California's Great America Owner Fined Over June Roller Coaster Accident - NBC Bay Area
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California's Great America Owner Fined Over June Roller Coaster Accident

Robert Hooks, 66, was working as a mechanic at the park's Flight Deck ride when he was struck while trying to retrieve a cellphone, Cal/OSHA officials said.

NBC's chopper flew over California's Great America amusement park in Santa Clara, where two people were injured, Friday, June 12, 2015. (Published Friday, June 12, 2015)

The company that owns California's Great America amusement park in Santa Clara was fined $70,200 on Monday for violations related to a roller coast accident that critically injured a mechanic in June, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health announced.

The citation was issued to Cedar Fair Southwest, which owns and operates the park located about a mile southwest of Levi's Stadium, according to Cal/OSHA. Robert Hooks, 66, was working as a mechanic at the park's Flight Deck ride on June 12 when he was hit by a train while recovering a cellphone in a restricted area, Cal/OSHA officials said.

The accident happened shortly after 8 p.m. that night as the train was returning to the platform. A park patron on the ride also suffered a hand injury, park spokesman Roger Ross said. The employee and park patron were transported to a hospital for treatment, Ross said.

The park's owner did not have safety protocols or properly train workers to make sure the ride was shut down before retrieving the phone, according to Cal/OSHA.

2 Injured at California's Great America Amusement Park

[BAY] 2 Injured at California's Great America Amusement Park
Two people were injured at California's Great America amusement park in Santa Clara. Peggy Bunker reports.
(Published Saturday, June 13, 2015)

The penalties include eight workplace safety violations, two of which were directly related to the accident, Cal/OSHA officials said. Five of the violations were serious in nature, meaning they posed a risk of death or harm, according to Cal/OSHA.

"Employers are required to maintain a comprehensive injury and illness prevention program that addresses all safety hazards," Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum said in a statement.

"Cedar Fair Southwest's lack of safety protocols and training for employees contributed to this serious workplace accident," Sum said.

The park was issued six violations in the past 10 years, one of which was serious, according to online federal Department of Labor records. The serious violation was from an accident in 2007, when an employee inspecting a cable on the "Xtreme Skyflyer" ride fell from either a ladder or platform and was hospitalized, according to federal labor records.

The park plans to appeal each of the citations, a California's Great America spokesperson said in a statement to NBC Bay Area.

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