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rigging inspection and documentation.

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by mixmaster, Dec 16, 2008.

  1. mixmaster

    mixmaster Active Member

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    I may open up a small can of worms on this, but here goes.
    A couple weeks ago we had the rigging in our auditoriums inspected for the first time in many, many years. Actually, there is no documentation to suggest that it was ever inspected. Before anyone tells me this is something that should be done annually, I know. This is something that my boss and I have been pushing for since we were hired and we just shook loose the funds. It is what it is and I can't change the past.

    One of the (many) things that our inspector commented on was the lack of documentation. He also commented that there are several regular maintenance issues we could be doing by ourselves. He suggested we make some sort of form or checklist of things so that we could do our own regular inspections and maintenance. I'm not talking about major repairs, I don't know enough get into major rigging work. But we can handle regular lubrication, tightening bolts etc.

    What I'm wondering, How do other people handle things like regular maintenance, self inspections, and documentation. Does anyone have a regular form or checklist that you would be willing to share. Does anyone have any recommendations for resources that I could look into. I've read Jay O Glerum's book cover to cover twice, and am working on a couple seminars through SECOA, but am always hungry for more.

    How much of the regular maintenance do you guys perform on your own? or does everybody contract it all out? While I'm all for letting the professionals do their thing, budgets are also a reality and I can't imagine people regularly pay to have someone come in every time a nut needs tightened. For those who do some of their own work, where do you draw the line?
    Any thoughts are much appreciated.
    Matt
     
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    You're right, this is opening a can of worms we'd rather keep closed here on CB, (solely for liability reasons--not because we don't want to share information).

    One would think the answers to your questions would be best posed to your inspector.

    If you haven't been to JR Clancy's site, there is some excellent information on this page: J.R. Clancy Operation & Safety - Articles.
     
  3. What Rigger?

    What Rigger? I'm so fly....I Neverland.

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    Oh christ on the cross, yes! JR Clancy, hallelujah! So much GREAT stuff. For free (much of it). AND they respond to emails quickly. They want to help, so by all means get in contact!:grin:
     
  4. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    There are many simple things you can and should be doing yearly to inspect your fly system. The good news is we aren't talking about a lot of math and complicated training like the rest of rigging. It's more like a first aid course where you learn the warning signs to look for and every topic ends with "and wait for the skilled professional to arrive." So the training shouldn't take too long or be too expensive. Ideally, you should hire your rigging inspector to train you how to do it. That would be the easiest. Three other options come to mind:

    1) Another option would be to try to find someone who teaches rigging at a nearby University. I know a guy like this who in his spare time does inspections and trainings. If you can find someone like that at your local university you could possibly save a few bucks and you are dealing with someone who is used to teaching rigging.

    2) Another really great option would be to use the handy ETCP search tool to find a nearby certified rigger and hire that person to train you.

    3) Call your local/regional theater dealer who does major installations. They most likely have a rigger who does trainings on new facility installations just like the one you need.

    Be sure to be clear with any of these people that you aren't looking for a full rigging class... although you should get one of those too. You just want someone to train you in how to do a basic annual inspection.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2008
  5. mixmaster

    mixmaster Active Member

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    Gafftaper,
    We're looking into working with SECOA on this aspect. They were the original installers for both venues, and the inspector was from them too.
    I guess what I'm looking for is how people handle the documentation, and any other procedures people use. Our inspector seemed surprised that we had no procedures in place. I guess I am too, but that's what started this whole project. I know we've been way out of compliance for way to long (longer than I've been here) and I'm trying to bring things up to speed. But I'm a sound guy and we don't do as much with documentation.
    Thanks
    Matt
     
  6. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Here is my two cents.... first before you "approve" any of this, you must run it by the guys at Secoa. I think what you need is essentially an inspection checklist. Go through your space, and look for anything that could come loose or wear. This is your entire system in case your wondering. You should go through this checklist however so often your installer says. I know people that do this monthly, I know people that do this weekly. When I have a show in I do it every show if possible. After you fill out this sheet, make sure that it is filed. This will allow you to track problems and fix them more often. When my family use to fly, we did a checklist like this.... should be a good guide

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...CV6ub8Y1JO3d26s3Q&sig2=ALPsMmMKgfoo8CvpS2wgAA
     
  7. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    You should keep and use a log book. Many problems can be spotted by keeping a good log. Every time a line set is used there should be a record of who ran it, what it was used for, and how much weight was added or subtracted.

    Below is a simple example of a log book. Create something like it that makes sense for your space and ask a rigging professional to help you customize it to your space. Some of the best safety information you are going to get will be generated by tracking use and comments from the operators over time.

    View attachment Fly Log.doc

    For others reading this thread who have no log sheet. At least make something like the one above and start using it every time a line set is used. If you can get an inspection and have the inspector give you advice on additional information for you to track in your space. This way you start tracking from a clean slate. If you can't do that right now, this is a first step in the right direction. The key is starting to gather data. Again, just like a first aid course, if you notice anything weird, shut down that line set, do nothing to cause further harm, call your local rigging expert, and don't use the line set until a properly trained expert arrives to inspect it and tell you it's safe to use.

    Again to everyone: You are having your fly system professionally inspected every 3-5 years right? (3 for a very busy theater. 5 for typical school use. Unless your professional inspector tells you otherwise).
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2008
  8. WesternTD

    WesternTD Member

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    Gafftaper is right, Documentation is SO important. If anything were ever to go horribly wrong, proper documentation can also be used to mitigate liability. I do all of my own rigging inspections and maintenance, and I have found it really useful to get my crew into the habit of writing down everything so that we can inspect and repair on a constant basis in addition to our two annual inspections. I think 3-5 years between inspection is way too long (unless perhaps you do 1 short run show a year). I have simple laminated sheets and sharpie markers hung at every fly operating location, chain hoist control (one for the hoists, one for each truss), with every fall arrest system and with every harness and lanyard. That way anyone that notices anything unusual can easily write it down for further inspection.
     
  9. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    I'd call it good if my school would at least establish WHO we're supposed to tell when there is a problem, be it rigging, electric, whatever. I have (n the past) told our auditorium manager who politly asked me what he'd like me to do about it, told the drama teacher who said it is suppse to be inspected twice a year so I'd just have to wait until they have the inspection (in 3 months). In fact, I think if I were to walk up to one of the (performing arts teachers) and tell them that a rope was frayed and in imminent danger of failing they wouldn't care unless they were having a show soon!
     
  10. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I don't claim to be a rigging expert. I claim to be a well educated rigging and fly user. This is what I was taught about how often an educational theater facility's rigging should be inspected (pro theaters have heavier use and should be inspected accordingly):

    At least once a year a trained ADULT should give the fly system an inspection. This means the teacher, facility manager, T.D. etc. From an educational standpoint it would be great if the student crew was involved, but the trained adult should be the one actually doing the inspecting. About every 3-5 years a professional (Seccoa, Sapsis, Glerum, etc...) should come give the theater a full inspection. Three years for schools with busy schedules, five years for schools that are only used a few times a year.

    These are rough guidelines and they are also MAXIMUMS. How often should YOUR theater be inspected? Call your professional inspector and ask.

    You don't have a professional inspector or You don't know when your rigging was last inspected? Then you are already long overdue to get the system inspected. When it is inspected, ask the pro how long you should wait before setting up the next inspection. Also ask them to train you in how to do a basic inspection for use between full inspections.

    This kind of attitude is exactly how terrible accidents happen. Sadly it is far too common in high schools and some colleges. In most cases it is the result of a lack of education. The same people who don't care about rigging would never leave a saw out where someone might accidentally get hurt, they just don't know the dangers of rigging. Someone MUST be responsible for fly systems. Try to be involved the next time you have an inspection. Explain the attitude to the inspector and ask the inspector to sit some people down and talk some sense into them about the dangers of rigging systems. Perhaps a visit to the risk management office is in order. If they continue with this sort of attitude someone is going to get seriously injured.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2008
  11. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    Trust me, our pro guys have TRIED to explain rigging stuff to the teachers, but they don't listen. Pretty much the teachers say that it isn't good but there isn't much they can do or just ignore them. Usually if there is stuff that they can fix they end up doing it, like one of them (the pros-- most of the teachers wouldn't know how to get to the loading dock) ended up spending abou 4 hours reweighting and adjusting rope locks a few months ago because he was afraid soeone would get hurt.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2008
  12. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I can't remember if you are at a high school or college but either way there is either the option of trying to scare someone in administration or in the risk management department. In a high school you need to contact the district risk management department. In a college/university you will have your own risk management staff.

    Dr. Doom's book is always an excellent way to get people's attention about how dangerous theater can be. Unfortunately, it's a little pricey but it makes a lovey Christmas gift for your risk management department.
     
  13. mixmaster

    mixmaster Active Member

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    Gafftaper,
    That's exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for the link. I think we got budget clearance for some of the training that we want. We're so far behind the ball here though..... I suppose we have got to start somewhere.
     
  14. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Sorry to take so long to get back to this mixmaster. Please be sure to run my suggested fly log by your local rigging expert. There may be some crucial things you should be looking or listening for that are specific to your system.
     

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