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Anniversary of stage accident a reminder of festival dangers

As fall nears, many states (including Colorado) and counties will begin to host their annual fairs and festivals, drawing in the community for entertainment and fun. During this time, many workers will be exposed to large crowds, long work hours, stages and sets, and moving rides and games; all of which may cause injury if proper safety procedures are not utilized. This month marks the one year anniversary of a tragic accident that left dozens of people suffering from physical injury, and seven people dead.

The State Fair had many visitors in 2011, and the popular country band Sugarland had drawn thousands to the area near the stage. The accident occurred when high winds collapsed the rigging causing the scaffolding of the stage to collapse into the crowd waiting for the band to perform. Seven people were killed and dozens injured as a result of the collapse of the stage. To honor those injured and killed, a tribute was held on the anniversary of the accident this month.

The tribute to those injured or killed has shined a light on state officials and their review of safety practices and emergency management plans. The Indiana State Fair Commission recently approved a revised plan for emergency management in the hopes of preventing a similar stage accident in the future. New responsibilities for public safety and event canceling have been included in the new plan. Also, there are new guidelines for safety training and testing for workers before they are allowed to go on-site.

As Colorado workers involved in fairs and festivals prepare for the upcoming season, they may be more inclined to consider safety practices after the tragic events last year. All workplaces should be safe and well maintained to prevent a physical injury to workers. When accidents do occur on the job, workers and their families can be left in a devastated state. A workers' compensation claim may be a viable option for employees in order to ensure that they and their families are protected when it comes to medical expenses and lost income. Workers should know that they have rights that can be pursued if they seek a proper system of support as they begin the process of moving forward after a work accident.

Source: Safety.BLR.com, "Tribute will recall victims of state fair stage collapse," Aug. 17, 2012

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