Saturday, April 25, 2009

"We don't have to get it inspected, do we?"

That is a common whine I hear from theatre owners / facility managers all the time. Sometimes it's followed by "We're exempt!" Really? Where does this drivel come from?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) publishes a standard for the use of industrial winch and hoist machinery. That is Stage Rigging Equipment to you and me.

OSHA “29 CFR 1926.550 Cranes and derricks,” paragraph (a)(6):
“A thorough, annual inspection of the hoisting machinery shall be made by a competent person, or government or private agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor. The employer shall maintain a record of the dates and results of inspections for each hoisting machine and piece of equipment.”

You can’t get much clearer than that.

"Hoisting machinery" is anything that hoists. It does not have to be motorized.

I cannot find anywhere in the OSHA Regulations that exempts any school (public or private), church, municipality (State, County, City, School District), or non-profit organization (i.e. community theatre).

It’s up to facility owners to be sure that stage rigging equipment is in top working order. The inspections are intended to protect the staff, students, and guests from using mis-designed, mis-installed, damaged, or worn-out equipment. Inspections can also shield the institution from potential lawsuits should there be an accident, and it can prevent the assessment of fines should there be an OSHA inspection. Yes, you can be fined by OSHA just for not having a record of the inspections, let alone not actually having the inspections.

A "competent person" would typically be either a Theatre Consultant or Stage Rigging Company that has experience in this area. The person doing your inspection should, however, be looking at the big picture when they come into your facility. I frequently find recently installed or recently inspected stage rigging systems that have gross violations of other safey codes immediately adjacent to the rigging equipment, and discover that no one had mentioned or reported those conditions when filing their final reports.

If it involves safety, "NOT MY JOB" can't be used to side-step the issue. You see it. You report it. Period.

1 comment:

  1. When the Theatre says "But we couldn't afford to (follow code/hire a professional rigger/etc.);" the Emergency Room doctor says "Oh. In that case, he's not really (dead/severely injured/etc."
    --I think it's a Bill Sapsis quote.

    ETCP-Certified Entertainment Electrician and Trainer