Three groups are being cited for failing to comply with state occupational safety standards in regards to August’s State Fair stage collapse. In its report the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or IOSHA, cited the Indiana State Fair Commission, Mid-America Sound Corporation and a local chapter of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees for violating the state’s safety guidelines.
State Labor Commissioner Lori Torres made clear, however, that the report does not assign sole responsibility for the collapse.
“The Indiana Department of Labor through its Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration undertook a six-month investigation of whether any health or safety standards that were owed to employees were violated,” Torres says. “It does not address duties to the public. It was not an investigation into causation.”
All three of the entities were assessed fines for their violations. The report found that Mid-America Sound, the company employed to construct the roof of the structure, to be in most serious violation of safety standards, fining the company a total of $63,000. Commissioner Torres says the severe penalties being levied against Mid-America were due to blatant non-compliance with established safety practices.
“With respect to the responsibility to their employees, they showed plain indifference for the standard, and therefore we imposed knowing violations against them,” she says.
Both the State Fair Commission and the stage employees union were cited for lesser violations. All three organizations can appeal the violations.
Mid-America Sound officials released a statement saying they warned the fair commission their structures should not be used when wind speeds exceeded 25 mph. They say they let the commission know in writing that the particular structure used in the Sugarland concert was only rated for winds up to 40 mph. Mid-America says they told fair officials that evening they should evacuate the stage area if winds reached those speeds.