# Wrench Safety

## What do you use as a small tool lanyard?

• ### I use something not listed

• Total voters
51

#### Chase P.

##### Well-Known Member
I was recently working with someone who got chewed out for having a tie-line safety on his wrench. Someone with more seniority at the venue thought it was unsafe.

While I agree that we can do better, I've seen plenty of homemade lanyards on wrenches, but have never seen a lanyard of any sort break when a tool was dropped.

I'd also argue that clipping whatever lanyard off to your belt loop is probably not great. Unless Levi's is rating their belt loops now? I feel like the tenuous rating on tie line has to exceed the stitching on pants.

What do you use as a lanyard for specifically your small hand tools? I feel like drills and drivers are another whole discussion/survey.

The options I've listed are things I've actually witnessed. Please let me know if there's anything weird I missed.

Where do you clip off to?
If homemade, how did you finish the ends of your phone cord/tie line (knot, swage, heat shrink)?
Are your clips or carabiners actually rated?
Do you have any other hardware in the mix (like an added jump ring on the little tiny hole on the ratcheting focus tool)?
What's the stated rating on the commercial lanyard you use?
Do you safety tools like box end wrenches and sockets that didn't come with an easy attachment point, and how?

RonHebbard

#### SteveB

##### Well-Known Member
Timely post as I recently started doing a lot of electrics work on the catwalks of our new space, I decided to get more serious about the safety issues with the tools I was using and invested some money in lanyards, wrist lanyards and a Setwear Combo bag (a great tool bag).

I had been using tie-line with cord locks, all sitting in my jeans pocket. I decided it was time to go to a better system.

Where do you clip off to?

Climbing carabiner hooked into either my pants belt or my 2" tool belt. Yes I'm aware of the limitations of a pants belt loop.

If homemade, how did you finish the ends of your phone cord/tie line (knot, swage, heat shrink)?

Ethan

RonHebbard

#### RonaldBeal

##### Well-Known Member
Also, peripherally, the topic of sockets coming off ratchets reminds me of the YouTube clip I watched the other day about the 1980 Titan II explosion in, I think, Alabama, that stemmed from precisely that source: a worker on a high platform had a socket come off a ratchet, get out of his grip, and fly off down the silo... Luckily, the (9MT) W53 didn't go off, even though the second stage blew out of the silo and landed a hundred or more feet away.
It was actually in Damascas Arkansas.
The (excellent) book on the subject is : "Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety"

Wiki article here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1980_Damascus_Titan_missile_explosion

1 killed, 21 injured, because a socket fell off of the wrench

RonHebbard

Fight Leukemia
RonHebbard

#### MNicolai

##### Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
From the wiki article:

That's a beefy socket.
One the guys who was in the silo that day said that it wasn't the right tool to use but it was what was convenient. They had forgotten the proper wrench in their truck at the surface but going back up and out of the silo and through all of the secured doors would've taken too long and they just wanted to wrap up and get out of there. As usual, that was one of only a series of things that went wrong that day that lead up to the eventual explosion.

Basically the same gist as any of the life-threatening live entertainment accidents but with the extra pizazz of almost triggering nuclear fallout.

RonHebbard

#### geoffrey hugh

##### Member
I was recently working with someone who got chewed out for having a tie-line safety on his wrench. Someone with more seniority at the venue thought it was unsafe.

While I agree that we can do better, I've seen plenty of homemade lanyards on wrenches, but have never seen a lanyard of any sort break when a tool was dropped.

I'd also argue that clipping whatever lanyard off to your belt loop is probably not great. Unless Levi's is rating their belt loops now? I feel like the tenuous rating on tie line has to exceed the stitching on pants.

What do you use as a lanyard for specifically your small hand tools? I feel like drills and drivers are another whole discussion/survey.

The options I've listed are things I've actually witnessed. Please let me know if there's anything weird I missed.

Where do you clip off to?
If homemade, how did you finish the ends of your phone cord/tie line (knot, swage, heat shrink)?
Are your clips or carabiners actually rated?
Do you have any other hardware in the mix (like an added jump ring on the little tiny hole on the ratcheting focus tool)?
What's the stated rating on the commercial lanyard you use?
Do you safety tools like box end wrenches and sockets that didn't come with an easy attachment point, and how?

in a slightly different vein: i have been an IATSE stagehand since 1969, still working, and in that length of time have seen only two broken lighting fixture c clamps. both fractured at the point in contact with the pipe on which they hung, the ‘right angle’ that cracked opposite the threaded hole through which passes the bolt.

they fractured while being (over) tightened.

i use my experience to justify my disdain for the wire rope safeties (over) used by in the business now, with the exception of a thin gauge wire rope linking snoots, color changers, and barn doors to fixtures. i think color frames should also be linked, somehow.

it is a tough position for stagehands like me. to take i am even ‘required’ to wear a full body harness and tie off in order to focus lights in the auditorium ceiling.

i liken it to the days of sailing shops when sailors would go aloft in even stormy weather to man the spars and halyards there, to set sails and so forth, barefoot and care free, and at the risk of a fall to death.

but i (dare i say ‘we’?) survived and wonder about what appears as excessive concern for safety as it exists, and the direction it is taking.

it seems excessive, yet i would like to hear a reasonable argument that addresses personal responsibility, skill and compares that to personal risk and risk to others.

if we can send a person ‘aloft’ with no training, no skills, and who has no personal connection to their work, perhaps endless safety measures must be taken.

i also know of two instances in which an experienced stagehand dropped a counterweight from the loading rail which landed on the stage. apparently, they take on a life of their own, bouncing and ricocheting around unpredictable and, unavoidable.

is that the case, today?

in my career, only one friend died as the result of inattention: he was aloft (around 35’) in a bucket, onstage, moving, probably no outriggers, when his pushing crew hit a hex nut on the stage, abrutly stopping one wheel, and sending the whole rig over. he died from the fall, despite his fruitless attempt to grab soft goods on his way down.

should he have been tied off to the grid?

#### SteveB

##### Well-Known Member
iexcessive concern for safety as it exists, and the direction it is taking.
Sorry but cannot let this pass.

This is real easy to read the wrong way, but there is no such thing as "excessive concern for safety". Your friend was killed because of a LACK of concern for safety, specifically the failure to use what the lift company provided to keep somebody from being killed, namely a set of outriggers. Likewise there is nothing lost by using a safety on a lighting unit for the same reason, nothing lost in using it and it MIGHT save a life, regardless of your particular anecdotal experiences. I've focused thousands of stage lights and cannot fathom an attitude that a safety cable is a burden to use, that's just BS. I too have seen maybe 3 cracked c-clamps in my 44 years in the business but I wonder what the shop experience is, probably much different than ours and I bet they see broken clamps frequently, though maybe that's a question for Ship. And in truth, 3 cracked clamps is enough to believe they can and do crack, so I'm using a safety. Likewise I've seen our theater invest in "safety" frames, that don't slice your head open when dropped from 20 ft. What a concept !.

And NO, your friend didn't need to be tied off to the grid. What a stupid question and shows a real attitude that I'm happy is changing with the retirement of an older generation that cannot adapt to new attitudes. Personal lifts are perfectly safe if used as designed. Rolling a lift that is not designed to be moved while extended, is the problem, not the lack of a tie-off system. If you want to move as extended, get a unit designed for it, a JLG or Genie self powered unit or a scissors lift.

#### MNicolai

##### Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
^^ What he said, @geoffrey hugh. Your friend was killed because a lift was used improperly. Plain and simple. It's not the fault of a loose nut or bad luck. It was irresponsible and even though almost every person here at CB who uses one-man pusharound lifts has done it, those lifts absolutely are not designed to be moved while elevated and doing so it at your own risk.

FWIW, I was in a job trailer on a amphitheater construction project in Nashville during OSHA's annual safety week. They made one person from every contractor on the project sit in the trailer all day for a conversation about safety and the meaning of life. Every single person in that room knew multiple friends that died from slips, trips, or falls. The regularity with which these other guys had become accustomed to this over their careers was breathtaking, even if it was just one person they knew every 7-8 years. Sometimes it was the new guy who was on the site for the 2nd or 3rd day, other times it was the vet who's been doing that job for 30 years.

Likewise, it was acknowledged in that meeting that everything in life has risk. You could eat a burger in 5 minutes and choke on a bone fragment or eat burgers for 25 years and die of massive cardiac arrest. That doesn't mean you should live in constant fear and never go outside or eat burgers, but it also doesn't mean you should play in traffic and bring all your friends along with you.

I had a scissor and boom lift instructor once who explained it very well. Any one of the things that he tells you not to do, you can almost always do and get away with no problem. Most of the things like stepping on the rails and leaning out over the rails or not wearing a harness you can do without ever having any issues. But everyone has a day that they're off. Maybe they have allergies, the flu, an inner ear infection, maybe they're in a bad mood or distracted by a recent personal tragedy that's got them distracted that day, or maybe they just found out their wife is pregnant and aren't focused on what they're doing just this minute, or someone else in the room drops something that makes a loud noise and the surprise throws them you off your balance unexpectedly -- those once in a while things are why you should always bowl with the bumpers out. Nothing's going to stop you from chucking something into the lane next to you like a reckless fool, but if the person next to you sneezes at the wrong moment you won't end up with a gutter ball -- and at the end of the day you always get to go home to your family.

#### Richard Young

##### Member
I was recently working with someone who got chewed out for having a tie-line safety on his wrench. Someone with more seniority at the venue thought it was unsafe.

While I agree that we can do better, I've seen plenty of homemade lanyards on wrenches, but have never seen a lanyard of any sort break when a tool was dropped.

I'd also argue that clipping whatever lanyard off to your belt loop is probably not great. Unless Levi's is rating their belt loops now? I feel like the tenuous rating on tie line has to exceed the stitching on pants.

What do you use as a lanyard for specifically your small hand tools? I feel like drills and drivers are another whole discussion/survey.

The options I've listed are things I've actually witnessed. Please let me know if there's anything weird I missed.

Where do you clip off to?
If homemade, how did you finish the ends of your phone cord/tie line (knot, swage, heat shrink)?
Are your clips or carabiners actually rated?
Do you have any other hardware in the mix (like an added jump ring on the little tiny hole on the ratcheting focus tool)?
What's the stated rating on the commercial lanyard you use?
Do you safety tools like box end wrenches and sockets that didn't come with an easy attachment pointe, and how?
I don’t see much wrong with doubled tie line. I have had it on my c wrench for years ( do replace it from time to time) I only work in IATSE venues and have never been told there is anything wrong with it. I did help a friend who’s phone cord with a knot and E tape was constantly coming apart. I nico pressed it. Now when it gets caught on something while climbing or just brushing on a latch his pants are comming down

#### Calc

##### Active Member
... but i (dare i say ‘we’?) survived...
in my career, only one friend died ...
"We" didn't survive.

You did. I have. The vast majority do. But "we" didn't.

#### TimMc

##### Well-Known Member
in my career, only one friend died as the result of inattention: he was aloft (around 35’) in a bucket, onstage, moving, probably no outriggers, when his pushing crew hit a hex nut on the stage, abrutly stopping one wheel, and sending the whole rig over. he died from the fall, despite his fruitless attempt to grab soft goods on his way down.

should he have been tied off to the grid?
No, the lift should not have been moved while extended and occupied. Those are the primary causes of the tip-over and subsequent death. The secondary issue was the debris on the stage.

#### ruinexplorer

##### Sherpa
CB Mods
Fight Leukemia
in a slightly different vein: i have been an IATSE stagehand since 1969, still working, and in that length of time have seen only two broken lighting fixture c clamps. both fractured at the point in contact with the pipe on which they hung, the ‘right angle’ that cracked opposite the threaded hole through which passes the bolt.

they fractured while being (over) tightened.
I have only seen pictures of failed clamps. One of the reasons that I requested that my electricians used 6" wrenches is that it was more difficult to over tighten.

i use my experience to justify my disdain for the wire rope safeties (over) used by in the business now, with the exception of a thin gauge wire rope linking snoots, color changers, and barn doors to fixtures. i think color frames should also be linked, somehow.
I would think that this would reinforce the idea of using safeties. You have experience where the equipment used to hold the fixture was failing during use. Should another lineset have struck that instrument while in the air, the clamp could have completely failed. No, the clamp should never fail, but they do.

it is a tough position for stagehands like me. to take i am even ‘required’ to wear a full body harness and tie off in order to focus lights in the auditorium ceiling.

i liken it to the days of sailing shops when sailors would go aloft in even stormy weather to man the spars and halyards there, to set sails and so forth, barefoot and care free, and at the risk of a fall to death.

but i (dare i say ‘we’?) survived and wonder about what appears as excessive concern for safety as it exists, and the direction it is taking.
I can point you to numerous examples where "we" have not survived. Sometimes it was someone who thought that they didn't need the equipment, wore it because they had to, but never clipped in. Recently, across the pond, one of those stagehands who felt that he didn't need to clip in, fell and landed on another stagehand. The guy on the ground died while the idiot who was too macho to clip in survived. He was a skilled up rigger, but thought that he knew better.

it seems excessive, yet i would like to hear a reasonable argument that addresses personal responsibility, skill and compares that to personal risk and risk to others.

if we can send a person ‘aloft’ with no training, no skills, and who has no personal connection to their work, perhaps endless safety measures must be taken.

i also know of two instances in which an experienced stagehand dropped a counterweight from the loading rail which landed on the stage. apparently, they take on a life of their own, bouncing and ricocheting around unpredictable and, unavoidable.

is that the case, today?

in my career, only one friend died as the result of inattention: he was aloft (around 35’) in a bucket, onstage, moving, probably no outriggers, when his pushing crew hit a hex nut on the stage, abrutly stopping one wheel, and sending the whole rig over. he died from the fall, despite his fruitless attempt to grab soft goods on his way down.

should he have been tied off to the grid?
You mention being in IATSE for all these years. I assume that you do not take an active role. IATSE has been one of the leading proponents of the safety measures we have in this industry. When I was an active member of a mixed local, it was often difficult to impress upon those who were brought in as decorators to understand the dangers that exist in our industry. This is called risk assessment. This doesn't mean that we can completely remove all risks, but through proper management and engineering, we can minimize risk to the point that it rarely happens. Someone could have a 50 year career where a safety is nothing but a nuisance. Yet I have also seen where someone was distracted and an electric was flown where not all of the lights had been locked down, and the safety was the reason that no one was injured that day. Mistakes happen. Equipment fails.

#### EdSavoie

##### Well-Known Member
Being much newer to the industry, I find it insane that the slight inconvenience of clipping safeties and using outriggers is enough for someone to justify not using them.

All it takes is an overzealous technician tightening a bolt, an electric snagging a heavy pipe, the aforementioned nut on the stage, to cause catastrophic failure concluding in death.

The prospect of safety further increases my disdain for working with lekos from the 80s, which often have several poorly attached components without any good way to attach safeties.

I've been mentioning these fixtures a fair bit recently, but Colortran lekos are absolutely abhorrent when it comes to this. Being old units doesn't help their case, but the bolt coming out the side to attach the burner to the body doesn't index in the edge, so inadvertently grabbing the fixture by the very conveniently shaped handle will likely leave the 20 something pound instrument going down, while you are left holding a burner with a lamp in it. The attachment point between the lens tube holder and the rest of the body is a rather weak pair of rivets that I've seen be loose or cracked on several fixtures. These have no safety points and would instantly fly off if smacked by a pipe.