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OSHA Slaps "Spider-Man" with Safety Violations

Source: NY TImes

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Posted on 07 Mar 2011

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on Friday cited “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” for three serious workplace safety violations. The proposed fine is $12,600, which will hardly make a dent in a production that has already run through $65 million.

The citations are as a result of four cases last year in which cast members of the Broadway musical were hurt, including one in which an actor, Christopher Tierney, sustained broken ribs and a hairline skull fracture, among other injuries, when he plunged, untethered, from a platform on stage.

The federal regulator's citations were issued to the production company for the show, 8 Legged Productions L.L.C. It has the right to challenge them.

Last month, state officials cited the show, playing at the Foxwoods Theater, for two workplace safety violations that did not carry fines.

In a statement, OSHA said the employees had been “exposed to the hazards of falls or being struck during flying routines because of improperly adjusted or unsecured safety harnesses.”

Additionally, the agency found that unguarded “open-side floors” lacked fall protection, and that not enough had been done to shield employees from being struck by “moving overhead rigging components.”

OSHA issues serious citations when, according to its review, lapses have led to hazards carrying a “substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result.”

Rick Miramontez, a spokesman for the production, which has added multiple procedures to avoid any re-occurrence of injuries, said the show “remains in compliance with all government agencies and continues to adhere to all safety protocols.”

Spider-Man has been troubled by production issues that have led its producers to postpone its opening five times. It is now scheduled to open on March 15, though staff members have acknowledged that that date may also be in jeopardy.

Some of the delays have been related to the technical difficulty of the flying sequences being tried in the theater. None of the injuries occurred during flights in which cast members swing out over the audience.


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