Tennessee assessed thousands of dollars against Delta Fair ride contractor Amusements of America for a “serious violation” of TOSHA laws after a ride hit power line and injured two workers last August.
The report of the Tennessee Department of Labor investigation also found the company had a “weak safety and health program.” The report offers credible evidence supporting a federal complaint filed last week by one of the workers seeking $25 million against Delta Fair and Amusements.
The Tennessee Department of Labor fined the company $4,500 for TOSHA violations.
Randall Fishman is a local personal injury and civil attorney not affiliated with this case. Fishman has handled electrical injury and amusement ride cases.
“When there is a regulation that someone either is either unaware of or just decides it’s too difficult to follow and as a result you get an injury like this, that my friend is gross negligence,” Fishman said.
Two workers suffered electric shock during the incident. One of those workers, Edward Alan Yearta, claims in the federal complaint he was setting up a ride called the Alpine for his own employer, another company, when workers from Amusements hit a power line with the ride they were assembling. That ride was called the “Ring of Fire.”
Photos in the Depart. of Labor report show the “Fire” ride shortly after it hit the power line with smoke coming off of it. Close up photos show damage to the metal on the ride caused by the high-power voltage.
That voltage ran through the Ring of Fire and into a generator where Yearta was standing. His right hand was holding the generator. The high voltage “surged through Yearta’s body, according to the complaint.
“The complaint read the electricity went through his body and exploded out of his foot, which I think is a very apt description of the type of damage that type of power and search can cause,” said Fishman.
Last August, Delta Fair owner Mark Lovell described the incident and injuries as far less severe than either the state report or worker’s complaint allege.
“They ran some tests on him. He is fine. Having some minor foot surgery. He will be back on site in a couple of days. I doubt he will be working but on site,” said Lovell at the time.
But Yearta never returned to the fair. The complaint alleges he did not leave the hospital for a full month and went through two painful operations. Yearta’s attorney told the Local I-Team he has not returned to work.
We contacted Lovell about our story, the state report and the complaint. We have not received a response.
An Amusements of America spokesperson told the Local I-Team it would not respond, as it has not received either the complaint or the OSHA citation.