Wednesday, November 05, 2014
MIDWAY FLASH ... MIDWAY FLASH ... Ringling Blamed for Hair-Hanging Collapse in Providence ... Misuse of Rigging Caused “Catastrophic Failure”
OSHA’s investigation into the shocking collapse of a rigging in Providence, as reported by AP, has concluded that Ringling riggers, “misused a key rigging component in a hair-hanging stunt, causing a fall that seriously injured eight acrobats, federal workplace safety regulators said Tuesday.”
The good news for Feld Entertainment, cited by OSHA for a “serious safety violation,” is that the company may only have to pay a proposed $7,000 fine.
The bad news: A looming PR disaster. But likely Feld Entertainment will move its money and damage control masters into overdrive, and the whole thing may soon fizzle out. However, several of the injured aerialists had earlier engaged a law firm to represent them in seeking damages (see the post below), and this could bring negative attention onto the circus. My guess is that the Felds will make every effort to settle out of court.
Already, Ringling’s PR operative Stephen Payne, Vice President of Corporate Communications, is disputing the finding. Said he to AP reporters, “the clip was carrying a lower load than it was rated to hold.”
As reported by AP, quoting:
OSHA investigators said the company attached two rings to the bottom of the carabiner, rather than one, in violation of what it said was industry practice and of the manufacturer's instructions. Investigators said that caused the clip to be overloaded.**
Payne disputed that, saying the clip was carrying a lower load than it was rated to hold.
David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, called it a "catastrophic failure," and said it demonstrates the circus industry needs professional engineers to develop, evaluate and inspect the structures it uses in performances.
End of quoting.
** This strikes me as highly damaging evidence, it is so specific.