IOSHA to release results of State Fair disaster investigation - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

IOSHA to release results of State Fair stage collapse investigation

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INDIANAPOLIS -

Results of the investigation of the Indiana State Fair stage collapse will be released Wednesday.

After months of waiting, the victims, their families and the entire state will start to get a clearer picture of what happened on August 13th, 2011 at the State Fairgrounds.

The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA) will issue a report of its findings.

Nearly six months have elapsed since the disaster at the Indiana State Fair. Investigators sifted through the rubble for weeks afterwards. They have now sifted through the information, the regulations and the ramifications. As the owner of the stage, Mid-America Sound Corp. has the most at stake.

The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration will focus on workplace safety, so this investigation may not render the kind of decision many are hoping for. However, the lack of accountability when it comes to inspections will have to be addressed.

The roles of the State Fair Commission and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 30, who were hired to handle all phases of the stage scaffolding and set-up, could figure prominently considering IOSHA's mission.

Experts say ANSI (the American National Standards Institute) may be used as the measuring stick in this instance. ANSI addresses temporary ground-supported overhead structures used to cover stage areas.

One ANSI paragraph reads, "Roofs are useful for supporting audio and lighting equipment and for keeping sun and rain off performers and equipment at summer music festivals, but strong storms can turn them into missiles or rubble. Regulation E1.21 is designed to ensure that only violent storms are a problem and that appropriate safety measures are in place to prevent or limit damage when these storms arise."

ANSI standards include the design, manufacture and use of aluminum trusses, towers and associated aluminum structural components.

Our Channel 13 investigators have broken several aspects of the stage rigging collapse since it happened on August 13th.

Several months ago, 13 Investigates uncovered that the State Fair lacked a comprehensive evacuation plan in case of severe weather.

13 Investigates discovered that Mid-America Sound Corp. did not have to get a permit to build the scaffolding, meaning no Indiana agency inspected it for safety.

There are questions about the guy-wires and anchors attached to the rigging. A Thornton Tomasetti consultant says they found tethers used to support the structure. But it's unclear if they functioned properly.

There are two other investigations as well. Thornton Tomasetti is conducting an investigation into structural failings. Witt and Associates is dissecting the State Fair emergency plans that have been called into question.

The Department of Labor says the IOSHA briefing will cover its findings and any safety orders and fines issued as a result of its probe.

Eyewitness News will bring you the results of the investigation and the reaction to the findings.

Also from the Indiana Statehouse Tuesday: A bill that would double the amount of money available for victims of this disaster from $5 million to $10 million has already passed out of the House and is now in the Senate.

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