Each year, several thousand workers are killed in job-related incidents, often in falls. In one of the most dangerous occupations, construction, falls make up a significant portion workplace deaths. According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), about 259 of 738 total construction deaths involved falls of some kind. Fatal falls and workplace deaths are not limited to construction, however. Recently, a worker in another occupation that requires physical labor suffered a fatal fall in a very public way.
The worker was an acrobat, and she fell during a performance of "Ka," the well-known Cirque du Soleil show. The acrobat, a 31-year-old woman, was dangling high above the stage when she apparently lost her balance or grip and fell to her death. The woman's fall occurred near the end of the show, and some audience members saw her fall.
The woman's death isn't the only death or serious injury at Cirque du Soleil shows, although the company has prided itself on its safety record.
- A performer died in 2008 after falling from a trampoline during training. He suffered fatal head injuries.
- A few days before the acrobat's recent death, a performer fell during another show and was taken away during a wheelchair.
- In 2007, two performers were apparently hurt when one lost her grip and fell to the floor with her partner.
- Previously, a performer sued the company for injuries received during rehearsals in 2006.
Part of the danger in these chows is that the acrobats perform aerial stunts with little safety equipment. Sometimes pats or nets are used for complicated stunts.
"Ka" has been canceled until further notice.
Whether a worker is a construction worker or an actor, he or she has the right to be safe on the job. After a serious or injury on the job, workers' compensation benefits are generally available. Although workers generally cannot sue their employers for work-related injuries, in some cases they may be able to hold third parties liable.
Source: Los Angeles Times, "Cirque du Soleil mishaps are infrequent but not unheard of," David Ng, July 1, 2013
- Our law firm handles cases involving workers involved in fatal accidents in the Los Angeles area. For more information, visit our wrongful death page.