Six Flags Great America worker dies weeks after being hit by ride

Posted Friday, June 18, 2004 10:52 AM | Contributed by redman822

Jack E. Brouse, 52, was struck in the head by the Ragin' Cajun coaster at Six Flags Great America on May 29. He was doing routine maintenance on the ride at the time. He died Wednesday in the hospital.

Read more from The Chicago Tribune.

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Friday, June 18, 2004 10:58 AM
Jeff's avatar I hate these kind of accidents because they should never happen. It seems we get one of these every year.
Friday, June 18, 2004 11:25 AM
My prayers are with his family and his coworkers at Great America. May he rest in peace.
Friday, June 18, 2004 11:36 AM
stoogemanmoe's avatar My prayers go to the family. This is really terrible for the park. God bless all the employees at the park in their time of mourning.
Friday, June 18, 2004 1:12 PM
MY sympathies to the family, and now on to prevention:

It is starting to sound like some parks need to give their staff remedial lock-out/tag-out training, and then to enforce said training.

It sounds so simple, so common sense. There must be something I am missing because if memory serves we are up to THREE park employees who have had unnecesary run ins with coaster trains this season, in three different parks.

Friday, June 18, 2004 1:46 PM
The sad reality is that accidents do happen and while they can be limited by training there is no way to stop accidents. They can be limited and reduced but not ended, unless we all become perfgect which isnt possible.

My prayers also go out to the family and park for the tragic loss they suffered.

Friday, June 18, 2004 2:59 PM
From what I have noticed personally, some mechanics seem to have less than a good head on them when it comes to their safety. I guess they think they know so much about the rides that they cant be hurt by them or something. Hopefully this will open some eyes and afford everyone better lock-out training.
Friday, June 18, 2004 3:44 PM
Coasterville Dave -- I agree that training and procedures need to be enforced. At Knott's on June 5th, there could have been a fatal accident while we were in line for the Boomerang. The train had just left the station and was about to be released to go back through the station on its way through the loop and cobra roll. Looking down, a maintenance worker pops his head up through the tracks to toss up a couple items which I guess had been dropped. I couldn't believe someone was down there while the ride was in operation! If he hadn't gotten out of the way...
Friday, June 18, 2004 8:39 PM
While as a practical matter, accidents will never be reduced to absolutely zero, proper procedures and strict enforcement can reduce accidents dramaticly. This is especially true of lock out, tag out accidents. It's really pretty basic stuff, but it also seems to be responsible for the majority of fatal accidents to park workers.

Let's just look at the Knott's incident mentioned by rapallegro that could have been fatal.

1) The mechanic shouldn't have been where he was without the ride locked out with locks applied by both the mechanic and by operations.

2) Alternately if access to the area by mechanics is required during operation, guards can be installed to prevent the mechanic from sticking his head up through the track.

3) If operations knew that the mechanic was there, they shouldn't have been operating the ride.

4) The mechanic sticking his head up through the track should be cause for an E-stop.

5) An incident report should be filed and an incident investigation conducted to determine why this near miss happened.

6) Appropriate follow up action should be taken. Reinforcement of procedures to all workers, possible revisions of procedures. Some sort of punishment may also be appropriate. The most effective form that I've seen is to make the people who didn't follow the procedure's attend safety meetings with every group on the site to explain just how stupid they were and what could of happened. The embarasement of this is far more effective on both the offenders and others than any time off etc. could be.

Friday, June 18, 2004 10:50 PM
stoogemanmoe's avatar Four words. Lock and tag out.
Saturday, June 19, 2004 12:00 AM
ApolloAndy's avatar It seems that when I'm at Kennywood, there's often someone from maintanance sticking his head up through the tracks in the station. I always wondered why that was allowed.
Saturday, June 19, 2004 3:04 AM

Seems like a lot of work. What it boils down to is that the mechanic was an idiot that should not be sticiking his head up (if this event actually happened)! Why should there be so much time, effort, and money spent on all of your solutions above to prevent an idiot from hurting or killing himself? I find it a sad state that we would go to such efforts to prevent accidents from happening to people who do nothing to protect themselves as this case illustrates. Seems like we are thwarting the evolutionary process when we protect guys that are this stupid. I have to assume that if this guy is a rollercoaster mechanic, he at least would have enough sense to know that a moving train and head through the tracks do not go together.

We do not need a procedural review, extra guards, E-stop, etc. What we need is responsible people. How freaking hard is it to understand that you do not stick your head anywhere near tracks of a running ride? Should we put fences/E-stops/and procedure manuals around EVERY road in the USA to prevent idiots from running in front of traffic? If people choose to not be responsible then accidents will happen. I see no reason to burden others with protecting guys like this.

Saturday, June 19, 2004 6:46 AM
Can someone explain a typical lock out to me as I'm not quite sure how it would work if, say, there were more than two people out seperately on the track.

Say, Person 1 locks the ride out and goes to check a bit of track. Then Person 2 wants to cut some shrubbery around another part of the ride - how would this person lock the ride out? It isn't as if he can/should think "Ah, the ride is already locked out" because as soon as Person 1 gets back, it will be unlocked.

Is it a case of there being tags that people take out, and the ride being locked? Ride only has locked once, but all tags have to be back?

Saturday, June 19, 2004 10:07 AM
This is sad.

For a few reasons. First of all, for the loss. No doubt about that.

Second of all, for the park, and its reputation. SFGAm staff are so well trained in this area. I remember going through training a few years ago, and so much emphasis was placed on this type of safety.

I wonder if the fact that this was a new, unfamiliar ride contributed any?


Saturday, June 19, 2004 10:18 AM
i have prayers for the family! And I got 1 question. How can Six Flags make all these commercials and Advertising stuff when all there workers and there Customers die?

Cody T.

Saturday, June 19, 2004 11:15 AM
I think it is a major over-statement to say that all of SF's workers and customers die!!!!! You cant legislate mistakes/accidents from happening, you can try to reduce them but you cant prevent guests/employee's from doing things that will cause harm to themselves.
Saturday, June 19, 2004 1:44 PM

Can someone explain a typical lock out to me as I'm not quite sure how it would work if, say, there were more than two people out seperately on the track.

Simplified, lockout uses a scissors clip that goes through the power box's arm or the e-stop button when either is in the power-off position, locking out power to the ride. The clip has multiple holes in it that align when closed... each person working on the ride puts his own padlock through a hole. When done and clear of the area, he unlocks his padlock. Power cannot be restored until the last worker unlocks his padlock and unclips the device.

you cant prevent guests/employee's from doing things that will cause harm to themselves.

If you establish and enforce procedures using a lockout-tagout system, you can prevent most of the recent worker injuries. However, the system won't do any good without training and enforcement.

Saturday, June 19, 2004 2:39 PM
Thanks for explaining that. It's fairly simple, then. But, sadly, where there is human involvement, there is the liklihood of accidents.
Saturday, June 19, 2004 4:59 PM
coasterqueenTRN's avatar Oh no. :-(

Sunday, June 20, 2004 8:59 AM
Mr. Brouse' family and friends are in our prayers in this time of mourning. May the Lord be with you. About Parks, but more specifically, Six Flags, do they have a Lock-in/Lock-out procedure that they use? I know in the truck plant I work at nobody can service a machine without the proper credentials to get in the area, as well as, keys to that area.

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