Aerialist killed after falling during ‘Ka’ with Cirque du Soleil

Slip-and-fall accidents can happen for a variety of reasons, from unsafe equipment breaking while a worker is performing his or her job duties to having sidewalks that are not repaired properly trip someone as he or she walks by. Whatever the situation, an employer or business owner can typically be held accountable for negligent acts like failing to repair damage or to maintain equipment. In those cases, you can generally seek out compensation through workers’ compensation or through suing the party who was responsible.

Something you may have heard about in the last year is a story about Cirque du Soleil and their “Ka” show. A woman performing fell while doing an aerial stunt that should have had her protected by safety harnesses and nets. Cirque du Soleil has been known for emphasizing the safety of its employees, but the alleged “death-defying stunts” could push the limits of the performers and equipment.

The workplace statistics show that in 2012, “Ka” showed an injury rate of 56.2 per 100 workers. That’s higher than in professional sports, firefighting, construction and other dangerous professions. Why is that? The workers are acrobatics primarily, with gymnastics and dances being performed regularly.

When the performer fell 94 feet and died, it was because a wire that was attached to her safety harness shredded when she was performing. After reviewing the situation, the company admitted that safety protocols relied too much on the technicians and performers instead of on the abilities of the protective systems. Since then, the company has taken steps to revise the battle scene in “Ka” and has added new safety systems.

Source: Wall Street Journal Business, “Injuries Put Safety in Spotlight at Cirque du Soleil,” Alexandra Berzon and Mark Maremont, April. 22, 2015