TORONTO, ON — IATSE welcomes the valuable recommendations the jury has returned today in the coroner’s inquest concerning the Radiohead stage collapse at Downsview Park on June 16, 2012, which tragically claimed the life of drum technician Scott Johnson. The recommendations are comprehensive and evidence an understanding of health and safety issues facing the live performance industry.
Although our members were not present that day, IATSE provided valuable information to assist the jury with specialized knowledge of the industry, and to propose recommendations which advance workplace safety. The jury heard from 27 witnesses and considered the appropriate recommendations to ensure such a tragedy never occurs again.
The recommendations call for broad changes to the oversight of demountable event structures and the supervision of work on site, with the intention of protecting workers. A number of recommendations are directed at various levels of government, the body governing engineers, labour, employers, and promoters and operators of live performance events. Highlights of the more than 24 recommendations returned by the jury include compiling a “Scott Johnson Book” of safety regulations, amendments to the Building Code and the Occupational Health and Safety Act with respect to demountable event structures, and recommendations that an engineer be present at the construction of these structures.
A key recommendation is for Ontario to create a permanent working group of industry experts fully funded by the province. This working group will consist of Scott Johnson’s father, Ken Johnson (who is an advisor for Technical and Health & Safety to the UK’s National Access & Scaffolding Confederation), as well as experts from the live performance and staging industry including government, labour, professional engineers and worker groups. This group will consider the establishment of an Entertainment Industry Health and Safety Organization similar to the British Columbia’s “Actsafe Safety Association”- a recommendation advocated for by the IATSE.
Following the jury’s announcement, International President Matthew D. Loeb stated, “The IATSE fully supports these recommendations, but our work does not end here. We will be carefully reviewing the jury’s recommendations, and look forward to our involvement in the working group.”