Sony ruled in violation of safety rules for 'Spider-man'

HOLLYWOOD — State regulators have proposed fines of nearly $59,000 against Sony Pictures for safety violations on the “Spider-man” set in the wake of a March 6 accident in which a welder was killed.

California’s division of Occupational Safety & Health cited nine violations against Columbia Pictures in its notification. Sony reps had no comment and state officials said the studio had not indicated if it will appeal the findings. Sony has until Sept. 6 to file an appeal.

Welder Tim Holcombe died instantly after being struck in the head when a boom extension toppled onto an aerial basket in which he was riding at the former Rockwell International aerospace plant in the Los Angeles suburb of Downey.

Most of the proposed penalty came from two violations — $25,000 for alleged use of a shop-made extension to a forklift, which caused the forklift’s load capacity to be exceeded and the forklift to become unstable; and $25,000 for allegedly making the modification to the forklift without prior written approval from the manufacturer.

“Good engineering practice was not used and the capacity, operation and maintenance instruction plate was not changed accordingly,” the state said.

Other alleged violations included no identification of the attachments to the forklift; Holcombe’s lack of fall protection, such as a safety harness; the forklift driver had not been trained in its operation; the basket should have had only one employee in it while moving; employees were not instructed in use of load charts for a modified forklift; untrained employees created a shop-made modification without training in how it would affect weight and balance; and a forklift rules poster was not posted.

The state also said the studio had abated the violations. In June, the state issued administrative subpoenas for company records but later withdrew those requests.

“Spider-man” is set to open next summer.

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