Saturday, April 6, 2013

Arena Rigger fails to clip-in and falls 100 feet

Friday, April 5, 2013 - San Antonio. Texas.  A high steel rigger fell to his death at the AT&T Center Arena while striking a show at 2:00 AM.  Witnesses said he had detached himself  from the fall safety line while repositioning himself and lost his footing while moving around a beam.  A late load-out can be dangerous as fatigue can play a factor in clarity of thought and situational awareness. 

The rigger was identified as Dean Williams, 44, from Houston, Texas.  He leaves behind a wife and 3  month old daughter.

Accidents like this can be avoided if you wear a dual (twin) lanyard tie-off :
(courtesy of North Safety)

If this is not convenient, then you might consider using a dual retractable fall arrestor like this:
(courtesy of UltraSafe)

Either style works well and  can provide good maneuverability while being tied-off.  Always have a rescue plan when working at height.  Hanging in a fall protection harness for even a short period of times can result in suspension trauma if you cannot relieve the pressure on your thighs from the harness straps.

Climb Safe
Come Home
Update:  A Memorial Fund has been established for the benefit of Dean's widow and daughter - pitch in what you can!


  1. You also need to wear a full body harness to attach the twin lanyards to so you will not suffer spinal or internal injury damage during a fall, the old single waist belt may prevent you from falling to the ground, but it could add to ones injuries and even cause a spinal break with tragic results.

  2. Great point Erich. I've spread the word on my social networks. Thanks!

  3. Backstage Jobs' site 'Cue-to-Cue' posted an interesting summary of stagehand accidents in February. Way too many of them are fall-related. See: