Lauren Block, a 22-year-old stripper, died Jan. 9 of injuries she suffered several days earlier while working at Christie’s Cabaret in Cleveland. Cleveland police and paramedics were called to the club in the early morning hours of Jan. 2, where they found a bloody and unconscious Block lying on the floor.
Police determined that Block was critically injured when she fell head first over a railing at the club while performing a move in her lap dance routine. They have ruled the incident accidental.
According to the police report, Block was giving a lap dance to a New Jersey man when the accident happened. According to the police report, "He stated that she grabbed the rail, as he was facing away from the balcony, and she tried to complete some sort of jump/dance move, and accidentally went head first over the rail."
She was rushed to Cleveland’s MetroHealth Medical Center and listed in critical condition. On Jan. 9, her family announced that she had died, saying, "She has passed away but is an organ donor, and we hope this will enable her to save many lives and live on through others."
The family thanked the staff at MetroHealth, saying, "They worked tirelessly to do all they could to save her life."
Howard Eberts, area director of OSHA's Cleveland office, said his office is investigating. According to Eberts, the agency has investigated complaints stemming from employment at similar dance clubs, including complaints about bloodborne pathogens. He said OSHA also investigated a domestic violence incident that took place at a Toledo-area strip club.
As part of the investigation, Eberts said his office is trying to determine if OSHA has jurisdiction in the case. "We are trying to determine if the dancers are employees of the club or if they are independent contractors," he said. "Independent contractors are not normally covered by OSHA. We're trying to work out those legal issues."
Meanwhile, the investigation is ongoing, he said, adding that investigators are looking at things like the distance between the customer's chair and the guardrail and the height of the guardrail.
One of Block’s former co-workers, Danielle Edwards, told NewsNet5.com, "Even in six inch heels, that railing came up high enough on me that I still had to lean over to see down below. So how she managed to get a majority of her body that far over the railing to where she lost her balance is confusing."
Christie’s Cabaret did not return a request for comment.