OSHA has now investigated the incident and issued a statement: “A 21-year-old worker, with three months of work experience under her belt, lost her life because Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation failed to provide appropriate training and protective equipment to workers handling pyrotechnics.”
That was the assessment of Elizabeth Linda Routh, OSHA’s area director in Lubbock, Texas, after a young worker was fatally injured last summer while taking an inventory of the pyrotechnics for an outdoor musical production at the Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Canyon, Texas.
After an inspection following the fatality, OSHA issued six serious citations for failing to train workers on the use of explosives, provide fire retardant clothing, perform a hazard assessment and develop a written hazard communication program.
Proposed Penalties: $42,000
Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation is a performing arts employer.
Although $42,000 may not seem like much for a human life, this assessment of the situation opens the door for civil litigation so the victim's family can pursue further compensation.