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‘Spider-Man’ caught in OSHA’s web

by on
in Employment Law,HR Management,Human Resources

Preview performances of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” have been drawing big crowds of theater-goers eager to get a sneak-peak at Broadway’s most-expensive-ever musical. But the production isn’t earning rave reviews from some unlikely audience members—inspectors from OSHA and the New York Department of Labor.

They were called to the Foxwoods Theater in late December after the latest in a series of accidents that have injured four cast members.

On Dec. 20, Spiderman stunt double Christopher Tierney plunged 30 feet into a stage pit when the cable that was supposed to ease a planned jump either broke or failed because it was improperly rigged. The production features 38 high-wire acrobatic scenes in which cast members swing through the stage set and out over the audience.

Tierney suffered a back injury that required surgery. He is expected to make a full recovery.

The accident—plus two broken wrists and a concussion suffered by other cast members during previews—prompted the Actors Equity union to ask OSHA and the New York DOL to review safety measures at the theater. NYDOL had previously approved all the show’s stunts.

Inspectors interviewed witnesses and reexamined high-wire harnesses and rigging to ensure actors’ safety. “We need to make sure of what happened and make sure that it doesn’t happen again,” NYDOL spokesperson Leo Rosales told the entertainment daily Variety.

“Spider-Man” producers agreed to the inspectors’ suggestion to have a second set of eyes check each harness rig before an actor takes the stage.

One preview performance was cancelled following Tierney’s accident.

The official premiere of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark”—budgeted at $65 million to produce, with operating costs of $1 million per week—was pushed back from Jan. 11 until Feb. 7 while producers hone technical aspects of the production. Preview performances continue until then.

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