Tragic Stage Screen Collapse Leads to Several Injuries

This case study explores a tragic incident where several charity walk participants were injured by a collapsing 20ft LED screen, emphasizing the importance of proper installation and maintenance procedures for such structures.

ByExpert Institute

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Published on February 6, 2024

Workers assembling stage screen with panels

Case Overview

This case study examines an unfortunate incident that occurred during a charity walk. Several participants sustained severe injuries, including back fractures, when the massive 20ft, 1200-pound LED screen collapsed onto them. This video wall, assembled from numerous smaller screens to display one large image or video, was erected by a production company for the event.

The incident necessitated a forensic engineering specialist to inspect the fallen screen. In addition, he provided professional insight into how such structures should be erected.

Questions to the expert and their responses

Q1

Can you elaborate on your experience with forensic engineering, particularly in erecting screens or similar-sized structures?

With over three decades’ experience as a mechanical engineer specializing in failure analysis, I have frequently dealt with cases related to the erection of screens or structures of comparable sizes.

My work involves identifying failures in design, installation, or maintenance that could lead to accidents.

Q2

What are the necessary steps to ensure that a structure of this size - a 20ft screen composed of many smaller screens - is properly secured?

Erecting a structure like this requires strict adherence to best practices in theater rigging and mechanical engineering principles. It’s crucial to conduct thorough structural assessments and load calculations before installation. Regular inspections and maintenance are also essential to ensure ongoing safety.

Q3

Have you previously reviewed any similar cases? If yes, please elaborate.

Yes, I have worked on similar cases before. One notable instance involved light poles falling over in a stadium and causing injuries. In these situations, my team and I focus on identifying any failures in design, installation, or maintenance that could have led to the accident.

About the expert

This expert is a seasoned professional engineer with over 40 years of experience in mechanical engineering. They hold both a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from prestigious universities and are currently licensed as a professional engineer in California. The expert has an extensive publication record in the field of mechanical engineering, has held senior roles at several engineering firms, and presently serves as the principal and president of a mechanical engineering consulting firm. Their active memberships in numerous professional organizations, including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Society of Forensic Engineers and Scientists, further underscore their commitment to staying abreast of developments within their field.

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