Contract Terms over Safety Issues

LXguy123

Member
The company I work for does lighting, sound and small concert roofs. One of the biggest issues I see when issues come up on site (be it weather, equipment issues, whatever) is power stuggles. Obviously within my company there is one person in charge on site. But within the event you have the producer, client, artists, ect who generally don't want to listen if they don't like what the company tech says. We're working on adding terms to the contract stipulating that on any safety issues relating to our rig what our guy (be it whoever we have there) says goes. Not that our crew would listen to the clients if we felt what they wanted was unsafe, but the time spent in arguments could obviously be time we don't have. Essentially I'm afraid of the mess that appears to have happened at Indiana where the roof collapsed while everyone was arguing/debating/discussing whether to evacuate. In my opinion it should ALWAYS be what the company rep/roof guy says goes as they know the rig far better than an event producer or artist. Not to say that the producers/artists/ect couldn't decide to evacuate or whatever before the company rep says they need to, but that they couldn't refuse to when the company rep says it's necessary.

Oh course if clients would realize we want the show to look good and go as planned just as much as they do! We're not refusing to do something to make more money, or taking down your backdrop because we want to, or stopping a show so we can go get dinner! Some of the hardest decisions I've had to make are cutting show elements and/or making changes because of venue/weather issues. No show is worth risking live for though!

As far as in the planning stages it's always been that (on safety matters) it's our way or no way so thats no issue. While generally we don't want to lose a show in cases where the client is insisting we will explain that XXX is unsafe and we will not do it and would strongly not recommend it even if they can find someone who will (generally in writing).

What do you guys do to ensure that clients/producers/artists don't interfere on safety matters? I'd be interested in seeing anything you guys include in contracts on the matter? If you've had any sort of power struggles/issues on site how have you addressed it as expediently as possible?
 

Morte615

Active Member
One thing that I hope you are already considering is to consult a lawyer. Contract terms should always be looked over by a lawyer, and if you explain what you are looking for they can translate into legalize and get something written up.
 

mstaylor

Well-Known Member
Departed Member
To me the roof tech has a ton to say about what happens in the case of weather. I agree that the producer, act rep and fair reps or equal should all be involved. The stage tech decides what the options are and present them, let the others discuss it, and be the insistant one if they try to blow him off. I don't believe any one entity should have 100% veto power.
 

icewolf08

CBMod
CB Mods
To me the roof tech has a ton to say about what happens in the case of weather. I agree that the producer, act rep and fair reps or equal should all be involved. The stage tech decides what the options are and present them, let the others discuss it, and be the insistant one if they try to blow him off. I don't believe any one entity should have 100% veto power.

I disagree, when it comes to patron and crew safety, there has to be one person who makes the call. If you present it to a comittee the decision will inevitably come after the disaster. If the decision is not one of life & death that has to be made right away, then sure, involve whomever you want.
 

len

Well-Known Member
If you're not the guy in charge on site, and the customer (or whoever) wants a change, you should ALWAYS direct them to your boss. Not only are there issues of safety, but also financial, and a whole lot of other issues to which you may not be privy.
 

mstaylor

Well-Known Member
Departed Member
When it comes to dropping backdrops or video, the roof should be insisting. As far as whether to put guys on a truss or other equally dangerous locations, the stage manager or labor provider makes that call. Evacuations or show cancellations go up the chain. In the case of Indiana, there was no way they could have dropped that roof or any of the truss. However they could have kept the followspots on the ground and gotten audience members away from it. There probably was no way to save the roof or equipment but you could have cleared from under it.
 

porkchop

Well-Known Member
To be entirely honest the only time I've seen anything like what you're talking about actually work is when a head rigger decided that something was unsafe and just started undoing it. By the time there was anyone to argue with him the work was already half way finished. If something is that dangerous fix it first and ask questions later. This is also part of why you should have a lawyer look at the contract because things are not usually done in the most politically correct way in this business.
 

mstaylor

Well-Known Member
Departed Member
To be entirely honest the only time I've seen anything like what you're talking about actually work is when a head rigger decided that something was unsafe and just started undoing it. By the time there was anyone to argue with him the work was already half way finished. If something is that dangerous fix it first and ask questions later. This is also part of why you should have a lawyer look at the contract because things are not usually done in the most politically correct way in this business.
I had a situation on a outdoor stage where we had a microburst come through. It was there, then gone. We had a 25ft X 72ft piece of scrim that was tied to the rear scaffold at every level vertical and horizontal. It peeled it off except for the top ties and lifted three guys off their feet, one an almost 300lb gentleman. It also dumped about 15 scanners on the floor. The show yelled to tie it down, I yelled get it on the ground. I beat my hands to the top and started getting it down. I didn't wait for permission, I fixed the problem.
There have been other events where I have refused to send guys on the roof or trusses if I felt it was unsafe to do so. I have had to open scrims and condoms to allow air flow without show approval. However, stopping shows still falls in the area of the promoters,show production, venue staff and stage tech.
 

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