Shania Twain Stagehand Accident Highlights Need for Safety Vigilance

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LAS VEGAS — Dim lighting conditions and backstage hazards have always been a dangerous mix. A fresh reminder came Nov. 19, when Matthew Moore, 35, suffered a broken arm along with head and neck injuries after falling into the 20-by-20-foot, two-story loading pit, used in preparation for Shania Twain’s Still the One series of shows at Caesars Palace Colosseum, which opened Dec. 1.

Moore, hired by a subcontractor to help set up the wireless microphone system, wasn’t the first backstage worker to require hospitalization after falling into the pit. According to a report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal; an audio tech working on the set for America’s Got Talent suffered a badly fractured ankle from a fall there on Oct. 25, 2011. AEG Live, which managed the set, reportedly paid OSHA $5,760.

Moore, who didn’t regain consciousness until he was in the hospital, couldn’t recall the moments immediately prior to the accident. In the LVRJ article, he noted that while audible warnings were sounded every time the lift had been lowered, temporary barriers to warn of the drop-off  were not deployed as consistently.

Moore, a backstage veteran who has supported productions since he was 16, is recovering at his home in nearby Pahrump, NV, but with his arm in a cast and a brace for his neck, he didn’t expect to be able to return for work any time soon.