IOSHA reaches deal with stage rigging union in State Fair tragedy

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– A union named in a lawsuit in connection with the deadly 2011 Indiana State Fair stage collapse will not accept any responsibility after reaching a deal with the Indiana Department of Labor Tuesday.

International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees Local 30 workers were blamed for the stage’s faulty rigging. Industry standards require systems to withstand sustained wind gusts of up to 68 miles per hour. An independent report about the collapse from Thornton Tomasetti determined that the stage rigging began to give way at 33 miles per hour and couldn’t support itself once gusts hit 43 miles per hour.

The State issued an $11,000 fine to the union, claiming Local 30 workers failed to adequately anchor the rigging. However, under the settlement, the union will not have to pay the fine.

In the settlement, the State acknowledged the workers who assembled the stage were not considered to be employed by Local 30 and instead by the Indiana State Fair Commission. The union argued they were not subject to the same workplace guidelines enforced by the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA) because they did “not provide any of the equipment or materials used at the worksite” and they were “not acting in any capacity other than a labor organization..”

As part of the agreement, Local 30 agreed to conduct specific fall protection and hazard identification training for their members. The safety training is expected to be completed by March 15, 2014.

“This agreement creates a safer and more protected workplace for Indiana workers in the theater and stage business,” noted Labor Commissioner Sean Keefer. “This agreement creates a positive outcome for everyone involved.”

Read the settlement agreement in its entirety here.

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