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OSHA Wants To Fence In Ballet

ATLANTA (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Over the past six months, Turner Madden has been working on behalf of IAAM with the Atlanta Ballet’s litigation attorney, Carla Gunnin, Esquire to assist the Ballet with this case. The case involved a severe fall into the Fox Theatre orchestra pit by one of the Ballet performers. Initially, this past fall, OSHA requested the Ballet to install a guard rail on the stage to prevent such falls. The Atlanta Ballet was cited for failure to comply with one of the rules indicated as applicable by the letter of interpretation, namely 1910.23(c)(1):

1910.23(c ) Protection of open-sided floors, platforms, and runways (2) Every open sided floor or platform 4 feet or more above adjacent floor or ground level shall be guarded by a standard railing (or the equivalent as specified in paragraph (e)(3) of this section on all open sides except where this is entrance to a ramp stairway, or fixed ladder.

The letter of interpretation indicates then that an “equivalent” to the standard rail should be sought since a rail is not appropriate. One of several equivalent methods is seen in 1910.23(a)(5):
Every pit and trapdoor floor opening, infrequently used, shall be guarded by a floor opening cover of standard strength and construction. While the cover is not in place, the pit or trap opening shall be constantly attended by someone or shall be protected on all exposed sides by removable standard railings.

IAAM made a Motion to Intervene and summarily filed a brief in support of the Motion. There was a short telephone hearing about the Motion to Intervene facilitated by the Administrative Judge. Mr. Madden also participated in the deposition of OHSA’s expert in the case. OSHA’s expert admitted that the Ballet, as the employer could not install permanent safe guards in the performing arts center. However, the OSHA expert did admit that a guard rail was not the appropriate remedy in this case but that “equivalent” measures such as netting, edge lights, etc. should be used in the future. After evaluating the expert testimony, OSHA decided to withdraw the case against the Atlanta Ballet. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers