Ergonomic Nightmare of the Week: Mickey Mouse

Next time you go to Disneyland, show your appreciation to Mickey Mouse and all his friends.  The people inside those costumes work for low wages and risk a variety of injuries resulting from costume design.  In fact, these costumes sound so awful, they warrant the title of “ergonomic nightmare.”

mickey.jpg

Excerpts from OSHA records show high rate of injury for costumed Disney characters:

The thousands of performers who wear the costumes at Disney parks around the world are exposed to physically demanding conditions and injuries from heavy and stiflingly hot costumes, overzealous children and other hazards.

Costumes weighing as much as 60 pounds were blamed as the cause of 282 out of 773 injuries, mostly to the neck, shoulder or back, according to reports kept during 2005 by Disney for the Occupational Health and Safety Administration.

Incidents ranging from a death in 2004 to minor ailments such as skin rashes afflict the performers, who typically work 30-minute sets posing for photographs, signing autographs, marching in parades and interacting with Disney guests, records show.

A burdensome costume head, typically a weighty part of the costume, was specifically cited in 49 cases often resulting in neck or back strain.

Children or adults were cited as a cause in 107 injuries, in which they pushed, pulled or otherwise hurt performers in costume.

Some reports specifically cited “excited” guests, characters who were “hit by guest,” “jumping” children or “heavy” children. Injuries from those incidents include bruises, sprains and other ailments.

So there you have it folks, keep your chubby child on a sugar high away from Mickey, it’s dangerous!

Especially disturbing:

In 2004, 38-year-old performer Javier Cruz died after he was accidentally hit and run over by a parade float while dressed as Pluto.

Some costumes are so large and difficult to move in that performers, once inside the suits, must be picked up by a forklift and hoisted on top of parade floats.

Wow, that really takes the magic away doesn’t it?

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