Most injuries across the country occur from accidents on the job. While the most dangerous sites are typically construction zones, an average circus performance can visually stun the senses with dangerous acts of death-defying leaps — or hair hanging.
The female acrobats involved in the hair-hanging act were injured during a Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus performance in Providence. Of the eight women, seven were injured, some critically. The act was a stunt designed to picture a human chandelier, but resulted in a malfunction that sent them hurtling over 20 feet below, landing on another dancer. Reportedly, the device suspending them had broken from its spine.
Local police unearthed a steel carabiner clip near the top of the device that had been sustaining them. They stated the clip had snapped and was located later in three pieces. It was turned over to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It will be considered evidence in the investigation of the accident.
The device was reportedly designed by a couple who worked with the circus. The wife of the pair was injured in the accident.
One of the injured women, a 23-year-old from Champaign, Illinois, along with acrobats from Bulgaria, the Ukraine and Brazil, is part of the group considering filing charges. The Feld Entertainment Company, owner of the circus, has issued a statement saying the performers are covered by their health insurance, but of respect for the privacy of the families, they declined to discuss details of the extent of the injuries.
According to reports, two of the acrobats suffered spinal injuries and may never walk again. Several are undergoing physical therapy, and some are still in wheelchairs. The long-term effects are still an unknown. The performers are planning to pursue all medical options as they attempt the challenge of recovery.
While the individuals in this case made their living by an unusual manipulation of the human body based on family secrets passed through generations, you may have experienced a different sort of work accident in Illinois. The family of any individual injured or killed on the job has the right to a detailed investigation to determine what caused the incident. Whether it was faulty equipment or construction negligence, everyone deserves to be protected by accidents at work that could have been prevented.
Source: Turn to 10, “Injured hair-hanging circus acrobats hire law firm” No author given, Jun. 16, 2014