The U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined Broadway tuner “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” for violations of safety standards in the wake of the show’s high-profile actor injuries.
The proposed fines, totally $12,600, seems like pocket change to a megabudget show whose $65 million capitalization has at this point ballooned beyond that.
OSHA issues serious citations when the agency decides serious harm or death could result from workplace dangers spotted by its inspectors. OSHA claims “Spider-Man” employees were “exposed to the hazards of falls or being struck during flying routines because of improperly adjusted or unsecured safety harnesses.” There was also, the agency alleges, a lack of fallprotection from open-side floors and from overhead rigging.
Through spokeswoman Maria Somma, Actors’ Equity has declined to comment on OSHA’s citations of the “Spider-Man” production.
The fines comes after the OSHA investigation of much-publicized incidents that saw one lead thesp depart the show in the wake of a concussion and another sustain serious injuries after a fall of some 30 feet, not to mention broken bones for a couple of other performers.
Two previously violations were issued, but no fines were attached.
The producers of “Spider-Man” have 15 days to meet with OSHA leadership or contest the findings.
A rep for “Spider-Man” responded in a statement: ” ‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’ remains in compliance with all government agencies and continues to adhere to all safety protocols.”
Scott Fisher of Fisher Technical Services, which provided the flying technology for the show, told Variety: “These citations don’t have anything to do with the flying systems we provided, and we believe the production has already addressed any issues that came up when these accidents happened.”
Fisher added: “Simple fall protection criteria wasn’t followed the way it should have been, but the industry has already made fairly large strides in the last 10 years. We’re much safer now than we’ve ever been.”
Producers of the technologically ambitious rock tuner have already had a series of meetings with OSHA inspectors that resulted in the adoption of backstage procedural redundancies and double-checks that would prevent injuries from occurring again.
“Spider-Man” is still officially skedded to open March 15, although many in the industry expect that date to be pushed back even further, possibly by a number of months. A final decision on whether to do so will likely be made imminently.