On Wednesday, the Outdoor Stage Equipment Safety Committee met to discuss findings from investigative reports conducted following the 2011 State Fair stage collapse. The committee heard testimony from two independent consulting firms hired to provide analysis of the collapse and the procedures in place to ensure public safety. Information from the reports and testimony during the proceedings will be used to make recommendations for permanent outdoor stage equipment inspection and safety regulations during the 2013 General Assembly.
Both firms pointed to lapses in the design, inspection and construction of the stage equipment involved in the tragedy. A failure in the ballast system designed to hold the stage upright following a 31mph gust of wind triggered the collapse.
Presenters also noted the lack of coordination between the companies designing the structure and actually installing the stage and the ambiguity over who was ultimately responsible for inspection.
Recommendations included adopting internationally-recognized building standards for temporary structures, encouraging the thorough, and if necessary, third party inspection of as-loaded structures and the requiring of anchored ballast systems.
The committee will meet again on September 27 to discuss the implications outdoor stage equipment standards will have on small communities’ festivals and other events. Lawmakers will look to balance the need to for adequate safety measures and keeping the encumbrance of additional standards to a minimum.