OSHA cites film company for lack of fall protection

Minnesota fans of the "The Walking Dead" to expect their favorite characters to face deadly dangers, but the film set turned deadly for a stuntman in July 2017. The 33-year-old man died as a result of injuries after falling 22 feet headfirst onto concrete. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated the worker's death and cited Stalwart Films LLC for inadequate fall protection, which included a fine of $12,675.

According to a statement from OSHA, the employer has 15 business days to pay the fine, contest the agency's decision or meet with a regional OSHA director to discuss the matter. The citation described tactics the film company could have used to prevent the accident, such as personal protection equipment, additional personnel with crash pads to protect the performer or designing a stunt with a shorter fall distance.

An actor present on the balcony when the stuntman jumped said to an officer responding to the accident scene that the stuntman appeared nervous about doing a fall from such a height. The assistant director managing the stunt told local authorities that the stuntman was supposed to land on a large pad. Although the stuntman gave a thumbs up signal, witnesses said that he tried to grab the railing and stop his jump before the fall. He landed within inches of the pad.

When tragedies such like this happen at work, the surviving family members of a fatal accident victim might have access to death benefits through the employer's workers' compensation insurance coverage. An attorney can describe the types of benefits that are available and provide assistance with the preparation and filing of the claim.

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