Checking Safety Cables

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Jan 28, 2007
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Leesburg Virginia
Our school has cables for all of our fixtures, but when we were focusing, I pulled one to check if it was secure, and it broke. Does anyone have easy ways to check the soundness of them, so we don't have one fail when it is needed?
 

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Well, you should never have to stress test anything to make sure it is safe, thats the job of the manufacture. What you can do is VISUALLY inspect the items regularly. Odds are if it does not look right, you need to get rid of it. I am going to assume you have home made safety cables, time to buy a whole new stock of safetys and change them out. Do a search for safety cables, there is a good thread going on about them right now.
 

gafftaper

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Yeah I would have to agree that the safe thing to do would be to throw them all away and start over. If one's that bad the rest are very unlikely to be safe either. Unfortunately there really is no way to test them. I suppose you could set up some sort of rig to do it, but there's no way to say with enough certainty to bet someone's life on it that they are safe. They don't cost much, and they are critical to your theater's safety. Figure out how many you need, multiply by $2. Take the dead cable and price to your supervisor, or principle and say this isn't safe and I need $X to make the auditorium safe for everyone.

Black Safety Cables $2.25, silver $ 1.71 at Production Advantage Here.
 

soundlight

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Figure out how many you need, multiply by $2. Take the dead cable and price to your supervisor, or principle and say this isn't safe and I need $X to make the auditorium safe for everyone.

Black Safety Cables $2.25, silver $ 1.71 at Production Advantage Here.
This usually does the trick. Show them that there is a signifigant risk, and you'll get some money. Shouldn't be that much - say $100 (oh wait, that's alot for some schools...). Good luck on this one.
 

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This usually does the trick. Show them that there is a signifigant risk, and you'll get some money. Shouldn't be that much - say $100 (oh wait, that's alot for some schools...). Good luck on this one.
meh, just tell them you don't need text books for the next year, that'll save them money.
 

ship

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Any safety cable crimp should comply with the go/no-go gauge of a crimp tool that's also for like $10.00 sold seperately. If for 1/8" wire rope, it fails fitting into the hole or even is really loose in its slot, it is not compliant. If it has two crimps to it, it is not compliant. If aluminum, not compliant.

If the wire rope is too tight around the snap hook where it doesn't free float or there is a 1/2" R. circle to the wire rope, not compliant. If there is a fold in the wire rope that keeps a tight kink or bend, not compliant. This especially if the round wire rope has become deformed in shape.

Next inspect the snap hook. While they might at times need a bit of lubricant, they should snap into place without help and snap into place properly each time tested. Anything that hangs up or even goes off on an angle, any teeth broken off, not compliant.

Anything other than 1/8" wire rope for a fixture (exceptions for smaller stuff like barn doors), not standard or to be used.

Finally just plain condition. Look at it, if strands are hanging out of the crimp, if strands are broken, if corrosion etc. in just using your best judgement, it is trash. Budget is not a factor.
 

gafftaper

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This usually does the trick. Show them that there is a signifigant risk, and you'll get some money. Shouldn't be that much - say $100 (oh wait, that's alot for some schools...). Good luck on this one.
Like I said, you get the dollar amount, you take the bad one in and you say, these could fail and someone could die if they are not replaced. They only cost $2 each. Find the money to make the theater safe. It shouldn't be too hard to do. If you have a hard time convincing them it isn't safe, ask them if they would like to hear from an "expert". Call your local college or community theater and ask them if they would mind testifying for you.
 

Techiegirly

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This is kind of off subject but I'd like to suggest after hanging each electric you should walk from one side to the next and physically touch each cable to make sure it's attached. I've made this a habit and EVERY SINGLE TIME someone (sometimes, me) has left at least 1 cable off. I never send an electric up until I've done this.

I notice a lot of people forget to do this. Like when you go to strike and you come along that one fixture that never got cabled.

thelightingmancan...I'm from Leesburg, Virginia! I went to Loudoun County.
 
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icewolf08

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This is kind of off subject but I'd like to suggest after hanging each electric you should walk from one side to the next and physically touch each cable to make sure it's attached. I've made this a habit and EVERY SINGLE TIME someone (sometimes, me) has left at least 1 cable off. I never send an electric up until I've done this.
I notice a lot of people forget to do this. Like when you go to strike and you come along that one fixture that never got cabled.
thelightingmancan...I'm from Leesburg, Virginia! I went to Loudoun County.
I always have two people walk the electrics to check safeties and fixtures (make sure camps are tight, shutters are open, etc.). As Techiegirly said, more often than not you come across fixtures that need attention.
 

Techiegirly

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More often than not I see people who don't double check. It's SCARY :evil: Bravo for making people double check. After all it's our lives we're saving too ;)
 

Jezza

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Poughkeepsie, NY
The other day when focusing at one of my local houses for a dance show, I called down from the lift to have some safeties put on the haul line and was effectively "shushed" by a senior member of the crew there whom I had come to respect and like. I guess his idea was that they are unimportant and it was not worth taking the time to safety the lights that never got safetied. I found this, well, insulting and a rather egregious violation of the safety principals that are so instilled in us as theater technicians.

What can I do in such a situation when an older member of the crew decides to forego safety because THEY think it will be fine. Take it up with the TD? How does one avoid confrontation? As the younger, up-and-coming generation of entertainment designers and technicians, we are easily taught and more than happy to conform to the newer safety standards to help make the stage a safer place for everyone. How do we combat the "old dogs" who forego safety? I mean, you can't teach an old dog new tricks, I get that, but what is one to do?

This is just one example. I see this type of thing happen ALL the time.
 

icewolf08

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What can I do in such a situation when an older member of the crew decides to forego safety because THEY think it will be fine. Take it up with the TD? How does one avoid confrontation? As the younger, up-and-coming generation of entertainment designers and technicians, we are easily taught and more than happy to conform to the newer safety standards to help make the stage a safer place for everyone. How do we combat the "old dogs" who forego safety? I mean, you can't teach an old dog new tricks, I get that, but what is one to do?
This is just one example. I see this type of thing happen ALL the time.
If it is a question of safety you should always take the issue up with the superior of whoever told you to forego safety. The person who thought leaving out safety will thank you when your efforts save them, even if they dislike you until that point. Besides, putting a safety cable on a light only adds 10 seconds to hanging the fixture.
 

icewolf08

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Er... after all the safety speeches in the last posts ... maybe I shouldn't mention what happened today:
So I was up in the canopy, but *removed* clipped in, with another student who was *removed* trained to be up in the catwalks. Anyways, it's possible that I dropped my first item from the canopy... :( We were striking a 6x12 that had a top hot on it. I'm not sure if it's the lack of sleep, or me rushing to get done, but I either forgot there was a top-hot there, or that 360Qs don't have any sort of clip on the color frame holder. Needless to say the top-hot made its way to ground level at about 9.8m/s^2. I felt like an idiot. And there were people around (did I mention that my theatre is also a hallway? :rolleyes:). Luckily all these people were on the balcony level (but one is a jerk, so he coulda been in the aisle; and minutes before, he was stretching my c-wrench lanyard several feet!). The top hot got bent out of shape a little bit, there was no damage to the bench it hit, everything was fine, but I managed to blurt out a very loud expletive during the top-hat's descent.
Anyways, I proceeded to straighten out the catwalks, as they were a total mess. I was moving one cable run to the side, when it snapped and crackled something crazy. I turned off the power. Let it sit for a few minutes, and it was still hot to the touch. I uncircuited the twofer in question, and took a look at the pins. I think I found my problem. The ground and neutral pins were pushed into the connector a considerable amount, leaving the hot as the longest pin, the only one making solid contact. That spooked me. I'm not sure specifically what type of metal the catwalks are made out of, but I'm worried it conducts electricity!
So, essentially that was my day.
And you, I bet you weren't supervised :twisted: (I hope you don't mind that we give you a hard time).

everyone drops something eventually. I almost had a 6x9 lens dropped on me this season. I have dropped things. What you should take away from this is that top hats should have safeties on them.
 

Charc

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And you, I bet you weren't supervised :twisted: (I hope you don't mind that we give you a hard time).
everyone drops something eventually. I almost had a 6x9 lens dropped on me this season. I have dropped things. What you should take away from this is that top hats should have safeties on them.
Our top hats have no where one could attach a safety. At least not that I can remember.
 

icewolf08

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Charc

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The quick and dirty solution is to punch a hole in the "color frame" of the top hat and push a safety through.
We don't have enough safeties. :twisted: (I like playing devil's advocate.)

Oh, so remember that screen that got rigged up in my theater? Yea, well when it was being flown in, one of the two load-bearing lines slipped completely out of it's (can't remember the name) three grippy things. :shock:

Anyways, that's a different story. But we had some of the same material left, from hanging that screen, and my TD came up to the catwalks today to take a look at my cleaning job (we are taking the whole class up for fall arrest training Thursday), and noticed the extra material, and commented that we could make extra safeties out of it. (I'm pretty sure that's aluminum, and if I read ship's recent post right, hat's not up to spec.) Not to mention, what are safeties, 1/8"? I'm pretty sure this was 1/16". Oh, and we don't have one of those nicopress deals going on. Yep. I'm gonna be competing with the guys in china for crappy safeties. :rolleyes:
 

gafftapegreenia

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Now, I will be corrected if I'm wrong, but I think that 1/16" could be used to make top-hat safeties.
 

Techiegirly

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Nov 29, 2007
"We don't have enough safeties. (I like playing devil's advocate.)"

You could always buy more. It's worth it if the outcome is saving someone's life or saving someone from serious injury. We trust each other with our lives every time we walk into a theatre. I'm only as safe as the people around me.
 

Techiegirly

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"We don't have enough safeties. (I like playing devil's advocate.)"
You could always buy more. It's worth it if the outcome is saving someone's life or saving someone from serious injury. We trust each other with our lives every time we walk into a theatre. I'm only as safe as the people around me.
 

gafftaper

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Seems Like I just posted this... Silver safety cables from Production Advantage $1.71 each.

As always Charc your T.D. should be fired for not supervising you, allowing you to work alone at heights, putting you in dangerous situations, being generally a fool... I could come up with so many ways to fire this person. There are so many state laws being broken here it's not even funny.

Be careful my friend, we want you around long enough to be able to look back and figure out just how dangerous the place was.