Federal Authorities Investigating Circus Incident Involving Broken Clip

On Sunday May 4, 2014, eight circus acrobats suffered injuries when they fell to the ground while performing a hair-hanging stunt. Evidence including a broken clip and other material has been turned over to federal workplace safety investigators. A ninth performer, a dancer below the falling Ringling Brothers group, was also hurt.

The carabiner clip was one of several pieces at the top of a chandelier-like apparatus that was suspending the acrobats during the performance in front of 3,900 people at a Rhode Island venue. It is not yet clear why the 4- to 5-inch steel clip broke into three pieces, one fire investigator stated. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will attempt to answer this question, and many others.

Reportedly, the cause of the broken clip has been reduced to two possibilities: a manufacturing defect or improper use (such as the manner in which it was installed in the rigging).

At any point during the design and manufacturing process, a manufacturer’s failure to address safety issues associated with its products may contribute to a product’s hazards. Such efforts are of critical importance for devices that are intended to be safety devices, such as carabiner clips. Our law firm has wide experience in cases involving material failure, including C-clamps, eye screws, piping and numerous other metal components. If you or a family member have suffered significant personal injuries result from the use of a defective product, contact the law office of Swartz & Swartz, P.C. Call (617) 742-1900 in the Boston area, or for clients in greater Massachusetts, New England, or other states, call toll-free  1-800-545-3732.

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