Sign repairman on the mend

A Young Electric Sign Co. employee recovering from a 105-foot fall last week had an elbow operation on New Year’s Day.

“Everyone’s prayers have been answered,” said union activist Andrew Barbano of 23-year-old Michael Farnworth’s recovery. “People are surprised he was not killed. 10 1/2 stories is a long way to fall.”

While Farnworth made repairs on Topsy, the Circus Circus clown sign, two days after Christmas, a mechanical failure sent the cherry picker holding Farnworth crashing to the ground. His elbow shattered. He broke ribs and a hip. His spleen was removed.

His fiancee Lisa Robertson said Tuesday that Farnworth is still in a lot of pain.

A report of the injury at the Nevada Labor Web site,, includes Bureau of Labor statistics that depict Nevada as having one of the three worst work-related injury rates in the nation. It also quotes a Las Vegas Sun editorial calling for the hiring of more state inspectors to maintain job safety for workers.

Co-workers, union members and Farnworth’s employers have been supportive, Barbano said.

“The company’s about as concerned as it can be,” Barbano said, adding that financial contributions to help the family are coming in from union members in other states. To give, call Wendy Jones at IBEW Local 401, 329-2566.

Robertson said she’s optimistic about Farnworth’s progress.

"He’s a fighter and he’ll get through this," she said. "It’ll be a long road to recovery."