Went in to work at a new venue today. I had been asked to help a group design and set up the lighting. Walked into the venue and started to have a bit of a look around. What I saw amazed me. There seemed to be no concept of safety. Surely the managers of the venue know what the regulations are, and surely these venues get inspected at regular intervals to make sure they comply. Or maybe I have a high expectation for safety in theatre.
This venue had lighting truss hung in very strange ways with slings at one end and bolted to the wall at the other end. A non rated strap in the middle of the 9 metre span going up to a roof joist.
They had installed tiered seating, not to bad i hear you say, pity the steps leading up the one side of the tiered seating were not even heights. Anybody of a frail nature could stumble easily down them causing serious injury. At the back of the tiered seating was a scaffold tower used as the control position. There are two ways into this section, climb up a ladder from the floor and then clamber over the hand rail. This is even more interesting as the ladder is not fixed to the scaffold or the wall it leans on. The other way on to this position is to clamber over the last row of seats.
Now that I come to think of it I did not even notice and exit light in the venue.
Basically the client was left to do what they wanted in the venue. There was no guidance from staff, not even a technician available to help. So the client could climb ladders, play with electricity and basicly find new ways to kill themselves.
It is time that some venues woke up to themselves and realised that they have a duty of care to thier hirers. If they kill to many of their customers nobody is going to hire the venue again.
Clients also need to know what to expect safety wise so they can raise issues with the venue. A lot of dance schools, clubs and small theatre groups have no understanding of the legal implications if they do not follow basic occupational health and safety requirements.
We need to start teaching clients and some venues the laws involved with occupational health and safety. I will in later blogs will start publish infomation for people to read.