Fair ride operator killed in Washington

Posted Monday, August 18, 2003 4:53 AM | Contributed by CoasterBGW

An amusement ride operator at the Island County Fair in Langley, Washington, was killed Saturday when his hair got caught on a roller coaster car, pulling him up as high as 40 feet before he fell, back-first, onto a fence.

Read more from AP via CNN.

Monday, August 18, 2003 5:19 AM
This seems tragic and needless in equal measure. Surely, any kind of maintenance, regardless of how superficial, should only be conducted when a ride is closed and "locked out" I don't know whether this is a fault with the fair's policy, on the part of the ride operator, a 3rd party, or whatever. It's just an awful waste of life. Condolences to the friends and family.
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Monday, August 18, 2003 6:44 AM
The primary responsibility per OSHA belongs to the operating company, not the fair or the employee. The company is responisbile for creating and enforcing rules for sage operation.

The most common causes of worker deaths are falls and failure to lock out energy sources. If you look at amusement worker fatalities, you'll see that most fall into these catagories.

LOCK IT OUT, LOCK IT OUT, LOCK IT OUT.

Actually if this employee was in fact the operator for the ride, he should have never left the panel unattended when the ride was in operation. Even loading and unloading the ride, the panel should be locked out when the operator isn't at it. There was a death a while back caused by a child pushing buttons on an unattended panel, starting the ride during the unloading operation.

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Monday, August 18, 2003 7:59 AM
Are there regulations for securing long hair when operating heavy machinery?

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"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza

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Monday, August 18, 2003 9:08 AM
according to CNN, the victim was co-owner of the ride company. He should have known better....

http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/West/08/17/roller.coaster.death.ap/index.html

Later,
EV
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"Here's the thing about living in the past. If it was so good, then how come it didn't last? If it helps you, I'll put it in a phrase. Those were the times, but these are the days." - The Human League

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Monday, August 18, 2003 9:12 AM
Aha, I knew there was a benefit in going bald.

But seriously, now some of you know why grooming standards are sometimes more about something other than appearance.

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Monday, August 18, 2003 9:59 AM
And that is why I enjoy employee dress codes
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Tuesday, August 19, 2003 4:13 AM
I don't know of any specific national regs on dress codes or hair. The requirements of different jobs vary so much that I can't imagine a sensible single set. I'm sure that there are advisory recommendations for various groups.

However, OSHA's "general duty" clause requires the employer to do whatever it requires to make the employee safe. This basicly requires the employer to make whatever rules are necessary for safety and almost automaticly makes the employer liable when an employee is hurt.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2003 5:37 AM
Somehow I knew people would bring the grooming and dress code into this. What does this have to do with it anyway?

If the park was looking at these guidelines as a safety issue, you would also see females hair short while running rides. Don't cloud this tragedy with the BS that parks use to make grooming and dress code guidelines.

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Arena football has arrived in the Windy City. Go "Chicago Rush"
*** This post was edited by Chitown 8/19/2003 9:38:26 AM ***

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Tuesday, August 19, 2003 7:00 AM
Don't know about amusement parks, but in industry we do have dress and hair codes that apply to either sex. They do generally allow for tying hair back to keep it out of the way. Since our people aren't generally dealing with the public, we don't concern ourselves with the appearance aspect of grooming. It's different for amusement parks where most employees are dealing with the public.
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Tuesday, August 19, 2003 10:36 AM
The hair thing is a non issue.

My understanding from people who apparently knew the man is that he always kept his hair cut short.

If you're gonna make an issue of the clothing and hair, then if anything, it's a good reason why neckties should be banned in the workplace, and yet I don't see anybody suggesting *that*. It's all a distraction from the real issue--

THE RIDE SHOULD HAVE BEEN LOCKED OUT.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2003 11:05 AM
I guess I assumed his hair was long because it was caught in machinery...and neckties shouldn't be worn when working heavy machinery for the same reason...absolutely.

But yes, sounds like SOP wasn't being followed.

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"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza

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Tuesday, August 19, 2003 1:04 PM
I agree with Rideman, but neckties are banned in many work places along with rings and other items that machinery may catch.
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Tuesday, August 19, 2003 6:03 PM
That is true Jim, but people suggesting that fixed amusement parks enforce grooming guidelines for safety reasons is completely ridiculous. They set these guidelines because they feel that certain things shouldn't be presented when dealing with the customers.

Sure, if the guy was bald, this accident might not have happened, but as Rideman stated, its a non-issue. Other rules weren't followed.

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Arena football has arrived in the Windy City. Go "Chicago Rush"

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Wednesday, August 20, 2003 7:37 AM
As I said previously, the cause of the accident was a failure to lock out, not grooming. If the machine isn't moving then grooming isn't an issue. I also at least implied in a previous post that amusement park grooming standards are determined at least as much by public image as by safety. (And public image may be a legitimate criteria.)

My last post was responding to Rideman's comment about banning neckties in the workplace. I was pointing out that many workplaces do just that. While it is generally possible to provide a good deal of separation between the worker and moving machinery on an amusement ride, in other locations such as a machine shop the work requires proximity to moving equipment and neckties, rings, etc. are banned. I stopped wearing my wedding ring after a coworker had his ring finger torn off just climbing down a ladder on the side of a tank truck. His foot slipped, and his wedding ring hooked on something suddenly stoppinging his entire body weight on the one finger.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2003 7:45 AM
Ahhhwwwww maaaaannnn!

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"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza

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