Cal/OSHA Fines Butler Amusements over $100,000 for Willful Violations at Big Fresno Fair

FRESNO, Calif., April 22, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Cal/OSHA fined Butler Amusements, Inc. $101,250 following an investigation which found that the temporary amusement ride operator knowingly conducted rides after key bolts and cross bracing had been removed.  The compromised rides included the Giant Wheel and Flying Bobs rides at the Big Fresno Fair last October.

"When the safety of riders is put at risk, we make sure immediate steps are taken to correct any existing hazards," said Christine Baker, Director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). Cal/OSHA, also known as the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) is a division of DIR.

Cal/OSHA initiated the public safety inspection after receiving a confidential tip about safety concerns at one of the rides owned by the Beaverton, Oregon-headquartered company. The Cal/OSHA investigator observed several patrons on the compromised attractions, including a local news crew and fair mascot on the Giant Wheel ride. The Giant Wheel was missing all the 12 bolts associated with the support leg flanges and the Flying Bobs was missing all of the lower cross bracing used for structural support.  When the imminent hazard was brought to the attention of the representative accompanying the investigator, Butler Amusements voluntarily stopped the rides and the patrons disembarked with no injuries.  

"Thankfully these violations were found before anyone was hurt," said acting Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. "Nevertheless, when amusement park machinery is used without strict attention to safety requirements, citations will be issued."

The initial inspection revealed three willful serious violations of California's public safety regulations. The violations include Butler Amusement's failure to maintain amusement ride equipment according to the manufacturer's safety recommendations, failure to ensure proper installation of all fastenings and use of the rides without necessary supports. Each violation carries a $33,750 penalty. 

Cal/OSHA issues citations for serious violations if there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a condition which exists. Violations are classified as willful when evidence shows that an employer is aware that a hazardous condition exists but makes no reasonable effort to eliminate it.

Cal/OSHA's Amusement Ride and Tramway Unit inspects both temporary and permanent amusement rides as well as aerial passenger tramways such as ski lifts. Cal/OSHA helps protect workers from health and safety hazards on the job in almost every workplace in California, and oversees programs promoting public safety on elevators, amusement rides and ski lifts. Additional information about Cal/OSHA is available online.  

DIR protects and improves the health, safety and economic well-being of over 18 million wage earners and helps their employers comply with state labor laws. Additional resources and updates are available on DIR's website as well as on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Employees with work-related questions or complaints may call the toll-free California Workers' Information Line at (866) 924-9757 for recorded information, in English and Spanish, on a variety of work-related topics.

For media inquiries, contact Erika Monterroza at (510) 286-1164 or Peter Melton at (510) 286-7046.

SOURCE Cal/OSHA



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