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Runaway lineset

Discussion in 'Safety' started by hillbillyfunk, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. hillbillyfunk

    hillbillyfunk Member

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    Luckiest accident ever.
    Just worked the last show of our season, the show was added late so our call steward, master carpenter, and sound crew leaders were all on vacation or doing other contracts, (we haven't had a TD since the last one died in January and he sucked anyway). Since I've been around a while I was acting lead carpenter and given a crew of newbies and temps (substitute crack heads for temps)

    The lead carpenter on the road crew was either really green or really mean, either way he wasn't making any calls, instead he was pointing and grunting and going out of his way to be a serious dick (some road crew called him on it).

    Line set 15 is our 2nd electric, the road crew brought pre-hung trusses for electric so we hung a 18' tall traveling flat on the second weighing in at 575lbs. On load out we have 8 people on bow lines and 4 on disassembly, when the traveler comes off the road carpenter points and grunts at line set 16 and pulls the bowlines of 15.

    The flyman never made the call to unload 15 while we had people on it at deck level and when the call is made to unload it at the weight bridge, the loaders pull one 25 lb brick off and cannot reach anymore, they call and ask to get the arbor higher. The flyman has a bad habit of moving **** before called, not stopping on “HOLD” and popping off when one calls him on a safety issue, this genius grabs both ropes and unlocks the opera lock.

    I am standing 6' to his right placing a stage weight under line set 21 when I hear “RUNAWAY” from the weight bridge. I took one step back from the fly rail and looked left in time to see my flyman launch in the air hanging on to both ropes, he soars up to the pin rail, smacks his face on the air conditioning duct under the pin and thats when the arbor hits him coming down.

    I watched his body wrap around the underside of the arbor and knew he was about to take a “gut splat” in the fly rail, I ran/dove upstage into the hall way and after not hearing screams and more crashing Hollered “Clear the stage” and had to go outside to puke. I found our 1st responder team outside loading merch and sent them in with instructions to clear the deck and administer 1st aid (I don't do well with blood).

    That lucky mother****er lived, walked out of the hospital the next day. Because it was an electric the cable pick on stage left sits 15' higher than the pipe, when the arbor came thought the stop on stage right the cable pick went through the well and into the stage left headblock, the 3/8” cable stretched and snapped but decelerated the arbor long enough for the flyman to swing his legs under him, he basically rode the arbor down and landed in the line set 14 slot.

    A busted face, 2nd degree burns on his hands, bruises and shaken up. Possibly the safest flyman in the industry if he ever comes back to work.
    Lineset 9 through 19 have been condemmed, the theater is dark for 11 days before the summer education programs start, lots of work for me.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 8, 2010
  2. punktech

    punktech Active Member

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    dear god! that story sent chills down my spine. that man is seriously lucky that he's okay. runaways, in my opinion, are the scariest kind of theatre accidents.
     
  3. hillbillyfunk

    hillbillyfunk Member

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    Post Script

    20/20 hindsight reveals that I should have locked the house down until the riggers could get up and do a safety inspection and called "all clear". I also should have overseen clearing the deck.

    Having never dealt with this situation, and my body failing me, I erred by being the first out of the building and not taking proper safety precautions to ensure the rest of the crew was safe.
     
  4. tech2000

    tech2000 Active Member

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    That's amazing he didn't get hurt more than he did. The closest I've ever come to runaway linesets is trying to control linesets that are 150lbs on the arbor and no weight on the batten. But I had several people helping me so it wasn't a big deal. Amazing story!
     
  5. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    After we had a runaway my frosh year(I wasn't actually there) I was TERRIFIED of the flies and wouldn't touch them without at least 2 other people holding the line with me for months. Now I am just careful...
     
  6. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    Yet one more reason that we need to only have qualified personnel working in theaters. Theater can be an extremely dangerous place! I am glad no one was seriously injured.

    On the other hand, that entire system needs to be locked down until certified personnel can inspect it!!!
     
  7. hillbillyfunk

    hillbillyfunk Member

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    I couldn't agree more! in hindsight I wrote what will be included into our next training session and posted it here http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/carpentry/8174-event-run-away.html

    After we were able to get in and do a full damage inspection we condemned four line sets and saw where the road crew had damaged another line set with their flying rig and failed to mention it to us.

    so much for the new stage deck, I think I know where that fund is going.
     
  8. Sean

    Sean Active Member

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    So, what was the damage to those 4 (or 5) linesets? Did you have any damage to the gridiron? Did any bricks bounce out of their arbors?

    Other than the one you told us about, did you have any other aircraft cable failures?


    After reading your "what to do" list, I have one comment. If ANYONE is going to be working in/inspecting the space, chaining exit doors would not be appropriate. Though I understand your intent, I don't believe that OSHA would approve. ;)

    --Sean
     
  9. hillbillyfunk

    hillbillyfunk Member

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    There is a total of 5 condemned lines, the runaway line and two on either side of it. The damage to the linesets is primarily on the low bumper rail, it smashed down to about 2" above the deck. As it bent it pulled the arbor guides of the lines to the left and right out of alignment. No damage to the gridiron and no bouncing bricks. The arbor was open as loading was underway but since the aircraft cable snagged it slowed the arbor enough to save the op's life and not impact all the way into the 'crete under the fly rail.


     
  10. Techiegirly

    Techiegirly Member

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    Please tell me you fired this idiot. Safety is ALWAYS first.
     
  11. hillbillyfunk

    hillbillyfunk Member

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    Due to the lucky outcome he is not "fired". He is a part time overhire and we don't have many big shows until October. I think he is still on the call roster but if he wants to work he will be loading trucks until he has been re certified.
     
  12. Spikesgirl

    Spikesgirl Active Member

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    This guy, while he may have learned his lesson, would not be on my roster. There's too many others who have a 'safety first' attitude that I would hire. Sometimes folks like this think that they evaded death once, so they must be immortal. When a friend of mine was working a stage in Great America many years ago, an employee went up in a cherry picker without checking any of the safety precautions. It ended badly, but he lived. A month later, he decided to load without a safety harness - that didn't end as well. He didn't get a third chance. Some people just don't learn!

    Charlie
     
  13. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    On the other hand, having walked away from what should have been a fatal accident with relatively minor injuries, could make him a far more safety conscious tech. 8 years ago I fell off a lighting truss because I was not following proper safety procedures. The full story is posted in Your worst theatre injury. Now I am among the most aware of safety issues at my venue. Hopefully this will be the case with this tech as well.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2008
  14. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    I second that. If for any reason a linset's out of weight (which it shouldn't be) PLEASE take proper percautions. If you don't know how to do that get a qualified rigger. I've personally seen rope locks fail-- they will only hold so much imbalance.
     
  15. Drewdesign

    Drewdesign Member

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    I've flown 20ft in the air because of unbalanced linesets. They can really hurt somebody if your not careful.
     
  16. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    remember, rope locks are only rated for 50 lbs.
     
  17. egghead1964

    egghead1964 Member

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    Great Story.
    Did you get all of your line sets repaired?
    How's the safety now?
    the Gepper
     
  18. skienblack

    skienblack Active Member

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    What qualifies someone as a "qualified rigger"? I know how to safely handle loading and unloading linesets. I could rig a set piece to fly based on what I have learned is safe from my high school TD and now my college TD but I would not call myself qualified.
     

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