On June 7, a 68-year-old retiree in Iowa who decided to spend the summer working at Adventureland was working his first shift at the Raging River ride. His job was to help riders exit the circular rafts at the end of their rides. The day turned tragic when he suffered fatal workplace injuries. Federal safety investigators determined that the employer failed to provide a safe workplace environment.
An accident report indicates that after riders completed their trip through the rapids, they disembarked with the help of the worker before the raft moved forward by a conveyor belt. Reportedly, there was no contact between the operator of the ride -- who was stationed in a control room above the landing -- and the worker below. Also, there was reportedly no device to lock the conveyor to prevent it from moving while people were getting off the rafts.
Because of the conveyor's continued movement, the worker apparently lost his balance and fell from the landing platform onto the moving conveyor belt. He was rushed to a hospital where he was on life support until June 11 when he succumbed to his injuries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration records show that 10 fatalities occurred in workplace accidents at amusement parks nationwide from 2011 through 2014.
Although the Iowa Division of Labor reports that this adventure ride was the subject of regular inspections, changes to improve safety have been recommended. The surviving spouse will be entitled to pursue financial relief through the workers' compensation insurance system. Death benefits are available for the surviving family members of those who have suffered fatal workplace injuries, and they typically cover end-of-life expenses and a percentage of lost wages.
Source: desmoinesregister.com, "Adventureland fined $4,500 in worker's death", Kevin Hardy, Joel Aschbrenner, Aug. 29, 2016