Festival rigger’s fatal workplace injuries were preventable


The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health investigation concerning the death of the lead rigger for a Coachella festival underscores the importance of full compliance with safety standards. The rigger fell to his death in April while setting up the stage. He fell from a height of 50 feet, and Cal/OSHA inspectors say his fall harness was not set up to arrest his fall.

Reportedly, the rigger wore a fall harness, but there was no lanyard anchored to a secure place to arrest a fall. Furthermore, there was no work platform with safety rails as required for those who work at heights. The responsibility of the employer does not stop with the issuing of personal protective equipment. The proper use of such equipment must be monitored, and workers must not be led to believe that the use of such equipment is optional.

Reportedly, the deceased worker was a part of the rigging team for two decades before the fatal fall. It is not uncommon for workers to become complacent after years of working without adverse incidents. Employers should look out for signs of complacency and remind workers that lives can be lost in the blink of an eye — as was the case in the April incident.

Losing a loved one who suffered workplace injuries that could have been prevented is naturally traumatic. Although no amount of money can ease the heartache, the survivors’ benefits that are available through the California workers’ compensation insurance program can reduce the unanticipated financial burden. An attorney with experience in this field of the law can assist with the benefits claims process, which typically covers end-of-life costs and lost wages.

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