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Event Safety Alliance Canada has created the Scott Johnson Keynote to honor Scott’s memory by presenting a relevant safety topic to the arts, entertainment, and live event community. This keynote will launch the conference with a focus on our goal to prevent injuries and incidents and protect both people and events.


Scott Johnson died on June 16, 2012, at Downsview Park in Toronto. The stage roof collapsed just before the final sound check for the Radiohead concert to be held that night.

As it says on his tombstone "Scott was a beautiful boy and a kind and gentle man". He had been touring as a drum technician with bits of guitar work and stage management and had considered himself at the top of the tree working with Phillip Selway and Clive Deamer with Radiohead but had worked with Keane for seven years and Australian Pink Floyd, Killers, Robyn and many others. His work in the studio is acknowledged on Keane and Killers albums. He was an accomplished player himself, recording and playing in London as a 15-year-old.

He need not have died.


In April 2019, the Coroner’s Jury recommended the establishment of a Working Group to develop and maintain a fully integrated and consistent approach to the processes involved in the live performance industry. As we recently marked the ten-year anniversary of Scott’s death, Ken Johnson and Cindy Sypher will provide an update on the Scott Johnson Working Group, which got underway in June 2021.

The group is composed of a wide range of dedicated and enthusiastic industry professionals, plus representatives from the Ontario Ministry of Labor, Training and Skills Development and several related live performance and safety organizations.

Current work involves an extensive revision of the Temporary Performance/Events Structures Guideline, as well as a review of industry training needs and specialized resources.

Join us as we discuss an approach to high-risk hazards that involves risk assessment, guidance, standards, and training, all with the goal of sending everyone home safely at the end of each day.


Ken Johnson

Ken Johnson is Scott Johnson’s father and a passionate safety advocate. He retired two years ago from his role as Technical and Health and Safety Advisor to the National Access and Scaffolding Confederation (NASC), a role he held for eight years. He represented them at the British Standards Institute, Temporary Works Forum, Build UK, the Health and Safety Executive, CEN (the European Committee for Standardization) and UEG (a European group of scaffolding organizations).

He currently represents the Small Business Standard in Brussels, and as an expert on Scaffolding Standards at CEN in Berlin. He has spent a lifetime in manufacturing and business development in the UK and internationally, as well as creating and managing two companies for almost 20 years

Ken is a trustee at No Falls Foundation, a charity advising on Work at Height and supporting people who have fallen, and a member of the Scott Johnson Working Group here in Canada.

Cindy Sypher

Cindy Sypher is a Designated Consulting Engineer and the President of Sypher & Associates Field of Engineering Ltd. She has a bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Waterloo. Her consulting interests include amusement rides, risk management, temporary structures, mechanical and structural design, fire and life safety, machine guarding, playground design and inspection, emergency preparedness, rigging and general public safety initiatives. She has consulted to major fairs and event promoters.

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