Y2015-03 The wheel of a monster truck ended up in the crowd at Alahärmä on 8 August 2015
An accident took place in a monster truck show held during a fair in Alahärmä, Kauhava, on 8 August 2015. The show was held on an open field. Towards the end of the show, as the monster truck landed from a jump, its right front wheel came off because the universal joint broke and the safety cable that was meant to secure the wheel snapped. The wheel, which weighed some 350 kilograms, rolled into the audience. Seven people were injured in the accident, four of them seriously.
The position of the audience and the safety distances were insufficient. The driver of the monster truck decided on the safety distances based on experience. According to the driver, even if the wheel came off, it should not have moved sideways towards the audience. The international umbrella organisation of monster truck racing has published guidelines for monster trucks and shows, but these barely mention the safety of the audience.
No safety document had been drawn up for the monster truck show, and its safety had not been covered in the rescue plan or other plans. A separate plan was drawn up for the monster truck show after supplementary information was requested during a fire inspection. This supplementary plan was just a drawing of the event location, and was only delivered to the rescue authority after the accident. No written risk assessment was performed.
The safety and planning of a mass gathering is always the responsibility of the organiser. The authorities' role is to provide guidance and support to the event organisers. Responsibility for the official monitoring of a mass gathering is divided between several authorities, and a number of decrees place responsibilities on the organisers. Event organisers can find these responsibilities, and the division of tasks between authorities, complicated. Official monitoring was partially overlapping, and there was no comprehensive cooperation. Monitoring was not sufficient to prevent the accident.
The Safety Investigation Authority recommends that
- the Ministry of the Interior (police and rescue services) and the Ministry of Employment and the Economy clarify the safety requirements for mass gatherings and make them available at a “single service point" and in a single, comprehensive safety plan. The requirements must be understandable and simple for event organisers.
- the Ministry of the Interior (police and rescue services) and the Ministry of Employment and the Economy ensure that event organisers have access to a set of safety training materials that are not limited to any specific administrative branch, and, for example, an (online) course whose successful completion would qualify course takers to act as safety managers of mass events. Event organisers must be familiar with the applicable legislation and the principles of safety planning and management.