About 2,600 fans attended the Lady Tiger softball game against reigning national champion Alabama on April 27. Since there are only about 1,600 seats, the extra folks were sold tickets to sit on the “berm” just outside the outfield fence.
This picturesque grassy hillside is quite steep for sitting on the grass to watch the game, but it can be done.
Unfortunately, during the game, a lady stepped in a hole and broke her leg as she weaved her way through the fans sprawled across the berm while carrying refreshments from the concession stand. An emergency medical technician was there to splint her leg and get her on her way to a hospital.
Grass in the hole had been mown level with the grass around the hole, making the hole invisible. After the incident, we pointed out the hole to an LSU marshal at the scene. The marshal shrugged his shoulders and did nothing to put up a barricade around the hole. My family spent the rest of the game warning patrons not to step in the hole.
When I started work at Ethyl Corp. in 1974, safety programs at chemical plants tended to be “reactive” to subtle dangers. The hole would have been filled AFTER the injury occurred.
Today, safety programs at chemical plants are “proactive.” seeking out such hidden dangers and making corrections BEFORE an accident occurs. The goal for safety would be to find the hole, quickly erect a temporary barricade and fix the problem.
If the LSU Lady Tigers host an NCAA regional, I would hope the berm will be inspected for holes and that they would be filled. I would also challenge LSU to consider additional safety improvements to prevent future accidents to fans using the berm area for watching games.
K. Rick Jones
retired chemical engineer