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Indiana State Fair, Union Fined for Stage Collapse

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on February 10, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA) has completed its investigation into the stage collapse at the August Indiana State Fair. Fines were levied against three organizations, including the company responsible for building the stage.

The tragic event occurred during a Sugarland performance, and left 58 injured and 7 dead. A number of lawsuits have since been filed, many of which will be bolstered by the agency's report.

In a press release, IOSHA laid out the following fines:

  • Mid-America Sound, the stage company, was fined $63,000. It failed to implement an Operations Management Plan and did not provide appropriate, qualified supervision.
  • The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, a union, was fined $11,500 for failing to consider soil conditions. It also failed to provide "fall protection" for employees above ground level and did not conduct an equipment hazard assessment.
  • The Indiana State Fair was fined $6,300 for failing to conduct a "life safety evaluation and assess the fairgrounds."

Though the Indiana State Fair fines only address each entity's duty to its employees, the findings can be applied to the public. Each organization was found to have committed serious and/or knowing violations of workplace safety laws. If they had followed the rules, some of which dealt with the safety of the stage itself, they may have been able to prevent the collapse or lessen the number of injuries.

This evidence is highly relevant to the issue of negligence. Indeed, the Indiana State Fair fines may end up changing the trajectory of the stage collapse lawsuits.

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