A single failed clamp caused an aerialist stunt in Providence, Rhode Island to crash to the ground on Sunday and injure nine performers, according to the lead investigator for the city's fire department.
As ongoing investigations continue, safety regulations in the circus have come under scrutiny.
"There's no such thing as a safety standard in our industry," said acrobat and daredevil Nik Wallenda on "New Day" Tuesday.
Wallenda, a 7th-generation member of the famous “Flying Wallendas” family, suggests more collaboration between circus performers and government regulators could help prevent accidents like this in the future.
"We have to step up as an industry and we have to take the lead on this and work with the government so that it's done in a proper way," he said.
THERE NEEDS TO BE MORE COMMUNICATION:
While a number of circus accidents have made headlines in recent years, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) can not provide information on how common workplace accidents are for circus performers.
Plus, according to CNN reporter Jean Casarez, licensing regulations do not require any state inspections.
This makes creating standardized safety procedures across the industry a difficult process.
On top of that, there seems to be a lack of agreement among policy-makers and performers on safety mechanisms.
According to Wallenda, just because performers have safety mechanisms, it doesn't necessarily mean they're safe. He says a vast majority of accidents in the industry are not related to the performer, but "it's the rigging that actually causes the accident."
As a result, individual circus performers often look at government regulations that might require them to wear safety harnesses and tethers as problematic.
Wallenda said he encountered this problem while preparing for his adventure crossing Niagara Falls. The government required he wear a harness, but he felt uncomfortable and unsafe with the way the company in charge handled the equipment.
"I was scared of that walk because of that tether that they put on me and the way they put it on me," he said.
"When outside resources come in and tell you how to do something you've done for 200 years, it makes it very difficult."
WHAT'S NEXT FOR SAFETY REGULATIONS IN THE CIRCUS INDUSTRY?
Wallenda says he wants to go to Washington to help create guidelines or a guidebook to oversee circus work.
He's also suggested mandating rigging inspections by an outside organization and tracking all equipment and the length of time its used.
As a benefit, Wallenda said if regulations can eventually cover everything, insurance costs would probably go down as well.
His biggest takeaway, though, is for performers to be proactive with their safety precautions.
“There are certain standards and it's about educating the people that are doing the rigging and often the performers themselves,” he said.
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