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How Safe is Your School Theater?

As school gets underway for the 2022-23 school year, so do productions in school theaters. From orchestral concerts to full-ensemble musicals, there is a lot going on in your theater! With that in mind, have you reviewed your facility for gaps in safety? The well-being of actors. musicians, stage hands, crew, and technical directors, as well as those in the audience, ultimately comes down to the decisions you make.

The Event Safety Alliance (ESA) puts it this way, “successful safety policies in the workplace (your theater) are most often the result of appropriate choices being made continuously by the individuals performing the work. So, an essential safety device on a job site is an alert, well-equipped and engaged staff.”

Given the need for on-going awareness of the safety of your theater, and that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard 1926.220(a)(6) (ANSI E1.4-1-2016 Entertainment Technology-Manual Counterweight Systems) requires all overhead rigging systems to be inspected by a certified professional. VLS offers RigSafe, a certified process to ensure the safety of everyone in your building.

RigSafe by VLS utilizes ETCP Certified Riggers to inspect your system, provide a written report, and offer recommendations on updates and repairs. Our experts have decades of experience in installing and inspecting all types of rigging systems. RigSafe is available in all 50 US States.

We understand that not every theater administrator is a rigging professional. It’s vital that you know the results of your rigging inspection to make informed decisions. RigSafe by VLS is designed to not only provide an in-depth and highly technical analysis of your current system but also provide easy-to-read documentation on the results. We also offer a prioritized list of repairs (if needed) and VLS can provide budgetary costs for completing those repairs or maintenance.

Following a RigSafe Rigging Inspection, your VLS Team brings all our resources together. Working with you, we develop a plan that not only keeps your performers safe but provides a budgetary timeline ready for presentation to financial stakeholders such as executive management, boards of education, or school administration.

One of the most important areas is the mitigation of falls – a unique hazard in the theatrical environment – but one that can be prevented by custom netting solutions. Stage Guard™, Orchestra Pit Nets, and Catwalk Safety Systems can bring your theater into compliance with OSHA and ANSI rated safety systems that are tested and proven safe and effective.

Stage Guard™ Netting

Stage Guard™ prevents falls with an impact absorbing barrier net drawn across the entire width of the stage. Capable of being deployed and secured in less than a minute, the highly visible Stage Guard net will not only provide a vertical barrier for personnel safety, it’s also strong enough to stop run-away equipment and props.

Because Stage Guard is a suspended system, it does not leave a footprint on the stage floor. The barrier net system including hardware is easily installed using standard hand tools. Stage Guard attaches to four anchor points on each side of the stage. The net can be easily deployed or taken down and store compactly off-stage when not in use.

Orchestra Pit Netting

Keeping the action on stage where it belongs, InCord Orchestra Pit Nets (OPNs) are custom built to provide vital protection for virtually any size or shape of an orchestra pit.

Recognized across North America as an essential component of stage safety, the OPN is primarily constructed of black, knotless high tenacity polypropylene (HTPP) material, which has been tested to meet or exceed OSHA and ANSI standards and is visually non-distracting.

Catwalk Netting

High above the house or stage, catwalks can be both a fall hazard and an origin of falling objects. In response to the concerns of lighting and stage technicians, a netting solution was created to help mitigate danger for theater personnel working above and below, enhancing safety and boosting crew confidence.

InCord custom-fabricated barrier nets for catwalks are designed to effectively contain objects and protect personnel while preserving easy access to equipment and electrical systems. When necessary, hatchways, cutouts, and access doors with hook and loop closures can be integrated into the net panels to ensure access to equipment at specific spots along the catwalk.

Attachment is determined by the style and dimensions of your catwalk. Whether the net is attached to only the existing structure, or if steel cable framing is needed, no permanent modification to the catwalk is required.

The latest ANSI Standard for the Prevention of Falls from Theatrical Stages and Raised Performance Platforms outlines the need for any theater to have a comprehensive safety plan.

Get in touch with VLS for help bringing your theater into compliance.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation!

For more information about RigSafe or any of the InCord products, please contact us or visit our website at https://vls.com/rigsafe/