flight2bdeck1Foster City—Cal/OSHA announced today that the owner/operator of California’s Great America theme park was at fault for a roller coaster accident that critically injured a ride mechanic on June 12. Robert Hooks, 66, suffered serious injuries when he was struck by the Flight Deck ride while retrieving a cell phone in a restricted area.

Cal/OSHA learned that Cedar Fair Southwest, the amusement park owner/operator, failed to have safety protocols in place to ensure that the roller coaster was shut down prior to retrieving lost articles near it, and also failed to effectively train workers to shut down the ride to retrieve lost articles.

“Employers are required to maintain a comprehensive injury and illness prevention program that addresses all safety hazards,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “Cedar Fair Southwest’s lack of safety protocols and training for employees contributed to this serious workplace accident.”

Cal/OSHA issued citations with penalties totaling $70,200 for eight workplace safety violations, including five serious in nature, two of them directly related the accident.

A serious violation is cited when there is a realistic possibility that death or serious harm could result from the actual hazardous condition.  A willful violation is cited when the 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.

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