More information has become available relating to the deadly Indiana State Fair collapse. It was reported last month by the state Department of Labor that the company that built the stage appeared to be indifferent to safety standards. The agency cited Mid-America Sound Corp. with three major safety violations in connection with the collapse of outdoor stage rigging in August of last year, when a powerful storm swept into the fairgrounds. The stage fell onto the large crowd of people who had gathered to watch the country duo Sugarland perform. Seven people were killed and 58 injured in the incident. When announcing the release of the report, State Labor Commissioner Lori Torres stated:
The evidence demonstrated that the Mid-America Sound Corp. was aware of the appropriate requirements and demonstrated a plain indifference to complying with those requirements.
The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration performed the investigation leading to the report on the stage collapse. The Labor Department issued a $63,000 fine against the company. Commissioner Torres said the OSHA report investigated workplace violations, but was not attempting to determine what caused the collapse.
The Department also issued a small fine against the Indiana State Fair Commission for failing to conduct proper safety evaluations of its concert venues. The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 30 also came under fire, accused of five workplace violations. The report found that the union, not the commission, was the employer of the stagehands who were working on the date when the stage collapsed. It was pointed out that the commission controls the fairgrounds. The union was also issued a small fine. Sugarland was not penalized. The agency said the band didn’t employ the workers and wasn’t responsible for building the stage.
State officials have hired two out-of-state companies to review the stage collapse and the state’s emergency response to the disaster. International engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti is conducting an investigation of the rigging collapse and national emergency planning advisers Witt Associates are reviewing the state’s emergency plans and its response to the collapse. Commissioner Torres said fair officials didn’t have an adequate plan for evacuating the area as a severe thunderstorm packing high winds and lightning approached the fairgrounds. She observed: “Plan or no plan, the wind blew over the stage structure. It was their duty to evacuate timely.”
Source: Insurance Journal
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