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Fact or myth

Discussion in 'Safety' started by venuetech, Jan 18, 2019.

  1. venuetech

    venuetech Well-Known Member

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    I have long told rumors of safety without ever checking
    So I thought I would ask

    Is the edge of the stage where the most accidents happen?
    Certainly it must be high on the list. My mid 70s HS experience was that two different kids had broken their leg there.

    Do more accidents happen on shorter ladders?
    Certainly there are more short ladders. I was told that the taller ladders earned more respect and care than the shorter ones. And that the short ladder user was often in a hurry so they took careless chances that if they had been on a taller ladder they would not have attempted. I had an uncle who lost a leg due to a 6’ fall onto a concrete pad.
     
  2. lwinters630

    lwinters630 Well-Known Member

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    Trying to keep as factual as possible. Our attorneys said number 1 cause of accidents in a theater occurred from horseplay.
    At a recient Safety training, the instructor stated most ladder injuries occur by people missing the bottom step.
     
  3. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Like how 50 some odd percent of car accidents occur within five miles from home?

    Because you’re the most lax on the roads you know best, but also because a localized radius is the more likely place for one to be driving?

    I’d imagine theatre accidents are the same. Bottom step on the ladder is a good one to watch out for.
     
  4. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    I think within the general population, stage edge, whether it be to first row, orchestra pit, or trap room, is a part of more injuries on stage (or off stage?) than any other single hazard. People are simply not use to fall hazards in other occupancies. And it seems to more often be "non theatre" people that are injured than performers, technicians, etc. Just the number of people receiving awards or recognition, coming on to stage, and falling off, is significant. School administrators seem especially prone to this.

    Ladders may be more hazardous on a per use basis, but relative to how many people walk on stage I think it's insignificant.

    I think warning signs and taking a few seconds to warn people coming onto stage, pointing out the unguarded fall hazard, would do a lot.
     
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  5. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @BillConnerFASTC Posting in full support. When the Hamilton Place Great Hall opened in the fall of 1973 the city had every firefighter in the area toured through our building. I was part of a crew who spent most of the first month showing fire fighters what the theatre looked like with the hydraulic fore stage lifts above stage level, level with the stage, at audience level with seating wagons, at pit level, at trap level and ALL THE WAY DOWN (more than 20') to where the seating wagons comprising the first four rows tracked into their storage areas below the trap room and piano storage.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
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  6. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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  7. venuetech

    venuetech Well-Known Member

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  8. macsound

    macsound Well-Known Member

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    And there's definetly something to be said for people's first time onstage, only with stage lights.
    There are many people who gain far more understanding of a theatre when all the worklights are on. Like grid, catwalk, orchestra pit, everything but front light.
    Its amazing how much perception is lost when 50,000 watts of light are all slamming you in the face.
     
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  9. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    Here are some of the measures you might take to help mitigate the hazard:

    Training
    Choreography
    Rehearsal
    Restricted access to the stage
    Restricted access to unguarded edges
    Warning lights
    Audible warnings
    Tactile edges
    Warning barriers
    Signage
    Temporary barriers
    Personal fall protection
    Fall restraint
    Spotters
     
  10. NateTheRiddler

    NateTheRiddler Active Member

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    I have a variation on a theme. On every show I run, I store an apron toplight-only cue, set to 100%, with a guarantee (I check before show) that none of the light will spill into on-stage performers' eyes. This cue has no fade time and ignores master fades; I have it there in case I ever see a performer become disoriented, particularly during rehearsal. I slap the executor and BAM, worklight equivalent that guarantees they can see the apron edge. Best part is, it's not 100% ugly (only 99% ugly) so if I were in a desperate enough situation to use it during show, it wouldn't look as brash as the worklights do.

    I've only used it once, during a rehearsal, when a performer became dehydrated and dizzy, and started "tipping" a bit during their performance. I don't know if it truly helped but I think the sudden realization of where the apron edge actually was probably helped them get their location bearings.
     
  11. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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  12. venuetech

    venuetech Well-Known Member

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    So are any of those suitable to be run over by a grand piano? Cause the lift is up most of the time and such usage is common.
     
  13. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    Yes, both designed for just that kind of load. Both fit in a 3/4" x 1/2" deep routed groove, both black, both directional - lights point up stage - even if along side of pit. DMX dimmable and color options. I usually do red 12" oc with green at CL.
     
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  14. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @BillConnerFASTC When / if the occasion arose would you consider red on 12" centres as you're doing, amber as a centre mark and green for stairs / ramps where it's safe to go for egress and / or to enter the house?
    'Way back when LED's first became available, the first bi-color LED's lit red when polarized one way and green when polarized the opposite direction. At Stratford Chris Wheeler was taking advantage of our eyes' reaction time and retentivity for two valid reasons: 1; By flashing the LED's rather than leaving them continuously lit Chris was able to greatly extend battery life. 2; By adjusting his pulse rates and durations Chris was able have the LED's appear amber. Observers' eyes were convinced the LED's were lit continuously when they in reality weren't, similar to film screens being dark much of the time without viewers' realizing. One trick greatly extended battery life while the other blended the red and green to produce amber. Operating in rep', many productions had dedicated floors that changed as part of their changeovers. Floors were typically 3/4" plywood with their sections held together with coffin latches and floated slightly with felt padding. LED's were often mounted from the underside at the bottom of 3/16" holes thus they were easily visible to the acting company but totally invisible to patrons, even from balcony seats. Initially battery life was a problem but by the time Chris Wheeler finished finessing his pulse and duration rates a fresh set of batteries would last all the way from first rehearsals, through the entire season, and were still lit when the floors were trashed typically in November.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2019
  15. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    Few stairs and not sure I want to encourage anyone to use them, especially if they are portable as is usually the case, if any at all. And these are permanent and wired, no batteries. I suppose since they are DMX and can be controlled by the console, flashing is possible - just haven't seen it done. At least the Fourth Wall is white only and uses lenses for the color. I would suggest varying spacing might be an effective means to mark different conditions as well - from 1" on center and up.

    In a different context, I wonder what percentage of stages have illuminated edge warning devices of any kind. I see walmart variety rope lights in some schools - where I guess they figured it out on their own. (If the edge is fixed - no pit - just always in one place - the blue LED rope light behind a piece maybe 1/2" 1/4 round - was a pretty effective and inexpensive solution.)

    I had a price of $11,000 for one of my projects recently - all furnished and installed except for routing the groove - by the stage lighting vendor. Obviously DIY outside of general contract would be significantly less.
     
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  16. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @BillConnerFASTC Possibly I wasn't clear, Chris Wheeler wasn't flashing the LED's within the various show decks from the console but via small circuit boards on the undersides of the various floors. He was using a small timer IC and a minimal number of components to vary the polarity, on time and interval time, as I previously posted:
    Similar to when patrons attend a cinema and the persistence of their own eyes maintain the image during the time when the 16, 35 or 70 mm projector's shutter is closed and its pull-down mechanism is advancing the film to its next frame. Chris chose his duration and pulse rates such that no one realized the LED's weren't lit all the time and played games with polarity reversals to meld red and green into amber. Battery life went from short to phenomenal with many batteries lasting from when a dedicated rep' floor was fabricated and painted in March or April until the production's final performance in October or November. The batteries were typically 9 volt Mallory Duracells, the same ones we were purchasing in bulk for wireless mics and ear buds. The in-floor LED's were NEVER switched off, there was no need. The batteries snapped in place and, due to the timer IC, typically lasted an entire season. If an LED was getting too dim, an SM would note it and the battery would be replaced by the set change crew prior to the production's next time up in rep.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
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  17. Ancient Engineer

    Ancient Engineer Well-Known Member

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    We call this "Natural Selection"... JK!
     
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  18. RickR

    RickR Well-Known Member

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    "RBCSA approved" an old friend used to say, meaning the Retroactive Birth Control Society of America.
     
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  19. Wubbles121

    Wubbles121 Member

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    I have personally worked in at least 4 that have them and 1 that would router the groove and install them into any show deck they fabricated. All renovated in the last 10 years, one even has 2 steps permanently built into the stage where a pit line/stage edge might typically be. I suspect they will become more and more common as time goes on. I also saw one place that did a lot of dance work just install CL, halfs and quarters with single LED's of differnt colors.
     
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  20. lightingtek

    lightingtek Member

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    In my current high school theatre as technical director (10th year), we have a 4 foot drop from the front edge of the stage, to the stationary orchestra pit. In that time, there have been 2 injuries due to falling off the edge of the stage that have resulted in broken bones, or dislocated shoulders. One of them was me (dislocated my shoulder and had to have surgery to correct the damage 2 years later). Way back in my intern days, a fellow crew member mistook the sight of the scrim over the lowered pit as occupy-able stage space in her peripheral vision as she was removing screws from the deck and scooting downstage to repeat during strike. This fall resulted in a trip to the ER, and taking a day off during strike/load-in of the next show. Had she landed 6 inches to the left, she would have been impaled by the trumpet stand that had been left behind by the orchestra that loaded out immediately after the show, but left the chairs, stands, and cables to the next mornings crew to deal with.
     
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