ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Crews are working overtime to finish Volcano Bay at Universal Studios, leaving some to wonder if there will be enough time to complete safety inspections before the opening.
The state of Florida sends out inspectors to make sure carnival rides for churches or schools are safe, but when it comes to the big theme parks, there is limited state oversight.
The rides are still regularly inspected.
Disney World, Universal Studious, SeaWorld and Legoland have their own teams of inspectors, which include the manufacturers of the ride.
Brian Avery, a former safety specialist for SeaWorld who helped open the Kraken, said not having to wait for state inspectors means that new attractions can be checked every step of the way during construction.
“Those individuals, the contractor, the manufacturer, are going to be on property with Universal people, with engineers, and they’re all collaborating to make sure it’s installed per manufacturer regulations,” said Avery.
He said the inspectors are on site at all times.
From a layman’s perspective, there is a lot left to do at Volcano Bay.
Watch: Crews work on Volcano Bay
Many of the pools don't have water yet.
Avery said inspectors will have to wait for that before they can test every aspect of the park, and will use everything from dummies to representatives from the manufacturer, to make sure the park is safe and compliant.
“For every body type, size, weight, height, these types of issues are addressed,” Avery said. “(We check) the potential for multiple riders or collision of riders. You’ve got to look at every perspective."
Avery said that because of the liability, any ride not ready won’t be available on opening day.
Because they have their own inspectors, the big theme parks in Florida also can self-report accidents.
Florida reports fewer injuries than parks in California and Texas.
Avery said having their own safety teams instead of state inspection helps reduce injury reports.