Monday, December 7, 2009

Fall From Catwalk Kills Lighting Technician

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida — A lighting technician, Fenton "Andy" Hollingsworth, was killed Thursday, December 3rd after falling from a 30-foot-high catwalk. The incident occurred at the 300-seat Marshall E. Rinker, Sr. Playhouse, part of the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts.

Police and fire officials say that about 2 p.m., Hollingsworth, 27, slipped as he stood on the catwalk, installing lights on a truss.

Co-workers heard and saw him fall, Police Lt. Tom Hale said.

"He was not breathing when we arrived," police said spokesman Chase Scott.

Andy Hollingsworth was taken to St. Mary's Medical Center, where he died.

Both the Kravis Center and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating the incident.

The 16 catwalks in the Rinker's light truss are each eight feet long by 20 inches wide and there are several railings. A facility technical plan can be found at:

Hollingsworth had worked for the center since April 10, 2007. Shannon McShane Hollingsworth said she did worry about her husband's safety.

"He always promised, and told me, he was always careful. We always made sure he had new shoes with new rubber soles" she told reporters. It was unknown if he was wearing any fall protection equipment when he lost his footing and fell.

"We're vigorously investigating the cause of the accident," Kravis Center Chief Executive Judy Mitchell said. "As always, we're very concerned about the safety of our employees. Andy was a wonderful young man and a valued employee who will be greatly missed by the entire family of the Kravis Center."


  1. This accident should never had happened. It is the responsibility of the employer to provide fall protection equipment anytime employees are working in a hazardous area. Stagehands in San Francisco are routinely trained on the use of fall protection equpiment and rescue. We're also told never to put our lives in danger if an employer fails to provide fall protection equipment. We have that ability because stagehands in San Francisco are members of a union that will back us up if we decide that the work we're told to do is too dangerous. In this case, Andy didn't have anyone looking after him. He had an employer who failed to provide commonly used fall protection equipment as is required by federal law, and he didn't have a union that insisted on keeping a safe work environment. No show is worth the price Andy and his family paid. If the Kravis CFA was really concerned with Andy's safety, they would've provided a safety harness attached to a lifeline- a standard theatrical practice when electricians are climbing over box truss. It's easy for them to claim they cared about his safety after he falls. I hope that the Kravis CFA will pay dearly to Andy's family for this needless loss of fellow stagehand.

  2. The Kravis Center did not have to pay dearly, really nothing more than the $3500.00 OSHA fine. The family has been trying to endow a scholarship fund in his name, and nearly 5 years later still has not been able to. Campaigns have been set up however,