OSHA Cites Cedar Point and Castaway Bay *UPDATED*

13 10 2008

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued three willful citations against Cedar Fair, and has proposed fines of $185,000. This specifically deals with violations at Cedar Point and Castaway Bay, the park’s indoor water park resort. The reasons given are inadequate fall protection at two roller coasters, not offering employees Hepatitis B vaccination, and not properly training lifeguards in how to handle bloodborne pathogens. 

 

Original report from WKYC

Details of violations from the Sandusky Register

 

After reading the available details of the citations in the Register article I can only come to the conclusion that a) the claims are rather ridiculous, and b) they were most likely given to OSHA by a former disgruntled employee. I honestly laughed in slight disgust at the sheer stupidity of the fall protection claim with Blue Streak, having worked there last summer (2007). If you need extra fall protection beyond the ubiquitous plank and railings present on every wooden coaster in existence, then I’m sorry, but you probably aren’t smart enough to be working a multi-million dollar machine that carries the lives of about 8,000 riders each day. By the end of last summer I was practically running up and down the lift every time we had to stop it for some idiot with a camera or cell phone out, and I was never in any greater danger because I wasn’t wearing a fall arrest (a harness-like device). Every coaster in the park with a lift hill has a required lift walk for you to be fully trained there, and a harness is not used on any of them during a lift walk, and there is absolutely no reasonable need for anything beyond the normal hand rails. 

The situations regarding Top Thrill Dragster and Millennium Force are more than likely perfect examples of what the maintenance department seems to do best, follow their own rules. There isn’t a catwalk all of the way down the launch track of Top Thrill, and its obviously time consuming and a bit of a hassle to go up a ladder at one point, then come back down, move it, stabilize and repeat as many times as needed. There is a lot of pressure to get the major rides back up and running as quickly as possible, so why not cut out the ladder moving to speed things up and make things a little easier? As for Millennium, well, I really don’t know why someone wasn’t wearing a harness while resetting the ride in the morning, or what would possess them to do so in the first place. I know very well that harnesses are readily available for any climbing job, so you would have to actually choose not to wear one. I have watched that ride be reset many times over the past several years, and I have never seen it done without proper safety measures like a harness.

I don’t have much comment on the lifeguard issue and training about blood-borne pathogens, except to say that in talking to someone who has been a lifeguard at an area park and knows several others, this kind of extensive training that OSHA describes isn’t given to any lifeguards at any surrounding water park. 

So in conclusion, I guess this means we’ll be seeing every single park with a wooden coaster get cited for inadequate fall protection…oh, wait, there wasn’t a single mention of Mean Streak! Does anyone else find that odd? A park with two wooden coasters, whose provided safeguards out on the track don’t differ at all, only has one of them cited…anyone else see something a little suspect? Call me paranoid, but I think its worth a look. Anyway, take it any way you wish, but my conclusion is that something seems fishy, and overall ridiculous regarding this.

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