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Open Traps

FMEng

Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Mar 31, 2008
Location
Tacoma, WA
The news item of the student falling through an open trap strikes a chord with me as I had a similar, close call. I was working at a broadcast transmitter site that has a bunch of equipment on a steel mezzanine with grating for the floor. Because the floor is made of grating, it is normal to see light from below.

Earlier in the day, a crew had lifted off a section of floor to hoist some items up. I got there later that evening, so I wasn't aware that part of the floor was missing. Around 3 am, what little brain power I could muster at that hour was preoccupied with solving a problem as I was walking across the mezzanine. I started to step forward into nothing when I suddenly realized the floor was gone. I lurched backwards just in time to avoid falling about 10 feet onto concrete. It was the closest I ever came to a serious injury.

I don't know what the current regulations are, but it seems like marking an open trap with something like bollards and chains and orange cones would be required practice. It's way too easy for someone to fall through an open trap.
 

BillConnerFASTC

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2010
Location
Clayton NY 13624
For all occupants, not just employees who are required to be protected from all hazards by the employer, the same language in Life Safety Code that pertains to stage edges and orchestra pits applies to trap openings. I had several other examples of trap falls when I proposed the change to the Life Safety Code.

I believe these falls at stage level - first row, orchestra pit, trap room - are the biggest hazards on stages in terms of numbers and severity of injuries and fatalities.
 

RonaldBeal

Active Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2004
Location
TN
I recall in the early 90s, an LD for a major R&B act was onstage focusing PAR cans with the truss climber when she stepped back into an open trap door for an elevator. The resulting traumatic brain injury left her with epilepsy that would trigger seizures when exposed to flashing lights. Ended her career.
 
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RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
For all occupants, not just employees who are required to be protected from all hazards by the employer, the same language in Life Safety Code that pertains to stage edges and orchestra pits applies to trap openings. I had several other examples of trap falls when I proposed the change to the Life Safety Code.

I believe these falls at stage level - first row, orchestra pit, trap room - are the biggest hazards on stages in terms of numbers and severity of injuries and fatalities.
Now that you mention it, it's not difficult to see why falls at stage level outnumber falls from personnel, scissor and articulated lifts when you compare the number of staff, crew, performers and patrons who walk on stages compared to the comparatively few who are working on lifts, fly floors, loading floors, lighting coves, et al.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

BillConnerFASTC

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2010
Location
Clayton NY 13624
I find very few - none - falls from compliant catwalks, for which planks above the ceiling don't qualify. My favorite story is someone who dropped their keys and climbed off the catwalk to an acoustic tile ceiling below. Oops. Listed as a fall from catwalk.

The other thing about falls from stages - most seem to be occupants not accustomed to being on a stage - the guest receiving an award, a person on a or leading a tour, and do on.
 
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tjrobb

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 14, 2009
Location
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
...

The other thing about falls from stages - most seem to be occupants not accustomed to being on a stage - the guest receiving an award, a person on a or leading a tour, and do on.
The one guest-based show I remember (we have one for our community group, who already know the stage), we found all the tension-belt barriers in the building and made a 50'-wide fence across our pit edge. We might have shot the sightlines, but it's a small price for safety.

We also have semi-permanent black and yellow tape on the stair nosings going to the stage from the house, and on the stairs backstage. Again, safety trumps all else.
 
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