Safety concerns have been brought to the forefront of many designs this year, and for good reason. Things that were once generally accepted as being safe are now being closely monitored. Whether it’s OSHA, a particular state’s commission or a self-appointed safety czar with a website, someone is watching your production. But I have to wonder if these people are looking in all the correct places. Reputable lighting companies have spent a fortune replacing spansets with gakflex. They have updated motor systems to make them comply with the standards outside of America. All these things have a direct effect on your show’s budget, and we must factor them in. Production managers demand fire certificates for soft goods. But do they ask for my motor certificates that authenticate that each winch has passed its yearly physical? Everywhere I hang a rope ladder, I am required to hang a fall arrestor. But every day I watch unprotected video techs climbing the back of their walls to troubleshoot. Last month I watched audio guys climb up the sides of speaker arrays to plug in a cable or put a chain back in a motor bag. These guys are 30 feet in the air with no lifelines attached, but nobody is bitching. Won’t be long until audio engineers have to sacrifice a couple sub bass cabinets on their show to pay for the safety equipment.
—From “LD at Large” by Nook Schoenfeld, PLSN, Dec. 2012