PLSN — March 2012
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IOSHA Fines Staging Company, IATSE, State Fair

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA), which had conducted an investigation into possible workplace violations associated with the collapse of the main stage structure at the Indiana State Fair on Aug. 13, 2011, issued a report and levied more than $80,000 in fines against the staging company, the stagehand’s union and the state fair commission.

IOSHA said it was acting on behalf of two workers, stagehand Nathan Byrd and security guard Glenn Goodrich, who were killed in the collapse, and emphasized that its investigation was not of the cause of the collapse but of unsafe working conditions. Along with the two workers, the collapse killed five fans and injured 58.

Mid-America Sound Corp., Greenfield, IN, which provided the staging structure and selected the workers who assembled it, was fined $63,000. The agency also levied $11,500 and $6,300, respectively, against IATSE Local 30 and the State Fair Commission for failing to check soil conditions before securing the guide wires and for failing to evacuate people in a timely manner as weather conditions worsened.

Other investigations into the cause of the stage collapse continue. Indiana’s State Fair Commission hired a New York-based engineering firm, Thornton Tomasetti, to investigate. Attorney Kenneth J. Allen, who represents the estate of four of those killed, is also continuing with an investigation into who should be held financially liable. Witt Associates, which specializes in emergency planning, is also reviewing the state’s emergency plans and its response to the collapse.

Bill Groth, attorney for IATSE Local 30, spoke critically of IOSHA’s findings, and the fine levied against the union, asserting that union members didn’t make the decisions that led to the collapse and that the union shouldn’t be fined because it’s a labor organization and not an employer.