Safety Requirements you may not be following

gafftaper

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I've begun the process of educating my school district on the safety standards that are laid out in NFPA 101 Life Safety and the ANSI standard for Crowd Management. I thought I would share what I have learned with you as I have the feeling a lot of us in educational theater world are not addressing the standards.

First off take a look a what the NFPA 101 Life Safety Code says about Crowd Managers. NFPA hopes you will pay for a downloadable copy, but you can read it for free by going here and registering. Once you have access to view the code, hit the table of contents button and then select Chapter 13 off to the side. Now start clicking next until you find section 13.7.6. and 13.7.7. Here you will find that the Life Safety Code requires one trained and regularly tested crowd manager for every 250 people in your theater. Do you have those? I don't. I have a lot of parent volunteer ushers, it's not the same thing.

Next go over to Chapter 4 in the table of contents and next page your way until you find section 4.8. Do you have an Emergency Action Plan on file with your AHJ? When was it last updated?

Finally, lets check out the new ANSI Standard that ESTA and the Event Safety Alliance created about Crowd Management. Go here to download it.

These are standards. Nothing in these documents is a legal requirement. You can't be fined by a government agency for not following them. However if there is some sort of an accident and someone gets injured, you can be sued and found negligent because you were not following industry best practices. Being unaware that these standards exist is not a legal defense. So it's important that you find a way to address these issues. There is also some flexibility in the standards based on the opinion of your AHJ, so communication with them is critical.

First steps... In my district, there are three other people at sister schools who do my job. I've sent all this information to them and we are going to do our on research and assessment of the situation then get together and go through it. We plan to put together a presentation for the administration.

We have some informal documents that are the bare bones of an Emergency Action Plan. Over the months ahead, I need to work on formalizing those documents to hit all the points in the standard and contacting my AHJ to share my plan with them.

I did my own "DIME-ICE" assessment of my theater (See the ANSI Standard for more info). I plan to talk this over with some of my crew and get feedback from them.

It's OVERWHELMING to find out how much work needs to be done. I work hard to make sure our physical space is safe. But we don't do a good job of crowd management. Bringing everyone up to speed and explaining to the school district that we need to create the position of Crowd Manager and get those people trained is going to be a huge task.

Let me know if you are new to this code and face a similar journey. Let's find ways to support each other through this process.
 
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What Rigger?

I'm so fly....I Neverland.
These are standards. Nothing in these documents is a legal requirement. You can't be fined by a government agency for not following them. However if there is some sort of an accident and someone gets injured, you can be sued and found negligent because you were not following industry best practices. Being unaware that these standards exist is not a legal defense. So it's important that you find a way to address these issues. There is also some flexibility in the standards based on the opinion of your AHJ, so communication with them is critical.

As I've learned over the past year, in court, a standard will be treated as if it were law. Don't come up short.

I'm glad @gafftaper mentioned the ESA here, because they really are a tremendous resource for all kinds of topics that need more attention. I highly recommend the podcast, and find it to be incredibly relevant and very listenable. I'd encourage anyone to join the ESA (it's cheap, $25 American per year, for individuals) and you get direct access to lots of very smart people via the monthly member online get togethers.

https://www.eventsafetyalliance.org/podcast
 

gafftaper

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These are standards. Nothing in these documents is a legal requirement. You can't be fined by a government agency for not following them. However if there is some sort of an accident and someone gets injured, you can be sued and found negligent because you were not following industry best practices. Being unaware that these standards exist is not a legal defense. So it's important that you find a way to address these issues. There is also some flexibility in the standards based on the opinion of your AHJ, so communication with them is critical.

As I've learned over the past year, in court, a standard will be treated as if it were law. Don't come up short.

I'm glad @gafftaper mentioned the ESA here, because they really are a tremendous resource for all kinds of topics that need more attention. I highly recommend the podcast, and find it to be incredibly relevant and very listenable. I'd encourage anyone to join the ESA (it's cheap, $25 American per year, for individuals) and you get direct access to lots of very smart people via the monthly member online get togethers.

https://www.eventsafetyalliance.org/podcast
The ESA even has a podcast episode about the Crowd Management standard.
 

120208

Member
Thanks GaffTaper,
You are 100% correct that claiming ignorance of an industry standard is no excuse in a civil suit. Any good lawyer will tell you that. As professionals, it is our job to know details about everything our venue owns/rents/uses and the standards that apply. Face it, if not us, who? Sure, we all have bosses above us, but it's not likely that management will know ANYTHING about technical matters. That's why they hire people like us- to be the venue's staff "experts" on these topics. In addition to ignorance about Crowd Managers (in Massachusetts there's a state-issued certification required), my other pet peeve is the ignorance shown by our peers and managers about the ANSI standards for MEWPs (scissor, mast, and boom lifts). I have written about this in Protocol, and I wish our industry would do more operator training and embrace the new requirement for a "MEWP Safe Use Plan" at each venue where we work.
 

gafftaper

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Thanks GaffTaper,
You are 100% correct that claiming ignorance of an industry standard is no excuse in a civil suit. Any good lawyer will tell you that. As professionals, it is our job to know details about everything our venue owns/rents/uses and the standards that apply. Face it, if not us, who? Sure, we all have bosses above us, but it's not likely that management will know ANYTHING about technical matters. That's why they hire people like us- to be the venue's staff "experts" on these topics. In addition to ignorance about Crowd Managers (in Massachusetts there's a state-issued certification required), my other pet peeve is the ignorance shown by our peers and managers about the ANSI standards for MEWPs (scissor, mast, and boom lifts). I have written about this in Protocol, and I wish our industry would do more operator training and embrace the new requirement for a "MEWP Safe Use Plan" at each venue where we work.
Yeah you are right about the MEWP's. This year was the first time that my school district did training for everyone who uses MEWP's. But as far as I know there are no safe use plans anywhere and Hard Hats were not even mentioned in the training as a good idea. The trainer spent 3 hours talking about articulated booms and self driving scissor lifts to a room full of theater techs and custodians who only have access to basic mast style lifts. People kept asking questions about safety on our lifts and it was if the guy had no idea what we were talking about. Finally I got out my phone and showed the guy a picture of a basic mast lift. I told him the district doesn't own a boom and only the maintenance people have access to the scissor lifts. Us grunts only use basic mast lifts. He proceeded to go right back to talking about articulated booms... can't diverge from the script! :rolleyes:
 

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
As I've learned over the past year, in court, a standard will be treated as if it were law. Don't come up short.
Kinda.

I Am Not A Lawyer, as the phrase goes, but the difference is that a *law* is *something you can be imprisoned for not following*.

This kind of standard will lose you a civil suit, but I'm nearly certain it can't land you in gaol.
 

TimMc

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Kinda.

I Am Not A Lawyer, as the phrase goes, but the difference is that a *law* is *something you can be imprisoned for not following*.

This kind of standard will lose you a civil suit, but I'm nearly certain it can't land you in gaol.
Love the choice of word.
 

What Rigger?

I'm so fly....I Neverland.
Kinda.

I Am Not A Lawyer, as the phrase goes, but the difference is that a *law* is *something you can be imprisoned for not following*.

This kind of standard will lose you a civil suit, but I'm nearly certain it can't land you in gaol.
Y'know what Jay...I think I'm gonna go dig back to where I heard this (and I think it was the ESA podcast), because now I'm real curious to make sure I got it right. Or not.
 

RickR

Well-Known Member
Y'know what Jay...I think I'm gonna go dig back to where I heard this (and I think it was the ESA podcast), because now I'm real curious to make sure I got it right. Or not.
I'm not so sure about avoiding physical punishment. There are plenty of laws that speak generally about taking care of those around you. Manslaughter by negligence is high on the list!
 

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
I'm not so sure about avoiding physical punishment. There are plenty of laws that speak generally about taking care of those around you. Manslaughter by negligence is high on the list!
Sure. Statute law. Passed by elected officials, giving it the direct backing of the state, whence comes its power to punish by imprisonment.

We're talking about violating safety regulations passed by organizations whose people, and heads, were *not* elected by the people; their power is hence also limited.

That's the distinction as I understand it anyway. You violate an OSHA rule, you, or your company, gets fined money. No one's going to jail.

Unless there's a death, in which case it's *the death itself* that drives a criminal case.
 

egilson1

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You violate an OSHA rule, you, or your company, gets fined money. No one's going to jail.

Actual, that’s not true. OSHA are not rules or “code” but rather federal law. And although rare, people can and have been sentenced to jail time for violating it, without bodiless harm or death being involved. This can happen for falsifying documentation for instance.

Matter of fact there is a case now of a FL roofer who owes 2.2 mil in fines and is likely going to be jailed for non payment.
 

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
Actual, that’s not true. OSHA are not rules or “code” but rather federal law. And although rare, people can and have been sentenced to jail time for violating it, without bodiless harm or death being involved. This can happen for falsifying documentation for instance.

Matter of fact there is a case now of a FL roofer who owes 2.2 mil in fines and is likely going to be jailed for non payment.
Well, CFR rather than USC, but apparently that's enough.


Though in fact, both falsifying documentation and not paying fines would probably be indirect offenses, themselves punishable under USC.

I have a lawyer (though this is not his jam), I'll ask him about this.

#ImWrongYouWinShutUp
 

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
The CFR for osha is enforced via the OSHA act of 1970 which is law. So thats how it gets the legal 'bite'.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, passed by Congress, *created the agency*; the agency's rulemakings -- which we're talking about here -- are promulgated in the Code of Federal Regulations, which are *not* US Code. The question at hand is whether rulemakings which are not US Code (or state statue) can result in imprisonment.

The CFR section (17) in question *says* so, but that's not necessarily probative, and I can't shepardize it myself; I have to talk someone else into seeing if anyone's been imprisoned *specifically by that* (and not, say, on criminal charges of negligent homicide based on someone dying *because an employer violated some part of the Act).</nitpick></aspie>
 

egilson1

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The OSHA act of 1970 empowered OSHA to create regulations which have the power of law. So I’m not sure what your previous post was trying to state.
 

derekleffew

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Has anyone ever used a pigweight to prop open a door? That's okay, right?

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RickR

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I think most of us have....

and its not ok....

its a trip hazard...

Sean...
Can you quote code on that? 😉

It's possible that if it doesn't protrude beyond 4" from the door (ADA limit) then its OK. And of course not on a fire door! Or is the door itself an unacceptable hazzard under those same rules?

Inquiring minds and all that...
 

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