A 37-year-old subcontractor, working for HSG Inc., fell while cleaning the Space Mountain ride at Disneyland Wednesday, breaking a leg, his right collarbone and several ribs, on NOv. 21, according to ABC News.
The worker was cleaning the roof in a bosun chair when it came loose shortly after 7 a.m., according to Anaheim Fire Marshal Jeff Lutz, according to CBS News.
The 37-year-old man was in a chair Wednesday when it came loose from an anchor. He slid about 20 feet before coming to a halt on the lip of the large, ridged roof, according to the L.A. Times.
Make no mistake about it – this was a very serious accident. In fact workplace accidents that result in fractures must be reported to Cal/OSHA within eight hours. Furthermore, Disneyland must report any such incident to Cal/OSHA as the state safety agency has a special program for amusement parks – due in part to two major accidents that occurred at Disneyland a few years ago.
OSHA, in particular, focuses on what they call the “Focus Four” – accident causes that include falling from heights. And this very nearly turned out to be a fatal fall.
If you are not familiar with a bosun’s chair (as seen in the photo above) picture this – the worker sits in a seat that is suspended to an anchor point far above him. An operator raises and lowers him as needed while he accomplishes his task. It is no fun – and it can be very dangerous. I don’t know what sort of anchor the injured worker was tethered to, but if it was a permanent anchor, installed by Disneyland’s engineers, then it had to be rated for this use. And Disneyland would be responsible for maintaining the anchor’s integrity.
It could be that their contractor was using faulty equipment to tether to the anchor. That will come out in Cal/OSHA’s investigation. Disneyland actually has a few safety specialists whose primary job is to interact with Cal/OSHA. I would imagine that they will be spending quite a few hours on this.
The contractor, HSG, Inc., appears to have a proactive approach to safety – and they dedicate an entire page on their website to that topic. They even offer their services as OSHA consultants! They are fully insured and bonded.
Disney has their own fall protection program – for their employees. But in this case the fall protection training would have been conducted by HSG, Inc., or by an outside trainer working for them.
Cal/OSHA does mandate that contractors have in place a system for inspecting their fall protection equipment. That will most certainly be part of the investigation into this incident.
This is the second major accident at Space Mountain this year. A Disneyland machinist was badly injured in October when he was struck by a Space Mountain vehicle while he was testing it.