Staying safe while working a Colorado fair or festival
In the wake of the Ohio State Fair Fire Ball accident, many are questioning whether they will be safe at the Colorado State Fair this year. There is one group of people, however, that do not question their safety enough: The workers.
Burns from manning food booths. Heat stroke while taking tickets. Back injuries from carrying instruments and other heavy objects. Slip and falls. Falls from heights. Electrical shock. Assaults by drunk concertgoers. There are many ways workers face injury, whether they are working the State Fair, a Red Rocks concert or another festival or event.
Here is what you should know:
1. Your employer has a duty to keep you safe
Your employer is required, under the Occupational and Safety Health Act and other laws, to provide a safe workplace. This includes, among other things:
- Examining your work conditions and making any necessary changes to protect you
- Maintaining work equipment and regularly examining it
- Warning you of any potential hazards and reducing hazards
- Providing safety training and clear procedures when safety is a concern
- Offering adequate breaks, shade and other accommodations in hot working environments
When employers fail to follow safety regulations, they can and should be held accountable.
2. You should take steps to protect yourself
Workers at festivals should take steps to protect themselves. Here are some helpful resources:
- OSHA heat safety tool app: An app to calculate your heat index and remind you about protective measures you should take when it hits a risk level.
- Ergonomics suggestions for lifting, pulling and other movement
- Fall prevention resources, including ladder safety
- Youth worker guide to preventing cooking burns
- Other OSHA training resources
If you suspect your employer is bending the safety rules or you feel your work environment is unsafe, speak up. Your employer cannot fire you for addressing safety concerns. If you do not feel safe discussing your concerns with your employer, you can contact OSHA directly. Your employer cannot fire you for reporting safety concerns to OSHA.
3. If you are injured while working, you are entitled to workers’ compensation
This is true even if the injury is your fault. As long as you are working when the injury occurs, you can file for workers’ compensation. Colorado employers must carry workers’ compensation to protect you (and them!).
Whether you are working at the Colorado State Fair, Red Rocks, the Denver Falls Festival, Boulder’s Fall Fest, the Taste of Colorado, the Denver Beer Fest or another festival or event, you should expect a safe work environment. You should take steps to stay safe, and question any unsafe environment.