OSHA fines church for safety violations Agency says improper use of cords not related to woman's death

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story published online on Aug. 2, 2000, incorrectly reported that the Church of Scientology was fined for violating safety rules in connection with the death of a church member. The fine was for violations not related to the death.

The Press-Enterprise/August 3, 2000
By Karin Marriott

The state fined the Church of Scientology's film studio $370 for safety violations. Investigators were looking into a woman's death, but found no violations related to that accident.

Golden Era Productions near San Jacinto was cited by the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health for using an extension cord instead of permanent electrical wiring and for an improper connection of another cord next to the vault where 20-year-old Stacy Grove Meyer died, OSHA spokesman Dean Fryer said.

Problems with the cords were not related to Meyer's death, Fryer said. Ken Hoden, general manager of Golden Era, said both problems have been corrected.

Meyer, the daughter of church attorney Kendrick L. Moxon and wife of church member Derek Meyer, died instantly on June 25 when she fell while climbing a ladder leading into a vault. She touched a 7,200-volt wire and suffered severe burns over most of her body, according to Riverside County sheriff's investigators.

Meyer did not come in contact with either of the wires that prompted the citation, Fryer said.

Sheriff's investigators concluded Meyer's death was an accident. According to OSHA's investigation report, completed Friday, Meyer looped electrical wire through a slot on a 230-pound steel manhole cover to slide it off the vault on the northeast side of the film studio. People who knew Meyer told investigators she was "physically fit and had the ability to move" the cover.

Meyer then took a 6-foot wooden ladder from a nearby storage building and placed it into the vault, the report says.

Meyer worked at Golden Era for about 2 1/2 years, according to the report. The 500-acre center, which straddles Highway 79, produces training and promotional films for the church.

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