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Indiana State Fair Collapse Report Blames Mid-America and IATSE?

Update 11:53am:  audio of the news conference releasing the IOSHA report that happened Wednesday, February 8, 2012.  heads up, it’s a direct link to the .WMA file the State released.

I’m a bit at odds with how to write this article because it is news, after all.

Governor Daniels and his people from the State departments tasked with finding out who to point the finger at with regards to the disaster in Indiana this summer at the Indiana State Fair finally put out their report.  Finally.  The report finds that Mid-America Sound and IATSE Local #30 for the issues.  Something I find confusing and disgusting is that:

  1. Governor Daniels has not acknowledged that the State has any blame;
  2. the PRODUCERS of this event haven’t had any blame placed on them, either.

Does anyone else find this disturbing?

Here are the blame documents and the safety violations with fines attached.  I downloaded the originals posted today.

  1. ISFC News Release
  2. IOSHA Inspections FACT SHEET
  3. Safety Order for the Indiana State Fair Commission
  4. Summary Sheet for the Indiana State Fair Commission
  5. Safety Order for IATSE Local #30
  6. Summary Sheet for IATSE Local #30
  7. Safety Order for Mid-America Sound
  8. Summary Sheet for Mid-America Sound

From a post at the Indy Star:

Lori A. Torres, Indiana Commissioner of Labor, said IOSHA’s role was not to determine what caused the stage rigging collapse but to look for workplace safety violations.

Torres said the State Fair Commission did not protect employees from hazards and had an inadequate plan for emergencies. Fair officials were slow to make appropriate decisions, Torres said.

IOHSA cited union riggers for failing to check soil conditions before securing guide wires. The construction was not “competent” by industry standards, the report said.
One stagehand, Nathan Byrd, was among those killed in the collapse. At least nine other union members were injured in the collapse.

The IOSHA investigation is only one of several investigations into the stage rigging collapse.

The State Fair Commission also hired Thornton Tomasetti, an engineering firm based in New York City, to investigate the rigging collapse.

Gov. Mitch Daniels later hired Witt Associates, a public safety and crisis management consulting firm based in Washington, D.C., to conduct a “comprehensive, independent analysis” of the fair’s preparedness and response to the disaster.

I feel it’s necessary to post the text from these summary sheets. See it listed below, it’s short. If you’re in the industry, look at this stuff. Once it becomes legal precedent, things are forever different. It’s our responsibility to watch how this unfolds in our industry.

Summary for Mid-America Sound:

Media Contact: Robert E. Dittmer, APR, 317.234.3793 Indiana Department of Labor – IOSHA Division

SUMMARY SHEET:  FATAL INJURY INVESTIGATION OUTCOME: Indiana State Fair (workplace)

IOSHA found that the Mid-America Sound Corporation, contracted to construct the Load Bearing Roof Structure on the 2011 Hoosier Lottery Grandstand stage, did not establish and maintain conditions of work which were reasonably safe and healthful for employees, and free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or physical harm to employees. Therefore, the following safety violations are issued:

Knowing Violation 1:

  1. a)  Mid-America Sound did not develop and implement an Operations Management Planpertaining to the construction of the 2011 structure.
  2. b)  Mid America Sound, contracted to construct the Load Bearing Roof Structure on the 2011 Hoosier Lottery Grandstand stage, did not prepare proper layout drawings, engineering documentation, and Operations Management Plan for each use.
  3. c)  Mid America Sound, contracted to construct the Load Bearing Roof Structure on the 2011 Hoosier Lottery Grandstand stage, did not develop a risk assessment plan and make workers aware of the hazards pertaining to the construction of the 2011 structure.
  4. d)  Mid America Sound, contracted to construct the Load Bearing Roof Structure on the 2011 Hoosier Lottery Grandstand stage, did not conduct periodic inspections by a qualified person, with appropriate documentation, on the structure constructed at the 2011 Hoosier Lottery Grandstand.
  5. e)  Mid America Sound, contracted to construct the Load Bearing Roof Structure on the 2011 Hoosier Lottery Grandstand stage, did not keep records for each structural component pertaining to the 2011 structure.
    A $21,000 penalty has been assessed.

Knowing Violation 2:

a) Mid-America Sound, contracted to construct the Load Bearing Roof Structure on the 2011 Hoosier Lottery Grandstand stage, did not provide cross-bracing as recommended by the manufacturer.

  1. b)  Mid America Sound, contracted to construct the Load Bearing Roof Structure on the 2011 Hoosier Lottery Grandstand stage, did not take into consideration the soil conditions at the location.
  2. c)  Mid America Sound, contracted to construct the Load Bearing Roof Structure on the 2011 Hoosier Lottery Grandstand stage, did not designate a competent person.A $21,000 penalty has been assessed.

Knowing Violation 3:

  1. a)  Mid-America Sound did not have current engineering calculations, design notes, and test results for the structure constructed at the 2011 Hoosier Lottery grandstand.
  2. b)  Mid America Sound, contracted to construct the Load Bearing Roof Structure on the 2011 Hoosier Lottery Grandstand stage, did not have adequate knowledge of the engineering documentation pertaining to the construction of the 2011 structure.
  3. c)  Mid America Sound, contracted to construct the Load Bearing Roof Structure on the 2011 Hoosier Lottery Grandstand stage, did not take into full consideration weights of all equipment including but not limited to follow-spot chair, temporary personnel occupancy and reactions from fall protection systems pertaining to the 2011 structure.A $21,000 penalty has been assessed.

Total penalties assessed: $63,000.

Abatement is required on all violations no later than 03/06/2012.

The maximum allowable penalty under Indiana law for a Knowing violation is $70,000.

Mid-America Sound Corporation was notified of the findings if this investigation prior to the media briefing.

Summary for the Indiana State Fair:

Media Contact: Robert E. Dittmer, APR, 317.234.3793 Indiana Department of Labor – IOSHA Division

SUMMARY SHEET
FATAL INJURY INVESTIGATION OUTCOME: Indiana State Fair (workplace)

IOSHA found that the Indiana State Fair Commission did not establish and maintain conditions of work which were reasonably safe and healthful for employees, and free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or physical harm to employees. Therefore, the following safety violations are issued:

Serious Violation: The Indiana State Fair Commission did not conduct a life safety evaluation which included an assessment of all conditions and the related appropriate safety measures, of the Indiana State Fairgrounds concert venues, such as but not limited to the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand, for events being held at the 2011 Indiana State Fair.

Abatement is required no later than 03/06/2012. A $6,300 penalty has been assessed.

The maximum allowable penalty under Indiana law for a Serious violation is $7,000.

The State Fair Commission was notified of the findings if this investigation prior to the media briefing.

Summary for IATSE Local #30:

Media Contact: Robert E. Dittmer, APR, 317.234.3793 Indiana Department of Labor – IOSHA Division

SUMMARY SHEET
FATAL INJURY INVESTIGATION OUTCOME: Indiana State Fair (workplace)

IOSHA found that the Local 30 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees including Theatrical Payroll Services did not establish and maintain conditions of work which were reasonably safe and healthful for employees, and free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or physical harm to employees. Therefore, the following safety violations are issued:

Serious Violation 1: IATSE’s head rigger, required to make determinations on the construction and guy wire attachment points and placement of anchors on the load bearing roof structure on the 2011 Hoosier Lottery Grandstand stage, did not take into consideration the soil conditions at the location.

A $3,500.00 penalty has been assessed.

Serious Violation 2: Employees working at the Indiana State Fair Grounds, erecting the load bearing roof at the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand for the 2011 Indiana State Fair were not provided with fall protection from their employer for employees working 4 feet or more above ground level.

A $3,500 penalty has been assessed.

Serious Violation 3: The employer did not conduct a personal protective equipment hazard assessment of the work site to determine the personal protective equipment required when erecting the load bearing roof or any other jobs they perform at the Indiana State Fair grounds.

A $3,500 penalty has been assessed.

Non-Serious Violation 4: (SO #2) The employer did not maintain the OSHA 300 and did not have records of an OSHA 300A for the years 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008.

A $1,000 penalty has been assessed.

Total penalties assessed: $11,500.
Abatement is required on all violations no later than 03/06/2012.
The maximum allowable penalty under Indiana law for a Serious violation is $7,000.
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees including Theatrical Payroll Services was notified of the findings if this investigation prior to the media briefing.

What do you think?  Is this fair?  Is this sufficient for you?  Is this harsh?  Is this unjust?

Please post in the comments.  Share this with your groups.

Indiana State Fair Stage Collapse Claims A Seventh Victim

I want to make sure that no one ever forgets these two images:

Unfortunately, this horrible accident has claimed its seventh life, and now Meagan Toothman’s family is donating her organs, perhaps later today.  Here’s another image not to forget:

Rest in peace, Meagan.  Thanks for donating your organs so that others may improve their quality of life.  We’re really sorry that you had to have this decision made for you.  If you would like to know more about Meagan, check out Meagan’s family’s website on Meagan’s process.  Unfortunately, you know how the story turned out already.

Just a quick recap of some stories you should be reading about this disaster in Indiana:

Boo’s thoughts on the Indiana Stage Collapse

 

Indiana’s Self Policing Raises Questions – this one is kinda great, just because it calls into question the procedures and practices being used by Indiana Fair Investigators.  From the article:

Other states in similar positions have formed special commissions with outside experts to handle investigations, including of a bonfire collapse at Texas A&M University and the Columbine High School shootings in Colorado. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels so far hasn’t mentioned the idea, and instead has repeatedly referred to the wind gust that toppled the stage but spared other nearby structures as a freak occurrence that couldn’t have been anticipated.

“The fair has an interest in protecting itself,” attorney Jerry Miniard of Erlanger, Ky., who is representing an injured girl, said Thursday. “Why in the world would you let someone who may be responsible investigate themselves?”

Miniard said he is a friend of the father of 10-year-old Jade Walcott, whose skull was crushed by the falling stage. He questioned how thorough the probe will be given that it’s nearly all being done in-house.

“The state of Indiana is basically investigating itself,” he said.

Judy Nadler, a former mayor of Santa Clara, Calif., who is a senior fellow in government ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, said that could be a mistake.

“There’s this sort of automatic default to say, we have people here internally who can take a look at this … but for something so closely affiliated with the state, it would be wise to call upon someone who doesn’t have any even perceived conflict of interest,” Nadler said. She suggested bringing in someone from outside the state, perhaps even an outside regulator.

“I think it really is such a significant event … it requires a level of independence to fully discern the facts and to fully convey to the public that this was a fair and thorough and impartial and nonpolitical look at what happened,” she said.

State fair officials did announce this week that they had hired New York engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti Inc. to review the stage’s design and construction, but Miniard questioned how far-ranging that probe might be since the state will determine the scope of the investigation.

“The state of Indiana is in complete control over the investigation,” Miniard said. “And the state’s interests are possibly different than those people who were injured or killed.

Fair spokesman Andy Klotz said the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration and other agencies conducting their own investigations will all report to the fair commission. “I am quite sure that everybody is going to be satisfied with the thoroughness of this investigation,” he said. “And nobody wants the answers more than us.”

You know what, I’m not touching that one today.

Also, see the article Indiana State Fair’s Disaster Preparedness Plan is One Page Long.

You still think this is a fluke, Governor Daniels?

Indiana Homeland Security Says Outdoor Stages are Not Structures – More on the Indiana State Fair Collapse

In the ongoing and expected to be long-winded and ongoing investigation of the Indiana State Fair Stage Collapse, the Indy Star has put out another article.  This one has some interesting information in it about how Indiana Homeland Security feels about temporary outdoor stages.  From the article at the Indy Star:

Under Indiana Administrative Code, a structure — temporary or permanent — has to meet stringent code requirements, such as being able to withstand winds of up to 90 miles per hour. The winds at the fairgrounds blew less fiercely than that Saturday evening, about 60 to 70 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

But the Indiana Department of Homeland Security said temporary outdoor stages are not, strictly speaking, structures.

“You’re talking about scaffolding and equipment,” Erickson said, “not a structure.”

Well, there we have it.  Outdoor stages are just scaffolding and equipment in Indiana, not “structures,” so they don’t get inspected.  Awesome.  You really have to read this article, folks.  Let’s hope Indiana’s Department of Labor and Indiana OSHA don’t take five months to figure out what happened on this one like they did with Declan Sullivan, the University of Notre Dame student killed when the crane he was in to film a football practice tipped over in the wind.

Gah.  Go read the article at the Indy Star on this – what a crazy read to just come across.