the statutes enacted by the 2005 General Assembly, which will convene in January 2005, will be incorporated as soon as possible. Some changes enacted by the 2005 General Assembly may take immediate effect. The State of South Carolina and the South Carolina Legislative Council make no warranty as to the accuracy of the data, and users rely on the data entirely at their own risk.

Title 41 - Labor and Employment

CHAPTER 18.

SOUTH CAROLINA AMUSEMENT RIDES SAFETY CODE

SECTION 41-18-10. Short title.

This chapter may be cited as the "South Carolina Amusement Rides Safety Code".

SECTION 41-18-20. Legislative intent.

(A) The purpose of this chapter is to guard against personal injuries in the assembly, disassembly, and use of amusement devices at carnivals, fairs, and amusement parks to persons employed at or attending carnivals, fairs, and amusement parks and, in the event of a personal injury, to ensure to the injured party the possibility of financial recovery as against the owner of the carnival, fair, or amusement park where the injury occurred.

(B) It is the intent of this chapter that amusement devices must be designed, constructed, assembled or disassembled, maintained, and operated so as to prevent injuries.

SECTION 41-18-30. Applicability; exceptions.

(A) This chapter applies to amusement devices at carnivals, fairs, and amusement parks where an admission or fee is customarily or usually charged located within the State or at other places open to the public and to the managers of these devices, to the persons employed in connection with these devices, and to their employees.

(B) This chapter does not apply to single passenger, coin-operated, manually, mechanically, or electrically operated rides, except where admission is charged for the use of the equipment, and this chapter may not be construed so as to limit the right of a person to conduct any hotel, restaurant, or eating place at an amusement park.

(C) This chapter does not apply to air-supported structures.

SECTION 41-18-40. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, except as otherwise expressly provided:

(1) "Amusement device" means any mechanical device or combination of devices which carries or conveys passengers on, along, around, over, or through a fixed or restricted course or within a defined area for the purpose of giving its passengers amusement, pleasure, or excitement.

(2) "Amusement park" means a tract or area used principally as a permanent location for amusement devices or structures.

(3) "Director" means the Director of the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation or the director's designee or representative.

(4) "Carnival" means an itinerant enterprise consisting principally of temporary amusement devices or mechanical rides operated to provide entertainment or amusement to the public.

(5) "Fair" means an enterprise principally devoted to the exhibition of the products of agriculture or industry and at which amusement devices or temporary structures are provided for use by the public.

(6) "Owner" means a person, corporation, partnership, or association who owns an amusement device or, in the event that the amusement device is leased, the lessee.

(7) "Permanent device" means a device which is used, or intended to be used, as an amusement device that is erected to remain a lasting part of the premises.

(8) "Temporary device" means a device which is used as an amusement device that is regularly relocated with or without disassembly.

(9) "Serious injury" means an injury that results in death or requires immediate in-patient hospitalization. A fracture or disfigurement is considered a serious injury even if no hospitalization is required. Notwithstanding the definition of serious injury, the owner or lessee of any amusement device under this section must maintain permanent records of all injuries sustained by participants utilizing the amusement. These records shall be open for inspection by any authorized representative of the department.

(10) "Safety coordinator" means a person suited by training or experience and designated by the owner or operator of an amusement park, fair, or carnival as being in charge of the safety of all amusement devices located at the park, fair, or carnival.

(11) "Department" means the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

(12) "Special inspector" means an inspector licensed by the director and not employed by the department.

(13) "Catastrophic accident" means an incident resulting in fatality or three or more injuries resulting in hospitalization.

SECTION 41-18-50. Permit required; transferability of permits.

No amusement device may be operated in the State without a permit issued by the director. A permit is not transferable and if a permit holder voluntarily discontinues operation of the amusement device, all rights secured under the permit are terminated.

SECTION 41-18-60. Application for permit; duration of permit; revocation.

(A) Before commencement of the operation of a permanent or temporary device, the owner or lessee shall make written application to the director for a permit to operate. The permit is valid for a period of up to one year expiring on December thirty-first of the year issued.

(B) No temporary device may be used at any time or location unless prior notice of intent to use the device has been given to the director. Notice of planned schedules must:

(1) be in writing;

(2) identify the temporary device;

(3) state the intended dates and locations of use; and

(4) be mailed to the director at least seven days before the first intended date of use.

However, the director may waive the requirements enumerated in this subsection.

(C) A permit to operate must be issued to the owner or lessee of an amusement device when:

(1) written application has been made to the director;

(2) the amusement device has passed all required inspections;

(3) the liability insurance required by Section 41-18-90 has been met in the amount prescribed.

(D) The director may revoke a permit issued pursuant to this chapter if it is determined that an amusement device is:

(1) being operated without the inspections required by Sections 41-18-70 and 41-18-80;

(2) being operated without the insurance required by Section 41-18-90;

(3) being operated with a mechanical, electrical, structural, design, or other defect which presents an excessive risk of serious injury to passengers, bystanders, operators, or attendants;

(4) being operated without the required documentation or paperwork; or

(5) being operated in a manner contrary to the operating fact sheets.

(E) Any other violation of this chapter may result in a revocation, if written notice of noncompliance is served upon the owner specifying a violation of this chapter and directing the owner to correct the violations within the period specified by the director. If the owner and the department fail to agree that the violations referred to in this section have been corrected, the department shall give notice of and provide a hearing for the owner to determine whether compliance has been met. The Administrative Procedures Act governs contested cases of this nature and any other contested cases arising under this chapter.

(F) Nothing in this chapter prevents an owner whose permit to operate an amusement device has been revoked pursuant to this section from reapplying for a permit in accordance with this chapter, except as otherwise specifically provided in this chapter. Upon application to have a revoked permit reinstated under this section, the department shall inspect the amusement ride in question as promptly as practicable, but in no case more than seventy-two hours after the submission of the application.

SECTION 41-18-70. Inspection requirement.

Before a permit may be issued as provided in Sections 41-18-50 and 41-18-60, an inspection of the amusement device must be made in compliance with the procedures set by the director. The inspection must have been conducted within one month before the permit application, unless the period is extended by operation of Section 41-18-80(E).

SECTION 41-18-80. Inspection procedures.

(A) In the case of a permanent device, the amusement device must be inspected by the director or special inspector. Thereafter, as a requirement for the issuance of each subsequent permit, the amusement device must be inspected at least annually by the director or by a special inspector. The inspection shall at minimum comply with the requirements of the director. An affidavit of the annual inspection must be filed with the director.

(B) In the case of a temporary device, before first operation in the State each year, the amusement device must be inspected by the director or special inspector for the permit to be issued. Thereafter, the amusement device must be inspected at least annually by the director or a special inspector. The inspection must at minimum comply with the requirements of the director. An affidavit of the annual inspection must be filed with the director.

(C) In the case of an amusement device which is substantially rebuilt or substantially modified so as to change the structure, mechanism, or capacity of the device, the owner or lessee shall give written notice to the director who shall cause the device to be inspected before the time in which it is put into operation and who shall cause any current permit to be updated so as to include any modifications made to the device.

(D) In the event an operator is unable to secure an inspection within one year from the date of the previous inspection, the previous inspection is considered valid for purposes of this chapter for a period of thirty additional days, if the operator made an inspection request to any of those individuals qualified to make the inspection at least sixty days before the permit expiration date.

(E) Upon proper presentation of credentials, the director or his inspectors may enter unannounced and inspect amusement devices at reasonable times and in a reasonable manner and have the right to question any owner, manager, or agent of the owner, to inspect, investigate, photograph, and sample all pertinent places, areas, and devices, and to examine and reproduce all pertinent documents and records for the purpose of enforcing the provisions of this chapter. No fee may be charged for these unannounced inspections.

(F) No amusement device which fails to pass an inspection may be operated for public use until it has passed a subsequent inspection.

(G) Each sponsor of a fair or carnival and the owner of the land or their designees, upon which the fair or carnival is located, shall make a visual inspection of each amusement device at least once each week during the period the fair or carnival is operating. The director shall provide a checklist for this inspection. If an unsafe amusement device or condition is discovered, it must be immediately reported to the director.

(H) A special inspector shall have:

(1) at least five years' experience in amusement device maintenance and safety, and completion of approved courses in materials inspection and testing and in fasteners, or a four-year college degree in engineering or architecture with a minimum of twelve semester hours of course work in the area of mechanics and strength of materials and

(2) evidence of successful completion of an approved Rides Safety Inspection Course within the previous two calendar years.

SECTION 41-18-90. Liability insurance requirement.

Before the Labor Division of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation may issue a permit to the owner or lessee of an amusement device, the owner or lessee of the device shall furnish the Labor Division with proof that the owner or lessee has purchased insurance from an acceptable insurer in an amount not less than five hundred thousand dollars for each occurrence against liability for injury to persons arising out of the use of the amusement device and that the policy of liability is in effect. The amount of the deductible provision in the policy of insurance is dependent upon the owner's or the lessee's proof of financial responsibility and must be established by the Labor Division on a case-by-case basis. For purposes of this section, an acceptable insurer for a "permanent device" is an insurer which is either licensed by the Director of the Department of Insurance in this State or approved by the Department of Insurance as a nonadmitted surplus lines carrier for risks located in this State. For a "temporary device" an insurer shall meet either of these requirements or shall meet minimum financial requirements for admission as a licensed company in South Carolina and must be licensed in the "temporary device's" owner's or lessee's home state or must be an approved nonadmitted surplus lines carrier for risks located in that home state. Each policy, by its original terms or an endorsement, shall obligate the insurer that it will not cancel, suspend, or nonrenew the policy without thirty days' written notice of the proposed cancellation, suspension, or nonrenewal and a complete report of the reasons for the cancellation, suspension, or nonrenewal being given to the Labor Division. In the event the liability insurance is canceled, suspended, or nonrenewed, the insurer shall give immediate notice to the Labor Division. This section may not be construed to expand any of the rights granted the employees of the owners, operators, or lessees under the workers' compensation laws of this State.

SECTION 41-18-100. Discrimination; duties of owner or lessee in event of catastrophic accident or accident resulting in serious injury; inspection and correction of defects.

(A) The owner or amusement ride operator may deny any person entrance to the amusement ride based on the person's size, weight, or physical condition if the owner or amusement ride operator believes the entry may jeopardize the safety of the person desiring entry, riders, or other persons. Denial may not be based on color, race, sex, religion, or national origin.

(B) The owner or lessee of any amusement device which, during the course of its operation, is involved in an accident which results in a serious injury shall report the injury to the owner's or lessee's insurer.

(C) The owner or lessee of any amusement device which, during the course of its operation, is involved in an accident which results in a serious injury shall report the injury to the director immediately and in no case later than the close of business of the director's next business day. Any owner or lessee who becomes aware at a later date that a serious injury had occurred shall report it immediately and in no case later than the end of the next business day.

(D) When a catastrophic accident occurs involving the operation of an amusement device, the owner or lessee shall immediately shut down the device from further use. The device may not resume operation until the safety coordinator determines that the catastrophic accident was not caused by a mechanical or structural defect in the amusement device.

(E) If the safety coordinator determines that a catastrophic accident was caused by a mechanical failure or structural defect, the device must remain shut down until repairs are completed and the device is considered operational by a licensed architect, professional engineer, qualified inspector of an insurance underwriter, or other qualified inspector, each of whom must be approved by the director. An affidavit of the inspection and correction of defect must be filed with the director.

SECTION 41-18-110. Notice to owners and operators of amusement devices.

Upon request, the director shall furnish to all owners, lessees, and operators of amusement devices notice of all rights and obligations under the provisions of this chapter upon receipt of permit applications.

SECTION 41-18-120. Promulgation of regulations; fees.

The director may promulgate regulations consistent with this chapter guarding against personal injuries in the assembly, disassembly, and use of amusement devices at carnivals, fairs, and amusement parks to persons employed at or to persons attending the carnivals, fairs, and amusement parks and regarding enforcement of any other provision of this chapter. The director shall promulgate regulations to charge and collect reasonable fees for permits and for inspections and any other activity under this chapter as considered necessary by the director for the proper enforcement of this chapter. Fees may be set by regulation not more than once each year.

SECTION 41-18-130. Duties of director.

The director is charged with the affirmative duty of administering and enforcing this chapter.

SECTION 41-18-140. Pre-emption of local regulations.

No political subdivision may make or maintain any ordinance, bylaw, or resolution providing for any of the matters covered under and regulated by this chapter, and an ordinance, bylaw, or resolution relating to a matter covered under and regulated by this chapter is void.

SECTION 41-18-150. Civil penalties.

(A) A person is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed two thousand dollars per device for each day of noncompliance with this subsection if the person knowingly and wilfully operates an amusement device without:

(1) the permit required by Sections 41-18-50 and 41-18-60;

(2) the inspections required by Sections 41-18-70 and 41-18-80;

(3) the insurance required by Section 41-18-90; or

(4) complying with any other provision of this chapter or regulation promulgated under this chapter.

(B) A person is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed two thousand dollars per device for each day of noncompliance with this subsection if the person operates an amusement device without:

(1) the permit required by Sections 41-18-50 and 41-18-60;

(2) the inspections required by Sections 41-18-70 and 41-18-80;

(3) the insurance required by Section 41-18-90; or

(4) complying with any other provision of this chapter or regulation promulgated under this chapter.

(C) The director may assess the penalties under this section and, in assessing penalties under subsection (A), shall give due consideration to the appropriateness of the penalty with respect to the size of the owner's or lessee's business, the good faith of the owner or lessee, and the owner's or lessee's history of previous violation.

(D) Revenue derived under this chapter must be remitted to the State Treasurer and deposited in the general fund.





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