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Settlement approved in fatal circus accident


The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission has approved a settlement over a fatal circus tent collapse in 2015. 

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Myakka City, Florida-based circus operator Walker International Events Inc. after the August 2015 incident in Lancaster, New Hampshire, in which two spectators —a father and his daughter — died and two circus employees were injured, according to an agency press release published on Wednesday. 

The circus tent collapsed during a sudden downdraft of air called a microburst because it was not safely erected as directed by Walker’s engineering plan or industry standards and the company did not follow repeated National Weather Service storm warnings, according to OSHA. The agency initially proposed a $33,800 fine, which the company contested with the commission before settling for $24,000. 

"While nothing can undo the tragedy in Lancaster, this settlement does seek to prevent future such occurrences,” Michael Felsen, OSHA’s New England regional solicitor of labor in Boston, said in a statement. “If and when Walker International Events resumes operations, it must first put into place a comprehensive safety and health plan to ensure the proper erection and maintenance of tents and its adherence to OSHA standards.”

Walker, which is currently out of business but must comply with a payment schedule as featured in the settlement agreement, could not be reached for comment.