As an update to our October 19, 2007 report, a second review of Playland Amusement Park in Rye, New York is not nearly as favorable as the initial report. H. Harold Hudson, a consultant retained by Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano, has determined that although ride operators performed their duties in an “efficient and proficient manner”, there are noticeable improvements that are needed to improve safety at the New York landmark. Clearly, in the wake of the third fatal accident at Playland since 2004, there was a general concern that Playland had become dangerous premises in New York.
Mr. Hudson noted the following:
1. On many of the larger rides, there were too many ride operators, creating an atmosphere in which operators were socializing with their co-employees more than focusing on their ride responsibilities;
2. At shift time, confusion and uncertainty “crept in”, leaving “large gaps in ride operator’s attention to their ride duties”;
3. Security officers were observed spending large amounts of time socializing rather than paying attention to what was going on around them;
4. Operators were observed jumping on and off the carousel platform while the ride was operating at full speed.
This latter observation is of particular concern in light of the tragic death of park employee Gabriela Garin back in June of 2007, who was killed on the “Mind Scrambler” while allegedly not seat belted, and purportedly standing up while the ride was at full speed. In addition, as Ms. Garin was on duty at the time, park rules forbade Ms. Garin from being on the ride at the time of the fatal accident. There is also an open issue as to why the other ride operator started the ride knowing that Ms. Garin was not supposed to be on the ride and was not buckled into her seat.
Mr. Hudson also made several recommendation to improve safety, including better and more uniform signage, a review of staffing levels on all rides, and standardized operating procedures for all rides.