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Oregon OSHA faults, fines companies in fatal accident at site of music festival

For immediate release
Feb. 12, 2020
Contact information
Aaron Corvin, Public Information Officer
971-718-6973, aaron.corvin@oregon.gov

Salem, OR — Oregon OSHA has issued $31,000 in fines against two companies for safety violations following an investigation of a boom lift accident that killed two workers at the site of the Pickathon Music Festival in Happy Valley. 

The division’s investigation of the Aug. 8, 2019, accident found Pickathon LLC and GuildWorks LLC – a subcontractor to Pickathon LLC – failed to follow safety rules governing the operation of a boom lift. Those rules included keeping safety alarm devices activated and heeding the manufacturer’s operating and maintenance instructions for the machine.

“It is an employer’s responsibility to make sure that safety rules are followed for the very purpose of protecting workers from such tragedies,” said Michael Wood, administrator for Oregon OSHA. “This is a time to pause and remember that two people died, leaving behind family and friends. And it is a time to remind ourselves that this accident was entirely preventable.” 

The two workers – positioned in the platform of a boom lift raised about 40 feet high – were performing tasks after the music festival had ended. They were dismantling event-related hardware and ropes attached to trees when the boom lift tipped over, crashing to the ground and killing them.  

Oregon OSHA cited both Pickathon and GuildWorks for a serious violation because two alarm devices on the boom lift had been disabled. One device would sound an alarm warning against operating the machine on uneven terrain. The other device would stop the upward motion of the platform if an employee became pinned between an overhead obstruction and the platform’s railing and controls. 

That serious violation carries a $12,500 penalty for each of the companies.

Additionally, Oregon OSHA fined GuildWorks $6,000 for another serious violation: failing to follow the boom lift manufacturer’s operating and maintenance instructions.

Those instructions included not raising the boom while on an uneven surface; maintaining a firm footing on the platform’s floor at all times; not moving the machine while the boom was extended and while the machine was stationed on a sloped surface; and not putting the boom in a raised position while the counterweight – which acts as a balance – is located on the downward side of a slope.


Using its discretionary penalty authority, Oregon OSHA determined that the companies will not receive the normal reduction in the penalty granted to small employers. This decision is based on the particular facts uncovered by the division’s investigation, which revealed a history of failing to follow proper safety procedures. 

In addition to its enforcement activities, Oregon OSHA offers employers resources to help improve workplace safety and health.

Contact Oregon OSHA’s no-cost consultation services for help with safety and health programs: 

Phone: 503-378-3272
Toll-free in Oregon: 800-922-2689
Field office locations and phone numbers
Email: consult.web@oregon.gov 

The agency’s technical staff members can answer questions about rules and how to apply them:

Phone: 503-378-3272
Toll-free in Oregon: 800-922-2689
Email: tech.web@oregon.gov
Online contact form

Visit Oregon OSHA’s A-to-Z topic page for more information about on-the-job safety and health.

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About Oregon OSHA:

Oregon OSHA, a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, enforces the state's workplace safety and health rules and works to improve workplace safety and health for all Oregon workers. For more information, go to osha.oregon.gov.

The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, go to www.oregon.gov/dcbs/.

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