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OHSA Steel toe requirements?

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by hillbillyfunk, Jul 14, 2008.

  1. hillbillyfunk

    hillbillyfunk Member

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    What are the rules regarding steel toes boots in theater tech? We have several on our local house crew that do wear steel everyday but the theater will not require them since they don't want to provide them.

    I'd really like to know. The closest thing I can find to theatrical work is dock workers requirements.
     
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    As you have found, OSHA has many more priorities than stage technicians. The "rules" can and do vary by venue. Personally, I think steel-toed boots are a good idea, but I don't own a pair and they are not required, but are suggested, for work in my primary venue.

    As to a theatre not requiring them because they don't want to pay for them; that, also, is a gray area. The "dress code" at every hotel/casino is that all employees must wear proper "foundation garments," yet no one expects the hotel to pay for underwear. Every stagehand is required to bring to every call an adjustable wrench and a pair of gloves, but no hotel is going to pay for those, either. Your venue requires black clothing for show crew, and doesn't pay for that, do they?

    On the other hand, OSHA clearly indicates that the employer must supply and maintain most, if not all, PPE. Whether steel-toed shoes/boots count as PPE is up for debate.

    When the touring lighting crew comes off the bus wearing tennis shoes, sandals, or flip-flops, (Ever see a Vari*Lite tech wear long pants?--I haven't.) as a member of the local crew, one may feel foolish wearing steel-toed boots, but at some point one must take responsibility for one's personal safety.

    Note: This point of view MAY NOT be used as an argument against the use of proper fall protection. Wear a harness or don't climb to height, period!
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2008
  3. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Why no steel toe? Why they protected me as recently as Saturday when a 40lb weight for a fly system clipped my big toe.
     
  4. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    Because if you worked in venues like mine (Ice rinks) almost every steel toed boot would be a bad idea (low traction on ice). I think the range in venues: ice, stage, temporary stage, concerts, high school gyms, rodeo arenas etc.... will prevent OSHA from making most apparel requirements like that.

    Also there's a comfort issue I have had my steels for 2 years and I work in them pouring concrete. They are VERY well broken in and still if I have a full 8 hour day where I'm off the ground most the time (read standing on ladder like things) my feet will not feel good at the end of the day. Now considering some of the ridiculous calls that stage hands do (aka my 20 hour load in a few weeks ago) and the fact that a lot of our work does happen on ladders or on other things that don't have a big flat surface to stand on (aka truss) you'd be hating life even more than usual after a long call.

    I know a lot of this was for my exact situation but I recently went over the idea of bringing my steels on tour with me for rigging day given the fact that everything is heavy and has the potential to fall. And the previous reasons mixed with a lack of space made me decide they're staying home.
     
  5. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    No good answer. I asked myself the same question when one of Madonna's hydraulic lifts ran over my foot on a load-in/pre-rig day. I did not seek medical attention as I wanted to run spot for the show. Six months later the nail finally fell off.

    I'll do some searching and look into getting a pair. However, must be black, and not entirely leather, as my feet get hot standing on 165°F asphalt on 110°F days.

    What was a 40lb. counterweight doing uncontrolled above your big toe? This had better not have been on a loading gallery!
     
  6. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    I think this is the model I have. Here is a general overview of this particular company's offerings.

    The weight clipping my foot was a combination of me being stupid, and me being stupid. I had a 16 hr work call Saturday, and loaded in a site for experimental theatre, which involved carrying a heckofalot of heavy stuff a long distance up stairs, and through a small window. It was hot, and I got sloppy while trying to rush: "That won't hit me"...:mrgreen: However, no damage done.
     
  7. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    Well charc at least you got the good stuff right off the bat. I know of several career construction workers that won't even think of something other than Red Wings. They are the superior brand IMHO.
     

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