Friday, May 20, 2011

Blow me. No, OSHA says don't blow me.

LOTO, or Lock-Out-Tag-Out, is a system where you secure equipment so that it cannot release energy that might harm someone.  Many people think that it's just for electrical devices, but that is only one application for LOTO.  Pneumatic, steam, spring, hydraulic and even gravitational movement are equally important.  Second to electricity, pneumatic, or air pressure, is probably one of the most common forms of energy to be managed by an LOTO program.  Compressed air systems are frequently used for dusting-off items in the shop, operating staplers, nailers, rotary tools like grinders and impact drivers (wrenches), pressurizing air painting equipment, and operating platform lifts and air casters.

When you need to service the equipment or delivery lines it is important that all of the pressure is bled from the system so that tools can't misfire, clamps or brakes can't change state, and hoses don't accidentally spray a blast of air into your face / eyes or discharge in close proximity to your skin.

To achieve this, there is a special safety valve called a Pneumatic Isolation Valve, or PIV.  It isolates the supply air stream from the delivery system, and it allows all back-pressure in the delivery system to be relieved safely - and it has a means to lock the valve so it can't be tampered with.

Bimba Manufacturing ( has a great video that explains how one of these work:

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Be well hung

The PLASA International Rigging Conference, first held in 2010, has announced it's schedule for the Fall 2011 event in London, England.  Last year's event was the first of its kind, and provided a unique specialist forum that will brought together rigging companies, riggers, venue operators, tour and event production managers from around the globe. They focused specifically on rigging and working at height for temporary installations.
As the entertainment technology industry is going through a process of standardisation, there is a need for the international community to come together and discuss key issues, share knowledge and dispel myths. The expertise on offer at this conference will allow you to do that, with presentations from top industry individuals from the global rigging community.

With a balanced programme of presentations, panel discussions, Q&A sessions, and live demonstrations, the 2-day conference is designed to give you clarity on a wide range of current issues and will allow you the opportunity to air your questions and concerns with industry experts and your peers from around the globe.

A new event this year will be a one-day Rigger's Forum on September 11, just before the main conference.  This has been arranged to allow many that cannot attent the main conference to benefit from the great gathering of experts.
Registration and Conferencde Information can be found at:
The PLASA Show will cun concurrently with the Rigging Conference from September 12 through 14, 2011 

Friday, May 13, 2011

OSHA Initiates Summer Safety Program for Heat Related Illnesses

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced that OSHA is launching this national outreach initiative to educate workers and their employers about the hazards of working outdoors in the heat, as well as steps they can take to prevent heat-related illnesses.

“If you’re working outdoors, you’re at risk for heat-related illnesses that can cause serious medical problems and even death,” said Solis. “But heat illness can be prevented. This Labor Department campaign will reach across the country with a very simple message – water, rest and shade."

Information about identifying the warning signs of Heat Stroke, Dehydration, and Heat Stress can be found at

With the summer concert and festival season upon us, don't forget to take precautions against Snakes, Bugs, Plants, Heat, and Weather.