Circus Hair-Hanging Fall Shows Workplace Accidents Happen in Many Circumstances


Workplace accidents and on-the-job injuries can happen to anyone, any time and under any number of circumstances. Case in point is a tragic accident that happened in Providence involving eight hair-hanging acrobats with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

At the time of the accident, the acrobats were in the middle of their “human chandelier” performance, which required them to be suspended from an aerial platform by the strands of their hair. When a carabiner clip failed, the eight acrobats plummeted between 15-20 feet to the floor. Nine people were injured in total – eight acrobats and one worker on the ground. Injuries included broken bones, concussions, spinal cord injuries and more. A few of the injured acrobats were reportedly still unable to walk more than a month after the accident, according to the Providence Journal.

The Boston Globe reported that, as a result of an investigation into the accident, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined the circus $7,000 for improperly installed equipment (which is what was determined to be the cause of the equipment failure). OSHA also recommended a number of safety measures to help prevent similar incidents in the future.

It Is Not Just Circus Performers Who Are At Risk

Individuals working in hazardous industries or at dangerous jobs, like acrobats and other circus performers, are not the only ones at risk. Workplace accidents can happen in any profession to any individual, regardless of his or her position. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports there are more than 3 million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses in the private sector during a typical year.

Some of the most common causes of workplace accidents in offices, on job sites and at other places of employment involve:

  • Human error.
  • Lack of proper training.
  • Misconduct.
  • Failure to enforce safety procedures.
  • Negligence or neglect.
  • Improper tools.
  • Inadequate maintenance.
  • Equipment malfunction or failure.
  • Lack of proper supervision.

What to Do If You Have Been Hurt at Work

When an employee is injured on the job or during the performance of a work-related task, that employee usually has the legal right to pursue workers’ compensation benefits to help cover medical expenses and reimburse lost wages. This is true regardless of who is at fault for the accident and resulting injury. In cases which a negligent contractor, manufacturer or other third party is deemed liable, further legal action against that third party may be pursued with the help of a skilled personal injury attorney.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a workplace accident, contact the Rhode Island personal injury attorneys at Marasco & Nesselbush to discuss your legal rights and options. We provide free case reviews to victims of workplace accidents. Call us at 401-443-2999 or fill out a contact form to set up a free legal consultation. We have four offices located in Providence, Wakefield, Warwick, and Woonsocket to easily serve you.