Posted Tuesday, November 24, 2009 1:45 AM | Contributed by kevin38
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Universal $3,750 for what it called a "serious" safety violation that contributed to the July 1 accident, in which an unidentified employee working below Dueling Dragons was injured after being struck by one of the coaster trains. The park will also install fences around low zones where employees work.
Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.
I'm surprised there wasn't ride fencing in place already, whether it be the low zones or the entire ride area.
They only fined Universal $3,750? That seems pretty light, especally for them. If it was a small biz getting hit like that, then it might make an impact. If it it was $375,000, then it might make more of an impact.
That whole area is pretty much an inaccessible pit. But the low zones do not appear to be marked in any way at all. I was surprised to learn that anybody does work down there with the ride operating because the low zones are not separately marked.
And it has nothing to do with preserving the 'look' of the ride. Dueling Dragons' central pit is about the least scenic space in the whole park, with its dragon's eye view of the air conditioning plant, its own corrugated steel maintenance building and the park's exterior noise wall. At the very least they could have painted some yellow stripes on the ground to identify the low zones!
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
After seeing all the "low zone fences" at Alton Towers, widely recognized as one of the most scenic and beautiful parks in existence....clearly they don't ruin the visual effects of the rides. They're barely noticeable when you have all the scenery, theming, and landscaping filled in - you *can* see the fences, but you're too busy looking at all the stuff you WANT to see. ;)
Good lord... People do stoopid things - and the park has to pay. Sure it's a couple pennies to a big park, but still rediculous. Along the same lines, this is why we have headrests on woodies, seat dividers, ratchet lap bars, and the list goes on.
No one did anything stupid here. It's my understanding that doing inspections down in the field while the ride is running tests is SOP. If that's the case, those few true low zones should absolutely be fenced.
Actually, Jeff, I beg to differ, though only in semantics...someone DID do something stupid here: someone decided that it was not necessary to mark the low zones under an inverted coaster, a particular type of coaster for which it is extremely difficult for even experienced personnel to accurately judge the necessary clearance. Assuming that everyone who might ever have to be down there could avoid an approaching train with 100% accuracy is ignorant at best. Yes, some kind of barrier should definitely be in place. Even a 2' high garden fence might be adequate, just so that people who have to be there know where they must not be when the ride is running.
Everything I have read and heard about this incident and in fact seen in the park (I was there last week) suggests that in this case, the citation and fine are absolutely justified.
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
I was thinking along the same lines - the stupidity is in thinking anyone could SAFELY be in that bowl of land without having visual indicators of where it's unsafe to stand. Actually, that's pure insanity, I *never* considered anyone going into that area with the ride operating (even for testing) until this accident occurred. Inverteds and flyers are especially difficult to determine heights from ground level.
"We are dedicated to providing a safe working environment for our team members," Universal spokesman Tom Schroder said - which should have been the case all along. Still wondering the outcome of the employee, from what I gathered at the time he was quite severely injured.
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