Federal workplace safety regulators have proposed fining Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus $7,000 for an accident during a hair-hanging stunt in Rhode Island that led to serious injuries to eight acrobats.
The proposed fine announced Tuesday by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is the maximum allowed under the law.
The acrobats were injured May 4 when investigators say a carabiner clip snapped, sending them plummeting 15 feet to the floor. A ninth worker, on the ground, was also hurt.
OSHA said the carabiner was improperly overloaded in violation of industry practice and manufacturer instructions.
The circus' parent company has 15 days to either pay the fine or contest it.
A spokesman says the circus disagrees with some of OSHA's findings and has not yet decided whether to appeal.