# Harnesses/ safety lines

#### ccfan213

##### Active Member
my school does not think it is safe for students to go up in the catwalk because there is a wooden catwalk without rails of any sort and if you step off the path you go plunging through the ceiling down into the auditorim. from what i have heard in the past they were not very concerned about it, but over the summer in the summer theater someone put his foot through the cieling, so im not allowed in the catwalk. anyay, mentioned to the assistant principal one day that it might be a good idea to put some sort of harness or safety line up there so that if someone falls they dont die. i was wondering if anyone else has this situation and what they have done to solve it. i know how to belay (sp) and so does my light guy so that is taken care of if that were to be part of the safety system, i think the best solution is probably a line running across the catwalk that people can just hook onto, but if anyone has any suggestions, they would be greatly appreciated!

#### propmonkey

##### Well-Known Member
we have the same problem with adjustiong our trees. students arent aloud to climb the ladder to them our director doesnt like to do it. let me know where i could get a high quailty low priced(not cheap) safety harness?

#### ccfan213

##### Active Member
a harness is relatively easy to find, i dont know about prices, but you can get one at EMS or another camping/climbing store, my concern is more what to do with it as far as having a line to attach to that is set up in a way that will still let me move freely without getting too complex.

#### __WWW__

##### Member
ccfan213 said:
a harness is relatively easy to find, i dont know about prices, but you can get one at EMS or another camping/climbing store, my concern is more what to do with it as far as having a line to attach to that is set up in a way that will still let me move freely without getting too complex.
thats where i got mine, but i havent used it in the theater yet, just for climbing at the gym. we have a new school so new autidorium. but hey those catwalks in the phantom of the opera movie looked sweet.

#### __WWW__

##### Member
i dont think you need a body harness. the normal harnesses start at about 25 dollars and those work fine..

#### ship

##### Senior Team Emeritus
I would think that a horizontal life line system would be in order with your school. Same type of rig used for stage hands when walking upon a truss set up.
On the lighting tree, different fall protection will be in order such as a vertical fall arrester.

Fall Protection is not repelling gear. Places like Eastern Mountain Sports, Galleons, REI sell rock climbing repelling gear, not fall protection. There is major differences between what if you fall while using will break your back, and what when using fall protection proper will save your life.

There are also many components of these systems, and they are for use only with proper instruction as to their use, proper care and inspection, than with a rescue system in place for rescuing a person once they fall.

In order to have anything like this installed at your school, you would need a rigging company such as Sapsis Rigging amongst a few, to come out, assess what’s needed, train the users of the system and the instructors for rescue.

Once a piece of fall protection shows wear or is used, you buy a new one - this is to save one’s life not designed to be economical. On for instance the vertical fall arrester, it needs to go in for a yearly inspection for re-certification.

I seriously doubt that you can use a belay system in your situation.

Again, first a repelling harness is unless a rescue harness with the appropriate certifications not something to wear. Second, even if you own your own fall protection, leave it in the car. Most insurance companies will only ensure for gear owned by the insured company. Personal gear is far too chancy. Repelling gear has it’s uses and applications but it is not fall protection. Something is also not better than nothing in cases like this.

#### jwl868

##### Active Member
For work in the theater (and work just about any place else in the USA) standards are ultimately set by OSHA, and harnesses, safety lines and any other fall protection and fall arresting systems must meet those standards.

One would presume that recreational climbing gear is of sufficient strength/design to save one's life in an accident while climbing, and that the standards for recreational climbing gear (if there are any) are adequate. (Maybe there is an organization that sets such standards, just as softball helmets must meet a standard by National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment.)

But the point is moot – the theater is a work place, not a rock wall; safety issues have to follow OSHA regulations.

Joe

#### lxdeptnz

##### Member
I suggest you check out http://www.sapsis-rigging.com/UB.ArticleIndex.html. You need a full body harness (you don't want to tip out of it), some form of shock absorber (would you rather a shock absorber took the fall, or your back?). some form of attaching yourself beside where you are working, and (in my opinion the most important) a rescue plan in case someone falls. This may mean doubles of the harnesses, or a genie or scaff tower, and people trained in rescue, as well as climbing. However, I suggest you call a professional, who is experienced in stage and entertainment industry rigging and fall protection. A recreational climbing store is probably not the best place for this.

My \$0.02
David

#### RonaldBeal

##### Well-Known Member
Re

the short answer: The "catwalk" you describe will not meet standards for a "real" catwalk, and thus DOES require fall protection. (catwalks must have toe kicks, hand rails at certain heights and strengths, etc...)
OSHA has very strict rules about what type of fall protection can be used, where, equipment, training, etc...ANSI type III full body harness, load limiters, lifelines, etc...
Your only safe,legal, and liability options are to have the school hire a professional rigging company to provide the equipment and training.
Hope this helps, good luck, and stay safe.