California’s Great America theme park in Santa Clara has been cited $70,200 for its role in creating a dangerous environment which led to a worker suffering serious personal injuries. The amusement park accident occurred this past summer. The ride mechanic, a 66-year-old man, was working at the Flight Deck Ride when he was struck by a train as he was retrieving a cell phone from a restricted area. According to the investigation the amusement park’s owner – Cedar Fair Southwest – failed to have proper safety measures in place. This included the failure to ensure proper safety protocols existed to make sure that the roller coaster was not in operation when workers retrieved lost articles, and also to make sure that workers were trained to shut down the rides.
A representative of Cal/OSHA noted that it was “Cedar Fair Southwest’s lack of safety protocols and training” that led to the accident. The company was cited with for several safety violations – including 5 “serious violations.” A serious violation is defined as one where “there is a realistic possibility that death or serious harm could result from the actual hazardous condition.” Willful violations are found when an “employer is aware of the law and violates it nevertheless, or when the employer is aware of the hazardous condition and takes no reasonable steps to address it.”
This is not the first time the amusement park has been cited. The park has been issued 6 violations in the past 10 years, including a second serious violation as the result of a 2007 accident when an employee inspecting a cable on the “Xtreme Skyflyer” ride fell from a ladder or platform and was hospitalized.
Whenever an accident occurs at any type of workplace – whether a factory, a construction site or an amusement park – it is generally possible to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Injured parties need not prove fault on the part of an employer to recover benefits. However, the amount that may be obtained is most often lower than may be available by filing a civil lawsuit. But, the situations where injured employees may file civil complaints for on-the-job injuries are typically limited to situations where someone other than the injured employee and/or his/her employer is at partially fault. Identifying such situations requires consultation with an attorney. If you or a loved one has been injured while at work, an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help explain your options and ensure the best possible outcome in your matter.
For more information or to discuss your matter, please contact the experienced Oakland personal injury lawyers at Butler Viadro, LLP for an immediate consultation.