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Serious injuries during circus performance prompt OSHA inquiry

Texas workers may be interested in a story concerning an accident at a circus that seriously injured several performers. The circumstances of the accident are currently under investigation.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has begun an investigation of the incident that took place at a circus in Providence, Rhode Island on May 4. During an acrobatic act that involved eight performers suspended from an apparatus 40 feet above the floor, the mechanism that held the apparatus snapped. The performers fell to the ground, injuring both themselves and another performer who was at floor-level. Two of the acrobats were reportedly in critical condition following the incident. Two others were seriously injured in the fall.

Initial reports show that the single piece of hardware that held the apparatus in place was designed to support a much higher weight than it had been holding at the time of the accident. However, some speculate that the movement of the acrobats could have contributed to its failure. If the OSHA investigation shows any willful violations of safety regulations, each count could result in up to a $70,000 fine. OSHA has six months to investigate and report its findings. The owner of the circus, Feld Entertainment, is conducting its own separate inquiry. In the meantime, the circus is continuing to perform on already-scheduled tour dates.

Safety hazards on the job can lead to employees being at risk. Whether from a slip and fall or falling debris, employer negligence can give rise to a claim for monetary damages. An attorney may be able to help an employee that is to recover compensation for lost wages or injuries suffered due to these negligent acts or omissions.

Source: Reuters, "Failed clamp caused Rhode Island circus acrobats' plunge: officials", Ross Kerber, May 05, 2014

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