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Shocking Events

Discussion in 'Safety' started by BCOLL, Dec 5, 2003.

  1. BCOLL

    BCOLL Member

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    As the Technical Supervisor for my school district I am in charge of our recently renovated auditorium. This facility was built in 1956, and possibly has not since been subject to a safety inspection. Anyway, over the past two years I have been shocked multiple times, by faulty wiring and an ancient unsafe lighting system. I callled in the electricians who told me that the system while now 75% unsafe should have been replaced 20 years ago... Yet our school refuses to allow our theatre department to purchase a system that meets the standards of 2003...
     
  2. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Have OSHA give them a call for you..... ;)


    wolf
     
  3. wemeck

    wemeck Active Member

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    During my time at SIUC they had a Lighting System that was not up to modern code. If it is truly unsafe then at the this level it should be shut down. In college the university was not up and continues not, to be supportive of the Arts. So the Theater professors and students had that standard it us against them mentality. And that mind set works quite well on young people to get them motivated and fired up to do things or break union shop rules to fix things! The students kept the system functional to a degree. We would get old lighting systems from older venues that were updating and then use these instruments to update the extensive if not almost museum quality pieces of lighting instruments.

    It is a lot better down there now. But it really was a safety issue. I did see people get hurt because of the condition of the equipment and facility.

    In hindsight I should of stood back from the equipment and mindset and transferred.

    My advice is if you as a student feel unsafe and see it as unsafe, then tell your parents. Better a canceled theater program because of safety/budget problems, then a theater program canceled because of personal injury and possibly death.
     
  4. delnor

    delnor Active Member

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    Electrical Board
    6606 Tussing Rd
    Reynoldsburg OH 43068-9009
    614-644-3493

    That might help you, you could just have a friend give them a call ;)
     
  5. wemeck

    wemeck Active Member

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    Will not mean a thing if the school people would rather get new football equipment over new theater stuff.
     
  6. delnor

    delnor Active Member

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    If he gives them a call they might be forced into new theater eq, that is the number for the Ohio State electrical certification and safety regulations board.
     
  7. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Or it could cause a lock out due to safety things of the theater. Its a budget and administrator type thing. Saving money in not having a theater program might be good for the football program to them given what I read about school budgets.

    "My advice is if you as a student feel unsafe and see it as unsafe, then tell your parents. Better a canceled theater program because of safety/budget problems, then a theater program canceled because of personal injury and possibly death." would be what I say about it. Get your parents involved in getting the school to budget for safety upgrades.

    In my own and current home theater they used to have 30 amp stage and wall pockets that dated from the 1920s. Basically it's just opposing plates of steel that were for the plugs, wired to a handle seperating them. The outlets had exposed similar plates very exposed in porcelain sockets. Touch the wrong thing in the dark of a stage deck pocket and you would very possibly die. This was about 1996 seventy years after they were installed and it's origional wiring was still in use. Granted in my time there I did correct the most outragous of stuff such as above and one of the plugs and sockets is prominant on my wall of shame, I would caution just going outside the school to report the place. Schools are outside OSHA and much for other jurisdictions.

    I would not fall in opinion for just living with it and especially not with doing your own corrections to the system, but following the chain of command with the school and your parents with the school board might be a better way to deal with the problems. Until than, make your concerns well known to the staff and other students. Stages in general are not the safest places to be. With a lot of concern training and care while the school figures out what to do such a system like with the 30 amp outlets above can still be used. Just with more caution by all.

    Once plugged in the fly rail index light and afterwards went to bend some 1/2" pipe off it's support structure and got some healthy sparks off it. Seems the old TD was satisfied with living with an index light that while in an unpolorized ancient twist plug had it's fixture with a clear cut short between neutral and ground. Plug the fixture in backwards and the entire lighting grid was electrified much less anything touching it would spark. Scary places them stages at times. Were the fly system not already scary the electrical charge thru the wire rope will have made it also unsafe for further use. You want to do better and in my case I was able to improve it over time and a punch list, but at school it's still not proper without specific instruction to be modifying it.

    Be careful, make your opinions known but don't touch the wiring without supervision and approval. Nor will reporting it to a higher authority help probably. Tact and the chain of command would be my opinion.
     
  8. delnor

    delnor Active Member

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    Well I do work for a public school system... and I can say that they would most likely find the money before canceling a program because the community doesn't like having programs canceled. Most schools will say they are going to cancel a program in-order to get money from the community but never actually cancel anything.
     
  9. BCOLL

    BCOLL Member

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    Thank you for the advice
    :)
     
  10. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    I stand corrected in exact way it might work. What happens if there is not more money gotten or program closed down would more refine my statement. Anyway it's not important, following the proper channels will at least get to that first step I think we would agree upon.
     
  11. wemeck

    wemeck Active Member

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    It all depends on the type of school district and how much Money they have! Here in the North Shore of Chicago there is a ton, and I mean a ton, of money. Very affluent people have the resources to provide a school district, park district or even the library system with some extradinary equipment and merchandise.

    However the majority of school districts and communities can not offer the same kind of financial support. That is why when you start to hear about budget issues in a school district it is usually Music and the Arts that get the budget-cut bullet in the back of the head. In Illinois Football is king, in Indiana Basketball is king, and I have yet to find a school districts that says Theater in king.
     
  12. dcliborn

    dcliborn Member

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    I have also faced similar situations in our auditorium as well. Currently, it's our linesets and curtains. I have however called attention to the matter by writing a detailed memo to our administration and included pictures of the problem. A picture truly is worth a 1000 words. It also helps administrators (non-techies) understand what you are talking about.

    At first, I admit I didn't think this would work, but anytime you have documentation of potential problems, it really makes the administration get in gear. Also, such documentation covers you and your crew in the event of a problem. You can simply say, " I told you so" Best of Luck. :D
     
  13. digitaltec

    digitaltec Active Member

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    Occupation:
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    The one time I ran into a problem like this I called the fire department to do an inspection of the space and they acually shut down the theater untill the proper repairs were done. Dont call 911 though, I dont think its that big of a problem at this time. Might also want to call a building inspector, they can shut it down if it does not meet building codes.
     
  14. Mayhem

    Mayhem Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    I too would caution against calling in authorities that have the power to shut down the theatre. I just think that this is throwing the school the option of saying "oh well, it has been shut down and we cannot afford to get it up to standard." Also, it may make the problem worse, not better.

    In my opinon, it is better to make the problem known to the students and parents involved in the theatre and to lean on the school to put in the money to do the urgent stuff first, and then work down the list. This is a systematic approach that can be undertaken over a period of time (months or even years) and if safety is maintained as strictly as possible, or everyone is made aware of hazards, then your theatre can still function. If the theatre is shut down, all this stops and EVERYTHING has to be fixed before it can be re-opened. This down time will also cost the school money, so you could be doing more harm than good.

    If there are any parents that are electricians, builders or in associated trades you may look to them to conduct an inspection on your behalf and advise you when submitting a written report to the school. Always put these matters into writing and keep a copy in a file yourself. Wherever possible, try to prioritise what needs to be done as this may assist the school in budgeting and planning. It is much easier to find small amounts on several occasions than it is to find one lump sum. Trust me – I rely on sponsorship for my travel/conference budget and live off multiple small contributions.

    Hope this helps.
     
  15. zac850

    zac850 Well-Known Member

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    I would suggest talking to the administration and explaining that this is dangerous and there is a possibility that someone will get injured or die, and that if, or when, such a thing happens, its going to be on their heads. These people are administrative people, they just want to make sure that they don't get bad press or anything like that. You need to appeal to their worst fear, to make them see how the repair is a necessity.
     
  16. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    If your school has a tech ed department they might be able to do it, at our school they bult a few bridges in the woods as well as a building by the softball dimoinds for bathrooms and soda. They did not build it all I think the fondation and the brick laying were out side jobs but everything else was done by them. If you could have the class do it and have an inspector check over it they get educated, you get a safe system and the school saves some cash.


    The other choice is to make the bean counters come down there and plug something in. If they refuse ask them why.
     
  17. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    i would say that it should be locked down until it is fixed , if they say they wont fix it, you say no show!! if that doesn't work make friends with an electrician
     

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