Legislators Call for Extension of New Stage Regulations
DHS: Rules passed in wake of State Fair stage collapse working well
(WIBC.com file photo)
Legislators are recommending a three-year extension of outdoor stage regulations rushed into place in the aftermath of last year's State Fair disaster.
New equipment inspection rules were intended as a stopgap until a study committee could examine the issue in depth. But legislators say those rules have worked well. The only proposed change is to require an evacuation plan for all outdoor events, not just those which involve stage equipment.
Rules adopted in May require state inspections of rigging not anchored to the stage, and call for event organizers to submit engineering specifications to the state two weeks in advance. Rigging less than 20 feet high is exempt, as long as organizers leave an extra eight-foot buffer zone around the stage where spectators aren't allowed.
Seven people were killed and about 50 injured when high winds collapsed the stage at a Sugarland concert at the fair, sending sound equipment crashing into the front rows of the audience.
Legislators must approve the study commission's recommendations. Representative Bob Cherry (R-Greenfield), who heads the panel, says legislators will likely look at making the rules permanent if the next three years don't reveal anything they missed.