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Heavy OSHA Citations Possible from Cirque du Soleil Performer's Death

Earlier this summer a Cirque du Soleil performer fell approximately 92 feet to her death during a performance at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.  During a fight scene in the program "Ka" the wire cable suspending the performer high above the stage broke.  It is believed that the cable broke due to the performer's rapid assent  Investigators believe the workplace fatality was due to inadequate training of the performer, an employee of Cirque du Soleil.   

Investigators for the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) will likely assess citations upwards of $30,000 against both Cirque du Soleil and the MGM Grand as a result of this unfortunate incident. OSHA, a federal agency within the Department of Labor, is responsible for assuring that the work places in the United States are safe and healthy by setting and enforcing workplace standards.  The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 created OSHA to prevent injuries and death in the workplace.   

Under the Act employers are required to notify OSHA within 8 hours of a workplace fatality or when three or more employees are hospitalized.  The Act also requires that the employer keep accurate records of work related injuries and illnesses.  Under the Act an employee is entitled to a workplace that does not pose a risk of serious harm.  Employees also have the right to file a complaint with OSHA asking for a work place inspection when he or she feels that the workplace is hazardous or if the employer is not complying with OSHA's standards.  Employers may not retaliate against an employee for exercising his or her rights under the Act.  If an employee feels that an employer has retaliated for using these rights OSHA must be contacted within 30 days of the alleged discrimination.

In Pennsylvania most employees are covered by workers' compensation insurance. This no-fault system is designed to cover medical expenses, physical therapy and lost wages, regardless of who caused the work-related accident. However, obtaining all of the workers' compensation benefits you are entitled to is not guaranteed.  If you were injured in a work related injury it is a good idea to consult an experienced workers' compensation and personal injury attorney.

To obtain more information about OSHA or to file a complaint with OSHA please visit or dial 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), TTY 1-877-889-5627.

Sources:  "More than $30,000 in Citations Proposed in Cirque du Soleil Acrobat's Death", October 30, 2013, by Michelle Rindels, The Associated Press "OSHA At-Glance"

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