Pre-Rehearsal Planning for Working at Heights
Rehearsal is a fundamental safe work practice for live performance. If a falling hazard cannot be eliminated during the design and construction phases of production, use rehearsal to introduce workers to the hazard and train them to deal with it. Proceed gradually from no risk to performance-level risk. Complicated sequences and hazardous parts of the action may require far more rehearsal time.
- Consider fall protection and general safety when discussing how the artistic concept will be staged. Include fall protection strategies in the budget.
- Assess risks, and eliminate or control hazards and unsafe work practices. Reassess risks as the production develops and conditions change.
- Complete a fall protection plan that includes information on hazards, prevention methods, safe work procedures, and rescue plans.
Make fall protection a part of all preproduction planning and communication.
Allow enough lead time for adjustments to be made for each venue.
- Hire performers and technicians who are sufficiently trained, experienced, and comfortable performing the tasks required.
- Schedule enough rehearsal time to deal with hazards. Allow time for additional rehearsals throughout the run, if necessary.
- Make sure understudies and replacements have enough rehearsal time to perform safely.
- Orient performers and technicians at the beginning of production or when arriving at a new
- Point out hazards such as traps and other unguarded edges.
- Discuss the risk assessment and fall protection plan. Focus on risks and how to mitigate them. Give workers an opportunity for feedback.
- Update workers about changing set conditions — for example, draw attention to an open orchestra pit or a new floor opening.
- Develop blocking or choreography that eliminates or mitigates risks; or alter the technical parameters of the hazardous sequence.
- Ask the stage manager to document fall protection issues and solutions in the daily production notes.
- Ensure that production notes are on the agenda and discussed at weekly production meetings, and with appropriate technicians and performers.
- Inspect fall protection equipment before and after each use.
- Make sure that technicians checking a performer’s safety arrangements are protected from injury while doing so.
- Upon arriving at the venue, conduct a spacing or orientation rehearsal.
- Dry-run sequences that involve special effects, pyrotechnics, stage machinery, or other technical hazards.
- Do a full run-through of any sequence believed to be hazardous.