Indiana OSHA Issues Safety Orders, Citations in Connection to State Fair Stage Collapse

Feb. 16, 2012
On Aug. 13, 2011, the grandstand stage at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis collapsed and killed seven people, including two employees, and injured dozens of others. Following a 6-month investigation, the Indiana Department of Labor (IOSHA) has cited three organizations and issued safety orders in connection to the fatal incident.

According to media reports, weather conditions – including high winds with gusts up to 70 mph – led to the stage collapse. During a Feb. 8 media conference, Indiana Department of Labor Commissioner Lori A. Torres called Aug. 13 "a tragic day."

"We extend our condolences to all the many families and individuals that were touched by this, not just the two employee deaths that we investigated," Torres said.

Safety Orders and Penalties

IOSH issued a safety order for a serious violation and a $6,300 penalty to the Indiana State Fair Commission for failing to conduct a comprehensive life safety evaluation of the concert venues at the fair.

"The State Fair Commission failed to have conducted an adequate life safety evaluation and plan prior to the event," said Torres. "The commission simply did not establish and maintain conditions of work for its employees that were reasonably safe and free from recognized hazards."

Another safety order was issued to Local 30 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, including Theatrical Payroll Services Inc., for three serious violations. These citations included failure to consider soil conditions when placing cable anchor points for the grandstand stage; failure to provide fall protection for employees working 4 feet or more above ground level; and failure to conduct a PPE hazard assessment of the worksite. A non-serious violation also was issued for failure to maintain proper OSHA records for 4 years. Penalties for these violations totaled $11,500.

Finally, IOSHA issued a safety order to Mid-America Sound Corporation for three "knowing violations," which included failure to develop and implement an operations management plan; the failure to develop a risk assessment plan, failure to maintain and use current engineering calculations and documentation; and failure to provide appropriate, qualified supervision. Penalties for these violations totaled $63,000.

"We have issued knowing citations to Mid-America Sound Corporation, which indicates the most serious safety violation," Torres said. "The evidence demonstrated that the Mid-America Sound Corporation was aware of the appropriate requirements and demonstrated a plain indifference to complying with those requirements."

Each organization will have 15 business days, by Indiana law, to pay the penalties or to contest them to the Indiana Board of Safety Review. A copy of the safety orders is available at http://www.in.gov/dol/2367.htm.

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