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State regulators fine Great America after mechanic hurt by roller coaster

Posted On: Dec. 17, 2015 12:00 AM CST

California regulators fined the owners of California's Great America theme park $70,200 for a roller coaster accident that critically injured a ride mechanic in June.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health found that Cedar Fair L.P., the owner/operator of the Santa Clara, California-based amusement park, was at fault for the injury, which occurred when 66-year-old Robert Hooks was struck by the park's Flight Deck ride while retrieving a cell phone in a restricted area, according to an agency press release issued Monday.

The company failed to have safety protocols in place to ensure that the roller coaster was shut down prior to retrieving lost articles near it and also failed to effectively train workers to shut down the ride to retrieve lost articles, according to the agency.

“Employers are required to maintain a comprehensive injury and illness prevention program that addresses all safety hazards,” Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum said in a statement. “Cedar Fair Southwest's lack of safety protocols and training for employees contributed to this serious workplace accident.”

Cal/OSHA issued citations for eight workplace safety violations, including five serious in nature, two of them directly related the accident, according to the release.

A company spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.