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Signs of Trouble: Universal Sued over Signage


By Dan Hounsell Facilities Management
Mickey Mouse
© Samar El Atrash / Shutterstock.com

Signage — whether for identification, wayfinding, or safety — is an often-overlooked component of operations in institutional and commercial facilities, even when planning facility upgrades. While the results can be frustrating or embarrassing for occupants and visitors, in other cases involving safety signage, the results can be much worse.

A Guatemalan family is suing Universal Orlando Resort following the death of the family's 38-year-old father, calling the park negligent for not providing ride warning signs in Spanish, according to USA Today.

In 2016, Jose Calderon Arana had a fatal heart attack after going on Skull Island: Reign of Kong. He had previous heart problems and did not speak English, according to the wrongful death lawsuit the family filed this month. Calderon Arana didn’t feel well after going on the Skull Island ride. His wife thought he had an upset stomach, according to the lawsuit. He was taken to a hospital where he later died, said the lawsuit.

A sign at the entrance of the ride says in English, "Warning! This ride is an expedition through the rough terrain of King Kong’s natural habitat. The movement of the truck is dynamic with sudden accelerations, dramatic tilting and jarring actions." It warns that people with heart conditions or abnormal blood pressure, back or neck conditions, and expectant mothers should not go on the ride. Besides the English text, each of the situations has an accompanying drawing.

The family’s personal injury attorney, Lou Pendas, says it is not unreasonable to have ride warning signs in English, Spanish and French so visitors can make informed decisions about whether they should go on the ride.

Dan Hounsell is editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions, and Facilitiesnet.com.

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